King Manasseh - Biography

Chart of the Kings King Manasseh - Biography God's Judgment Regarding King Manasseh
Previous King: Hezekiah   Next King: Amon

King Manasseh came to the throne at only 12 years of age, when his father, the good King Hezekiah, died.

Manasseh made it his mission to undo the good reforms instituted by his father, and to do a great deal of evil. Hezekiah had destroyed shrines of pagan worship throughout the land; Manasseh rebuilt them, adding also shrines to Baal and Asherah. He desecrated the LORD's temple by putting altars for idol worship in it. He sacrificed his own sons, burning them to death in worship of the idol Molech. Manasseh murdered so many people that the historian wrote that he “filled Jerusalem from one end to the other” with innocent blood.

The LORD sent prophets to warn of the disaster that would come because the people followed Manasseh in his great sins — Judah would be destroyed by their enemies. But king and people ignored the warnings.

Late in Manasseh's 55-year reign, Assyria attacked Jerusalem, captured Manasseh, and placed him in a prison 1,000 miles away. Humiliated and powerless, he sat in his cell and remembered his father's days. He began to pray, confessing his sin and asking the LORD's help. The LORD heard Manasseh's prayer, freed him, and returned him to his throne in Jerusalem. The no doubt fascinating details of how this happened are not given.

This was no foxhole conversion. Back in power, Manasseh was a new man. He destroyed all the idol shrines he had built, removed his desecrations from the LORD's temple, and restored the temple worship.

Unfortunately, Manasseh's conversion came too late to have any lasting impact on his kingdom. When Judah fell, the LORD blamed it on the sins of Manasseh.

Where to read Manasseh's story: 2 Kings 21:1-17; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20

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