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Manasseh Of Judah

Manasseh (not to be confused with the Israelite patriarch Manasseh; see The Israelite Patriarchs - Manasseh; also Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?), from the Hebrew name pronounced men-awsh-sheh, meaning causing to forget, succeeded his father Hezekiah as king of Judah (see Hezekiah Of Judah).

"20:20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? [see Kings of Israel and Judah]

20:21 And Hezekiah slept [see The Sleep Of Death] with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 20:20-21 KJV)

Manasseh was only twelve years old when his father died, meaning that regents ("someone who rules during the absence, youth or incapacity of a monarch") would have actually reigned until Manasseh became old enough to claim himself as ruler. It was his young age that provided for his long official reign of fifty-five years. Unlike his father Hezekiah however, Manasseh "did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD."

"21:1 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.

21:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'], after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel." (2 Kings 21:1-2 KJV)

"He filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon"

Manasseh's reign was one of the most idol-infested of any Israelite king, north or south (see The Northern Kingdom and The Southern Kingdom). Despite the warnings from prophets of the LORD (some historians believe that Isaiah was martyred during the reign of Manasseh; see also The Prophets: Isaiah), Manasseh's influence upon the people of Judah was such that he "seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel."

Map Of The Assyrian Empire

"21:3 For he built up again the high places 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; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 21:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. 21:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

21:7 And he set a graven image of the grove [see Groves] that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: 21:8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. 21:9 But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel." (2 Kings 21:3-9 KJV)

Ignoring warnings from prophets of the LORD (see What Is A Prophet? and The Prophets: North and South) is a certain course for national decline and fall. It literally caused the LORD to wipe them out in due time, "I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down."

"21:10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying, 21:11 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:

21:12 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. 21:13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. 21:14 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; 21:15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day." (2 Kings 21:10-15 KJV)

Manasseh was also savagely brutal to his own people (a Jewish tradition, which is not recorded in the Bible, maintains that the prophet Isaiah was sawn in two, while alive, during the time of Manasseh). Some later historians have called Manasseh the "Nero" of his own people.

"21:16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD." (2 Kings 21:16 KJV)

It was from his own manner of horrendous brutality that the swaggering Manasseh was given to be taken captive (the LORD would never have permitted a righteous king to be captured) by the Assyrians. The King James Version uses the translated term "took Manasseh among the thorns" to refer to the common Assyrian practice of putting a locked hook through the pierced jaw bone of captives from which they were led by a rope, like cattle (Manasseh may also have been "neutered," like an ox, as well - a common practice by the Assyrians, as was blinding, although Manasseh was apparently spared his sight). The RSV renders it as "took Manasseh with hooks." From that, Manasseh "humbled himself greatly" and pleaded for the LORD to save him - which the LORD did, after Manasseh had the Satanic arrogance crushed out of him (a lesson that is going to be repeated with all of the arrogant ones of the world, when their time comes - what they have done to others, is going to be done to them).

"33:10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.

33:11 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. 33:12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,

33:13 And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God." (2 Chronicles 33:10-13 KJV)

Manasseh's return produced some effort to repair the land of the heathen idolatry that Manasseh had inflicted upon it.

"33:14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.

33:15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. 33:16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. 33:17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only." (2 Chronicles 33:14-17 KJV)

At the end of his over half-century reign, Manasseh died "and was buried in the garden of his own house." He was succeeded by his son Amon.

"21:17 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? 21:18 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 reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 21:17-18 KJV)

The corruption of Manasseh cast a long shadow on the Kingdom of Judah. Four kings of Judah later, in the time of King Jehoiakim, the wrath of the LORD upon the still-existing corruption that was planted by Manasseh was yet to be completed, for "came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did."

"24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 24:2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.

24:3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; 24:4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon." (2 Kings 24:1-4 KJV)

Even when the Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), in the time of Jeremiah, it was in fulfillment of the Judgment of the LORD that "I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem."

"15:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.

15:3 And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy. 15:4 And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem." (Jeremiah 15:1-4 KJV)

Fact Finder: When Judah eventually fell because of its unrepentant corruption, was it nevertheless prophesied that the nation would return, 70 years later?
See Jeremiah's Field


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