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THE REIGN OF MANASSEH
Manasseh was only 12 years old at the time of his father's death, therefore he was born during the extra fifteen years that God had allowed Hezekiah. Manasseh was given 55 years to reign over Judah, but he was the most wicked king Judah ever had. During his first twelve years, did his father not give him the help he needed to be preserved from evil? We are surely taught here that God knew better what was good for Hezekiah than Hezekiah thought. We should certainly learn to bow to God's will at all times, whatever we may think about it.
Manasseh followed the idolatrous abominations of the nations Israel had dispossessed, reversing the good that his father had done for Israel. He rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah had destroyed, raised up altars to idols and made images, and worshiped all the host of heaven.
Even in the temple of God Manasseh set up altars to worship idols. With all his altars and images he may have thought he was very zealous religiously, more zealous than his father, but this was the folly of unbelief. Added to this evil, he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the valley of Hinnom, thinking that the sacrifice of his own sons would secure him some recognition from heaven (v.6). He also practised witchcraft, soothsaying and sorcery, thus involving his kingdom in the bondage of satanic deception. Placing a carved image in the temple was a direct insult to God, who had declared the temple as the place where God would set His name (v 7). Yet God's promise to not remove Israel from their land was conditional upon their being careful to observe all God's commandments which involved the whole law with its statutes and ordinances (v.8). Manasseh had totally departed from such a path of obedience, seducing Judah and Jerusalem to practice more evil than the nations God had destroyed because of their idolatry.
GOD BRINGS MANASSEH TO REPENTANCE
When Manasseh had resisted the Word of God in seeking to correct his evil, the Lord therefore brought the army of the king of Assyria to take Manasseh captive and transport him to Babylon (v.11). It was plainly the goodness of God that brought Manasseh down to this miserable condition of bondage, forRomans 2:4; Romans 2:4 tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads to repentance. How marvellous it is that the discipline of God accomplished the result of bringing Manasseh to repentance. No doubt God has used this means many times in seeking to bring people to repentance, yet most do not seem to respond. But though Manasseh had sinned so grievously against God, he did repent and humbled himself greatly before God, praying earnestly to the One he had before so dishonoured, and God accepted his prayer of humiliation (vv.12-13). This is a most striking example of the grace of God being available for any sinner who repents.
No details are given as to how the king of Assyria was moved to release Manasseh from prison and allow him to return to his place as king over Judah, but it was God Himself who dictated this restoration, and Manasseh then knew indeed that the Lord is God. This was certainly a complete transformation accomplished by the grace and power of God.
There were good results also, for Manasseh built profitably instead of tearing down what was of God. He built a wall on the west of Jerusalem, no doubt with the object of withstanding the attacks of enemies, and he appointed military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah, indicating his concern for the protection of these cities (v.14).
He also cook away the idols from the house of the Lord, idols that he himself had introduced as well as all the altars he had built in Jerusalem (v.15). On the positive side he repaired the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it (v.16). These offerings indicate his thankfulness for God's mercy to him, but no mention is made of burnt offerings, which emphasise the glory God receives by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, a far more important matter than the blessing we receive.
Yet, while Hezekiah had banished worship in the high places, Manasseh did not follow his father in this, but allowed the people to sacrifice in these, though only to the Lord (v.17). This is the same principle as is seen today in those Christians who desire recognition from the world in worshipping God, rather than being willing to take the low place of rejection with Christ. In this Manasseh failed.
THE DEATH OF MANASSEH
Any further history of Manasseh is recorded in the book of the kings of Israel (v.18), and other books not available to us today. Having reigned 55 years, Manasseh died and was buried in his own house, thus having more respect shown to him at his death than was true of some of the kings. His son Amon then took the throne.
AMON'S BRIEF REIGN AND DEATH
Amon was 22 years of age in being crowned king, but in great contrast to his father, he reigned only two years. Though Manasseh had thrown out of the city the idols and idolatrous altars he had made, Amon evidently brought them back, for he sacrificed to all the images that his father had made, placing himself in servitude to these abominations. He certainly must have known that his father had repented and changed his ways radically, but this had no proper effect on Amon, who did not at all humble himself, but sinned more and more (vv.22-23). His evil was so great that even his own servants had no respect for him, but conspired together and killed him in his own house. How pathetic it is that he had learned nothing either through the folly of his father or through the repentance of his father!
However, the people of the land had some sense of the wrong of servants killing their master, and they executed those who had done this. Thus in both cases God shows that He has ways of bringing judgment on the guilty. Then the people made Josiah, Amon's son, king over Judah.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30