2 Chronicles 33:9
So Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem astray, so that they did greater evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.
Sermons
Manasseh's Sin and RepentanceAlexander Maclaren2 Chronicles 33:9
The ApostateW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 33:1-9
The Reign of ManassehT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 33:1-20
Well indeed was it for King Hezekiah that he did not foresee, though he may have feared (see previous homily), the character and the course of his son and successor. Had he done so, not all his riches and honour, not all his treasuries and storehouses, not all his flocks and herds, not all his watercourses and other works, would have removed sorrow from his heart. There has never, in any land, been a greater change, a sadder reaction, than that experienced by Judah when the godly Hezekiah was succeeded by the apostate Manasseh. It is true, indeed -

I. THAT PITY AS WELL AS BLAME MAY BE EXTENDED TO THE YOUNG KING. He was but twelve when he ascended the throne of Judah. He was far too young to encounter the peculiar temptations of sovereignty; and there was much excuse for him if, at that tender age, he allowed his own youthful inclinations to be overborne by the counsels of those so much older and so much more experienced than himself. In view of his circumstances, we may commiserate as much as we condemn him. No one need wish to occupy a higher position than his years, his experience, his training, have fitted him to fill. Its honours and its emoluments, however great they may he, are of no account at all in view of the immense disadvantage at which such a one is placed, and of the temptations to which he is exposed. Let youth wait its time; let it not seize the opportunity before the hour is ripe; let it understand that the position of subjection, of apprenticeship, of culture (special or general), is a far happier and far wiser one for the present, and that it is the one hope of a really prosperous and honourable career.

II. THAT MORAL EVIL MAY BE HIT VERY HARD, AND YET NOT BE SLAIN. Nothing will account for the speedy apostasy of Judah but the supposition that there was a vigorous idolatrous party at court, or that beneath the outward conformity of the previous reign there was a secret and yet strong inclination toward the practices of the time of Ahaz, Hezekiah did well to put down the altars and the "high places" with the unsparing energy he showed. But it was proved once more that it is one thing to remove the temptation and another thing to change the character. No reformer must be satisfied until he has reason to be convinced that sin is rooted out of the heart as well as taken out of the hand, that righteousness is loved within as well as manifested without.

III. THAT SIN LEADS RAPIDLY DOWN FROM BAD TO WORSE. It is painful, indeed, to think of the lad carefully cultured in Hebrew ways of piety and morality going down into such sad depths of sin and shame as are indicated in the text (vers. 3, 4, 5, 7). Not all at once, but by somewhat rapid stages, he went on and down from the piety and purity of his boyhood to the "depths of Satan," as they may be called. That is too often the lamentable course of sin. It takes but a few years for the soul that was taught to hate iniquity and to shrink from its touch to become familiar with its phases and to become an adept in its practices. The "monster of the hideous mien," when we have become

"... familiar with its face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace." Shun the first step that leads down the evil slope.

IV. THAT SIN BECLOUDS THE INTELLECT WHILE IT DEGRADES THE SOUL. Manasseh "used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit," etc. (ver. 6). When men leave the rational service of the one Lord of all, and betake themselves either to superstition or to unbelief, they are very apt to yield themselves up to the greatest follies; to accept theories and to practise arts which a very moderate share of intelligence condemns as childish and vain. Only in the way of Divine truth shall we tread the path of human wisdom; once out of that track we lose our way, and wander in labyrinths of folly and of error. With Jesus Christ for our Teacher, we shall shun those byways of folly which would dishonour and degrade us.

V. THAT ONE SINFUL SOUL MAY WORE A WORLD OF HARM. "So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen," etc. (ver. 9). Perhaps those who first used their influence to withdraw him from the service of Jehovah shrank from some of the "developments" of their own work; but when we send a human spirit on a downward course, we little know whither that course will lead, or in what it will end. There are scarcely any limits to the evils which one bad life may work or start. Heavy indeed is the responsibility, great is the guilt, of those who lead the young astray, and send them along a path where they not only err and fail themselves, but scatter broadcast the seeds of sin and sorrow. - C.







Josiah his son king in his stead.
Josiah was the son of Amon — which is equal to saying that the greatest sinner of his day was the progenitor of one of the finest saints that ever prayed. If that is not a miracle, what is meant by the term miracle? Read the account and say if it be not the reading of music: — "And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father" (2 Chronicles 34:2) "and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left." Then he had more fathers than one. That is the explanation. You are not the son of the man that went immediately before you; you are only his son in a very incidental manner. Josiah was the son of "David his father" — the larger father, the deeper root, the elect of God; a sun fouled by many a black spot, but a shining orb notwithstanding. We must enlarge our view if we would come to right conclusions regarding many mysteries. Amen was but a link in the chain. The bad man here, or the good man there, taken in his solitariness, is but a comparatively trivial incident in life's tragedy. Heredity is not from one to two; it is from one to the last; from the beginning to the ending. In every man there lives all the humanity that ever lived. We are fearfully and wonderfully made — not physically only, but morally, religiously, temperamentally. All the kings live in the last king or the reigning monarch. We are one humanity. Solidarity has its lessons as well as individuality. We know not which of our ancestors comes up in us at this moment or that — now the tiger, now the eagle; now the praying mother, now the daring sire; now some mean soul that got into the current by a mystery never to be explained; now the cunning, watchful, patient deceiver, who can wait for nights at a time and never complain of the dark or the cold, and now the hero that never had a fear, the philanthropist that loved the world, the mother that never looked otherwise than God Himself would have her look. We can never tell which of our ancestors is really thinking in us, speaking through us; we cannot tell the accent of the immediate consciousness; — these are mysteries, and when the judgment comes it will be based upon all the ground, and not upon incidental points here and there

(J. Parker, D. D.).

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