God’s assessment of the reign of Kings Manasseh and Amon

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 5 – God’s assessment of the faithfulness of the kings of Judah and Israel

Sadly, Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was evil, at least for the majority of his reign. God’s verdict on those wasted and misused years is very scathing:

1Manas’seh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3For he rebuilt the high places which his father Hezeki’ah had broken down, and erected altars to the Ba’als, and made Ashe’rahs, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” 5And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6And he burned his sons as an offering in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and practiced soothsaying and augury and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.

2 Chronicles 33:1-6 (RSV)

9Manas’seh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.

2 Chronicles 33:9 (RSV)

Strangely, at the very end of his reign, when God’s judgment was already coming upon him for his wickedness and unfaithfulness, Manasseh repented. It is one of the very few examples we see in the Bible of a really wicked man repenting and genuinely turning back to God:

10The LORD spoke to Manas’seh and to his people, but they gave no heed. 11Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manas’seh with hooks and bound him with fetters of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12And when he was in distress he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty and heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manas’seh knew that the LORD was God.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 (RSV)

After his repentance, King Manasseh changed and sincerely tried his best to put right the terrible harm he had done:

14Afterwards he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it round Ophel, and raised it to a very great height; he also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. 15And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. 16He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered upon it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving; and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD the God of Israel.

2 Chronicles 33:14-16 (RSV)

Thus, having been grossly unfaithful for most of his life, Manasseh became faithful in the end. That gives us hope for ourselves and for those we know who seem very far from God. The final verdict on Manasseh is brief, but positive. It says he “slept with his fathers”. That is an expression used in the Bible to indicate that a man died as a believer and that he was saved. So, we will see King Manasseh in Heaven (and also on the Earth, when Jesus returns and Manasseh is resurrected so that he can be on Earth during the Millennium):

20So Manas’seh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his house; and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chronicles 33:20 (RSV)

Next came Manasseh’s son Amon. He was evil but, unlike his father, he did not repent or change:

21Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manas’seh his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the images that Manas’seh his father had made, and served them. 23And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as Manas’seh his father had humbled himself, but this Amon incurred guilt more and more. 24And his servants conspired against him and killed him in his house.

2 Chronicles 33:21-24 (RSV)
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