The King’s Idolatries Rebuked
10 Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying, 11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. 13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies; 15 because they have done evil in My sight, and have been provoking Me to anger since the day their fathers came from Egypt, even to this day.’”
16 Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord. 17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh and all that he did and his sin which he [b]committed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son became king in his place.
Amon Succeeds Manasseh
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done. 21 For he walked in all the way that his father had walked, and served the idols that his father had served and worshiped them. 22 So he forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord. 23 The servants of Amon conspired against him and killed the king in his own house. 24 Then the people of the land [c]killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. 25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 26 He was buried in his grave in the garden of Uzza, and Josiah his son became king in his place.
There is more to Manasseh’s story, that we’ll eventually get to in Chronicles, but this passage goes even further into his wicked (and murderous) ways. It also talks about the prophets, how they warned the king and all the people, and it is even thought that one of the prophets was Manasseh’s own grandfather (Isaiah, father of his mother Hephzibah).
But why, what drove Manasseh, and eventually Amon, to do such evil things? Why would they forsake the commands of God, despite the influence of their fathers and grandfathers? There is some speculation about economic reasons for rebuilding the shrines, but the mountain of evil that Manasseh heaped up could not be excused so lightly. Ultimately, Manasseh’s sin was because he refused to obey God and wanted to do things his own way. He was the king, and why should he answer to anyone else?
Whatever our position, and our parentage, and a hundred other things, we still have a choice to make. Do we go God’s way, or go our own way, indulging our fleshly impulses, traveling the path that seems most desirable to our carnal nature? Manasseh made his own choice (though he later repented), as did his son Amon. Both could have chosen a different path, nothing was set in stone, and their circumstances could be blamed for none of it in the end.
We are not victims of our present situation, unless we allow ourselves to remain in a prison of circumstance. Live life on purpose, choose what is right, and you will most certainly find a better life when you follow God’s ways. Will it be easier? Will it lead to more money, fame or fortune? That is all unlikely, but it’s also a matter of perspective. Is it more pleasurable to eat all the food we want and never exercise? Certainly for a time it could be, but that will change as our bodies deteriorate and life becomes a miserable trap that we long to escape. So it is with any vice we embrace, but God desires what is best for us. It may seem difficult at first, but in the long-term, there are no shortcuts, and He will work things for our good.