The reign of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, is contained in this chapter; and an awful reign of sin it is. He is succeeded by Amon his, son, such another awful character as the father. His death is also recorded, and Josiah his son succeeds him in the kingdom.
I bring the whole of a life so flagitious as that of Manasseh within one point of view, both for the sake of shortness, and for gathering all the instruction it affords before the Reader at once. But as the Holy Ghost hath been graciously pleased to give the church further particulars concerning Manasseh than what is here said of him in the 2Ch 33. I very earnestly beg the Reader to read the whole of what is there said of Manasseh at the time he peruseth this chapter. And the more so, indeed, because here we only learn his worthlessness. There we discover the penitence he manifested in affliction. And by comparing both parts of his history together, we learn, under the teaching of the blessed Spirit, as illustrious an example of the triumphs of grace in his recovery, as we behold the most woeful instance of the fall of man in his vileness. So that blended in one and the same point of view, we behold the truth of what the apostle was commissioned to tell the church, that where sin abounded grace doth much more abound: that as sin reigneth unto death so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21. I cannot refrain stopping the Reader in the perusal of this passage to remark the graciousness of God in his determined punishment of Jerusalem. The Lord saith that he will wipe it as a man wipeth a dish, turning it upside down. Do, Reader, observe those expressions. Jerusalem shall be wiped, not broken, not east away, not destroyed; but wiped. It shall be much tossed about, indeed, from the highest to the lowest fairly upside down; but nevertheless all this is with a view to cleansing. It is all in mercy, all in love, all in tenderness. The Lord saith in the after age; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies. Zechariah 1:16. And he hath opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain for sin and for uncleanness. Zechariah 13:1. And where is this but in thy blood, precious Jesus! thou art the Lamb of God that takest away sin. And thou art the mercy promised. Luke 1:72.
We have here the short but distressing account of Amon's reign. And in the parallel passage in the 2d book of the Chronicles, there is nothing to soften it as in the instance of his father; but on the contrary, we are told that he did not humble himself before the Lord as his father had done. Alas! sin only tends to harden more and more, unless almighty grace subdue. As Amon was succeeded by his son Josiah, concerning whom the Holy Ghost hath given a gracious record: the next chapter will be a relief from the sad circumstances related in this. 2 Chronicles 33:23.
READER! mark, I beseech you, in the character of Manasseh, the evident truth of God's holy word, that the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son. Grace descends not from father to son by natural generation. But what a gracious God had Manasseh to do with! Oh! how lovely and encouraging is it to poor sinners, to behold such monuments of mercy placed in the church, as if to tell men that there is mercy with God that he might be feared. Yes! precious Jesus! thou art the Father of mercies; and thou art the mercy promised; thou art indeed, and ever wilt be, Jesus. In that lovely name all mercy is contained. Thou art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof.
But Reader! while we look at Amon the son of Manasseh, in the very moment our souls feel all possible encouragement in the grace vouchsafed the father, is there not enough to induce trembling, when we behold the hardened state of the son. Like the two thieves on the cross. Who can contemplate that sight without a mixture of joy and terror: Both so near Jesus, and yet the one as unconscious as the dead; while the other manifests forth so illustrious an evidence of the highest faith and truest repentance. Oh! thou, blessed author and finisher of our faith and salvation, grant, if it be thy blessed will, both to Writer and Reader, suited grace to profit by such striking examples. Let everything tend to lead our hearts to thee, for of thee cometh our salvation. Lord open our eyes, unstop our ears, that we may no longer be uncircumcised in heart and spirit; but make us altogether what thou wouldest have us to be, and work in us both to will and to do of thy good pleasure.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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