King Manasseh and Repentance

Before we can fully understand King Manasseh, who was one of the most wicked kings who ever lived, we must first look at his father, King Hezekiah.

In 2 Chronicles Chapter 32 and 2 Kings Chapter 20 we learn that Hezekiah got deathly ill and the prophet Isaiah gave him a message from the Lord to get his affairs in order because he was going to die. Hezekiah pleaded with the Lord, so the Lord granted him 15 more years to live. Soon after his recovery, an envoy sent by the future king of Babylon came to bestow best wishes and a gift to King Hezekiah on his recovery. Without seeking the Lord, Hezekiah made a very fatal mistake for the future of his kingdom. The following two portions of Scripture tell the story:

1. About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord, who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the Lord ’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the Lord ’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime. However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:24-26, 31 NLT)

2. Hezekiah received the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.” “What did they see in your palace?” Isaiah asked. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord: The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the L ord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.” (2 Kings 20:13-19 NLT)

Three years after Hezekiah’s recovery, his son Manasseh was born. Manasseh took over the throne as King of Judah at the youthful age of twelve when his father finally died. This is what we learn about Manasseh from these two portions of Scripture:

1. But the people refused to listen, and Manasseh led them to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land. Then the Lord said through his servants the prophets: “King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols. So this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. Then I will reject even the remnant of my own people who are left, and I will hand them over as plunder for their enemies. For they have done great evil in my sight and have angered me ever since their ancestors came out of Egypt.” Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord ’s sight. The rest of the events in Manasseh’s reign and everything he did, including the sins he committed, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Manasseh died, he was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon became the next king. (2 Kings 21:9-18 NLT)

2. Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them. He built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord, the place where the Lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the Lord ’s Temple. Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord ’s sight, arousing his anger. Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God! After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord ’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, though only to the Lord their God. The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord , the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel. Manasseh’s prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself and repented. When Manasseh died, he was buried in his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king. (2 Chronicles 33:1-20 NLT)

There are four very important lessons to be learned from King Hezekiah and his son King Manasseh:

1. Seek God’s will, not your own will. God knows what is best. It ended up that a most wicked future king was born to Hezekiah during the extended years God gave him because of his pleading.

2. Do not expose what is precious to your enemies. (Matthew 7:6 warns us not to cast our pearls before swine). King Hezekiah’s pride prompted him to do this.

3. No sin or sinner is too big to forgive. King Manasseh is one of the greatest examples of that.

4. Sin, even though forgiven, can have an aftermath of devastating destruction. 2 Kings 21:11-14 tells us what would and what did happen to the Kingdom of Judah.

Here is an expanded view of Manasseh’s life and how he came to repentance:

No one likes to hear bad news, least of all someone in the prime of life, and Hezekiah was no exception. The king was loathe to surrender to God’s purpose, to submit to His better judgment. In answer to the king’s agonized prayers, God granted him a fifteen-year extension of life—fifteen years that would alter the course of Judah’s future.

Just three short years later, a beautiful boy was born to King Hezekiah and Queen Hephzibah. The name given this child, Manasseh, means “one who causes to forget.” Hezekiah found in the birth of this little baby a reason, a person, who could make him forget that his life had nearly ended just three years earlier.

By the age of twelve, Manasseh began almost immediately living out the darker meaning of his name by causing Judah to forget her Creator and Redeemer. Perhaps his father’s enemies took advantage of the youthful king’s inexperience, and influenced him to reinstate the varied forms of heathen worship that had been set aside during his father’s reign. Manasseh may have chosen to surround himself with young radical counselors, as did Rehoboam, who was advised to “chastise [his subjects] with scorpions.” 1 Kings 12:11. Without parental guidance, the young ruler may have followed the path of least resistance, and couldn’t stand anyone who disapproved of his chosen course. Maybe Manasseh was one of those unusually bad cases that surprise and disappoint good parents. There are no concrete answers to these questions, but Manasseh occupied the Jerusalem throne for an unparalleled fifty-five years, the longest reign before or after, and significant for one so bloodthirsty. “Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.” 2 Kings 21:16.

The first chapters of King Manasseh’s monarchy are dark with mounting abominations, including offering his own children to the fires of Molech, willfully provoking God’s anger. Among the many who were killed in the capital was the prophet Isaiah, who was placed in a log and sawed in half (Hebrews 11:37). It was because of the young king’s rebelliousness and ruthless annihilation of so many faithful people, that God finally declared, “Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations …above all that the Amorites did…Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.” (2 Kings 21:11-13)

Even after the godly reign of Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, 2 Kings 23:26 records: “Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.”

“Manasseh thumbed his nose at God for [so many] years, indulged himself in every lustful passion, corrupted and ruined an entire nation, and God sat on His hands. Or did He?” Not likely. “[God’s] anger must be released by a stiff safety lock, but His mercy has a hair trigger.” In the story of King Manasseh, we see God’s surpassing love and mercy—a perfect parable of the gospel.

Manasseh’s day of reckoning came none too soon. This king fell very low in the history of God’s people. He conspired against all things good and heavenly, and provoked the Lord’s anger with sins worse than those that caused God to destroy the heathen nations of Canaan.

But “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20). Against the backdrop of Manasseh’s excessive brutality and perverse idol worship, God sent His saving grace. He is “Longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

We are told that the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. What devoured his peace more than all this was how far his own lost soul had wandered away from God. Of all the Hebrew kings who had reigned, few were so offensive to God and man as Manasseh, son of King Hezekiah of Judah. In his history as king of Judah, he had plunged the population of his country into the most perverse wickedness and idolatry to be found in those heathen nations that bordered his own. And the irony was, he almost missed being born.

Manasseh’s repentance was full and deep, and God moved the heart of King Ashurbanipal to release Manasseh to return home and be restored to his throne for many additional years. During that time, he undid much of the hellishness that he had revived. At his death, King Manasseh commanded that he be buried in the garden of his home, rather than alongside his more famous ancestor, King David. But he died a saved man (2 Chronicles 33:12-13).

How deep is God’s grace? Faced with King Manasseh’s unmitigated rebellion, we should completely banish the fear that God would desert us or cast us aside—if we return to Him in penitence. His love runs far deeper than we realize, and His arm of salvation is long enough to reach each one of us where we are. Manasseh found it true that the depth of God’s grace is unfathomable. And we can too!

About annointing

Defender of the Christian Faith
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4 Responses to King Manasseh and Repentance

  1. Patrick says:

    I need to come to repentance and God has called me to it for years.
    My evil is similar to Manasseh.
    Please pray for me. God has put me on house arrest and taken everything away from me in order to repent. I love him for his mercy but STRIVING for repentance I still cannot do.

    • annointing says:

      Patrick, praying that you totally submit and allow Jesus to be on the throne of your heart!

      “In every heart there is a throne and a cross: if self is on the throne, Jesus must be on the cross; if Jesus is on the throne, self must be on the cross.” (Tozer)

      For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT)

  2. Dad says:

    Thanks for the story of manasseh how can i get the books of history of the kings of israel and juddah and also a recovery bible , thanks and God Bless you more

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