2 Chronicles 33:1 - 9
ESV - 1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
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By my reading, two differing views of Manasseh -- who became king of Judah at the young age of twelve, and thus had an exceptionally long reign of fifty-five years -- are given in Scripture. 2 Kings 21 presents him as an evil ruler with no redeeming qualities, who was one of the prime factors in Judah being taken into exile in Babylon. However, 2 Chronicles 33 indicates that, although his reign was initially characterized by idolatry and even by Manasseh's sacrifice of his own children to false gods, he was chastened and reformed as a result of Judah's exile. He pleaded to God, and God brought him back to his kingdom, where Manasseh restored the worship of God, and rebuilt Jerusalem and Solomon's temple. Taken together, these two accounts to me are powerful examples of both God's discipline, and His forgiveness if that discipline leads to repentance.
2 Chronicles 33:1-20: "The son of Hezekiah and father of Amon, king of Judah, who succeeded his father when he was only twelve years of age.” (2 Kings 20:21; 21) The Man Whose Policy Was Wrong Manasseh, the prodigal king of the Old Testament, was overwhelmed by Assyrian forces and in the twenty-third year of his reign was taken as a prisoner to Babylon where he lingered for twelve years. During these years he turned to God and was restored to freedom and his kingdom. For the next twenty years left to him, he sought to undo the wrong of the past. His long reign of fifty-five years, the longest in Jewish history, closed not inauspiciously. He died a penitent, and left a son who followed his father in his sins but not in his repentance. Gathering together what we can of Manasseh’s life, it would seem that he was a man of policy: His policy of idolatry. How he hated the first two commandments of Sinai: '1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.', And he reversed the reforms of his father! How exceedingly bold he was in his idolatry! His policy of immorality. Idolatry and immorality go together, thus in rejecting God there came the worship of the Syrian Venus. This action let loose a flood of iniquity over the land of Judah. "Manasseh placed an Asherah pole in the house of the LORD. This pole was actually a carved image of an elongated male sexual organ. One worshiped Asherah by committing adultery or fornication with the 'priestesses' of Asherah (who were actually prostitutes) beneath the Asherah pole. This worship was abominable enough in and of itself, but Manasseh set this Asherah image up in the temple of the LORD! Nathan https://precepts.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/contradictions-the-repentance-of-manasseh/ His policy of persecution. Manasseh allowed nothing to stand in the way of license and open evil. Martyrdom became the cost of service. Idolatry was set up under the pain of death. His policy of destruction. God’s truth testified too plainly against the sins of king and people. So complete was this destruction of the Word of God that when Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, came to the throne, a copy of it was found in the Temple. [Just ONE!] But Manasseh’s eyes were opened to his sinful condition, and he sobbed out the misery of his helpless and craven soul. The occasion of his repentance was affliction. In the prison-house of Babylon he prayed. As to the character of his repentance, he besought the Lord and humbled himself before the God of his fathers and prayed unto Him. Penniless and penitent, his cry for mercy came from a broken heart, and God graciously received this prodigal king. Alas, however, he stopped short of being out-and-out for God! He allowed the high places of idolatry to remain. It will not be possible to doubt God’s grace in heaven in the ages to come if we can but catch a glimpse of Manasseh—godly-reared, apostate, idolatrous, devilish, stricken, humbled, repentant Manasseh! Lockyer -- https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-men-bible/Manasseh-Manasses
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