Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
2 Chronicles 33:12-13
I. It deserves to be noticed that the fall of Manasseh was an exception to the general law respecting the history of children of a godly parentage. It is a fact which children in Christian households should ponder seriously that if they do break loose from the restraints of their religious training, they become exceptional cases of sin against exceptional privilege.
II. This is confirmed by the fact, which the early manhood of Manasseh also illustrates, that when the children of the good become vicious, they do become worse than the average of wicked men. Manasseh fell back to the disgraceful level of his grandfather Ahaz.
III. The fall of Manasseh proves that the virus of an evil parentage when arrested in one generation may pass over and reappear in the generation following.
IV. The fall of Manasseh illustrates the power of high station and worldly prosperity to counteract the influence of a religious education.
V. The misfortunes which followed the apostasy of Manasseh illustrate the faithfulness of God to His covenant with godly parents.
VI. The salvation of the penitent prince should be both an encouragement and a warning to those sons of Christian parents who have lost the paths of virtue.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 124.
References: 2 Chronicles 33:11.—E. H. Plumptre, Expositor, 2nd series, vol. iv., pp. 450,452. 2 Chronicles 33:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., No. 105.
2 Chronicles 33:20-25Notice the chief lessons which lie in the life of these three kings.
I. Manasseh. There is no limit to the mercy of God. Sinners the chief are welcome to complete forgiveness. If only great saints got into heaven, we who are great sinners would lose hope. But when we see Manasseh and men like him going in and getting welcome, there is hope for us. If we follow their steps in repentance, we shall be permitted to join their company in rest.
II. Amon. Beware of turning the riches of God's grace into a snare. As Manasseh's case is recorded in the Bible that an aged sinner desiring to turn may not be cast into despair, Amon's case is recorded beside it that the young may not delay an hour, lest they perish for ever.
III. None of us will be saved or lost in consequence of anything in our parents. Amon saw his father born again when he was old, but the son did not inherit his father's goodness. Josiah was the child of an ungodly parent, and yet he became a godly child. These two lessons are plainly written in the history, the one to make the presumptuous humble, the other to give the despairing hope: (1) a converted father cannot secure the safety of an unconverted son, and (2) an unconverted father cannot drag down a child in his fall if that child follows the Lord.
W. Arnot, Family Treasury, 1861, p. 353.
Reference: 2 Chronicles 34:1.—Sermons for Boys and Girls, p. 188.
But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
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.
And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
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.
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.
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.
Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.
His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them;
And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.