King Manasseh was only 12 years old when he became the king of Judah. He took over the throne after his father Hezekiah had died. King Hezekiah was considered one of Judah’s greatest monarchs. This godly king made it a point to please the Lord, and he led the people in the true worship of God. Young Manasseh was able to experience his father’s success as a godly king during his childhood, but he didn’t follow in his footsteps. He appears on the Biblical Timeline Poster between 697 and 642 BC.
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Once Manasseh became king, he decided to restart pagan practices and worship once again. His grandfather King Ahaz was a wicked man who corrupted the people of Judah with ungodly religious practices. He practiced divination, sorcery and consulted mediums and psychics. Manasseh handled creating pagan altars in the temple of God, and he set up altars in the courtyard of the temple as well. Manasseh worshiped the sun and the stars and built altars for these celestial bodies.
King Manasseh was caught up with pagan worship and practices that he sacrificed his son in the fires of Molech. The king then set up an Asherah pole in the temple of God in the place where the Lord had told King’s David and Solomon that his name would forever be honored Jerusalem. God revealed that Manasseh’s actions were worse than those of the Amorites.
The Amorites were a wicked people who occupied the land of Canaan before God drove them out of the area. He did this because the people in the land were incredibly evil, and they engaged in all sorts of ungodly religious worship, unnatural sexual practices and murder. The people of Israel followed Manasseh in his sins, and God had to judge them. The Lord used prophets to tell King Manasseh that he was going to send Judah into exile as well as Israel because of their sins. God also said that he was going to deal harshly with the people of Judah that remained in the land. He was going to send them into captivity as well.
King Manasseh was guilty of murdering innocent people all throughout Jerusalem until the city was filled with innocent blood. Apparently the king was sacrificing some of these people for religious reasons and killing them because of his sinful murderous impulses. The people of Judah followed after his example and murdered many people as well. Though 2 Kings 21 doesn’t go into detail about what happened to King Manasseh as a result of his sins it must be mentioned because he went through a great ordeal before he changed his wicked ways.
The Lord sent the Assyrians one more time to capture King Manasseh, and after they had seized the king, they put a ring on his nose and led him back to Babylon as a slave. On his way to Babylon, the king cried out in distress to the Lord, who heard him. God decided to allow Manasseh to escape and go back to Judah. God was moved by his request for help.
King Manasseh finally realized that God was the true Lord of all. Once he returned to Israel, he removed the shrines and altars, and he restored worship back to the temple. He encouraged the people to follow after God once again. King Manasseh died a few years later after he repented of his sins and his son Amon took his place on the throne. King Manasseh’s name means “causing to forget.”
- 2 Kings 21: 1 – 2 Background information about Manasseh.
- 2 Kings 21: 3 – 6 King Manasseh institutes pagan religious practices and leads the people away from worshipping God.
- 2 Kings 21: 7 – 8 Manasseh set up pagan poles in the temple of the Lord and God is mad about it.
- 2 Kings 21: 9 The people didn’t listen to God’s warnings to turn from their sins and became more wicked than the pagan nations that surrounded them.
- 2 Kings 21: 10 -15 God uses his prophets to explain his judgments toward Manasseh’s sins.
- 2 Kings 21: 16 Manasseh murders innocent people.
- 2 Kings 21: 17, 18 Manasseh dies and his son Amon becomes king.