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Manasseh, King Of Judah
by Wayne Blank
"I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh"
Manasseh was the son of King Hezekiah and his wife Hephzibah. He became king at age twelve upon the death of his father.
"And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah." (2 Kings 20:21, 21:1 KJV)
Manasseh was a very bloody and evil man. There is an old Jewish tradition, that is not substantiated in the Scriptures, that Manasseh even had the prophet Isaiah sawed in two.
"And he did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom The Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places [see also High Places of The Mind] which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal [see also Baal-zebub and Beelzebub], and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel [who was married to Jezebel]; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them ... And he made his son pass through the fire [see also The Valley Of Hell], and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with Familiar Spirits and wizards [see Witches And Sorcerers]: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of The Lord, to provoke him to."
The Lord's wrath upon Manasseh, and all who were like him in Judah, was sure to come:
"And The Lord spake by His servants the Prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith The Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle."
The Lord then permitted Judah's enemies to strike, as He did to eventually bring down both Israel and Judah when they became corrupt before Him (see Why Babylon? and The Galilee Captivity). An Assyrian king, whose throne was in Babylon (whether it is speaking of the city or the region isn't clear) at the time (the Assyrian empire was generally centered to the north, in what is today northern Iraq, while the Babylonian empire was centered in what is today southern Iraq; see Ancient Empires - Assyria and Ancient Empires - Babylon) captured Manasseh and imprisoned him in Babylon. The Assyrians typically treated prisoners with a sadistic brutality that is rarely seen even today (as most historians know, the modern "civilized" world is in fact just as, or more, barbarous than it ever was during ancient times). Prisoners were often "hooked" with a metal ring or hook through the jaw, and led around by an attached chain, something that may be alluded to in "the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters" (2 Chronicles 33:11 KJV).
Such severe treatment cured Manasseh's arrogance and evil and brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom. While many may regard how The Lord brought Manasseh to repentance as brutal, it was actually a blessing in the form of brutality that, come the Judgment Day, many political leaders may wish that they had been subjected to in order to divert them from their evil.
"Wherefore The Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon."
Manasseh lived out the remainder of his restored reign in Jerusalem.
"Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 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 reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 21:17-18 KJV)
Fact Finder: Manasseh was a king of Judah. Of which royal house can the ancestry of Jesus Christ be found, Israel or Judah?