19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them. 22 He forsook the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to him.
2 Kings 21:19-22
Who was Manasseh, Amon’s father? Manasseh was Hezekiah’s son. Recall Hezekiah did a great deal to turn Judah back to the Lord God of Jerusalem. Somehow though he did not teach his son to follow in his footsteps and to follow the Lord God of Jerusalem. Instead, as we find in the opening of this chapter, he did great evil in the eyes of the Lord exceeding much of the evil that had been done in Israel.
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My Name.” 5 In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.
2 Kings 21:1-6
He sacrificed his own son! It is no wonder God through His prophets pronounce judgment.
11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols. 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil in my eyes and have aroused my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.”
2 Kings 21:11-15
Reading further is seems as if judgment did not come during Manasseh’s reign, but it did. However to find it we have to go to 2 Chronicles 33 where we read
11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to Him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
2 Chronicles 33:11-13
What did Manasseh do with the grace granted him by God? He truly changed his ways!
15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
2 Chronicles 33:15-17
Knowing this, having seen the change in his father Amon’s rebellion against God and his blatant disobedience is even more difficult to understand. Nonetheless, he only reigned for two years. After his assassination his eight year old son Josiah became king. In chapter twenty-two we find out
He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
2 Kings 22:2
These were not small changes for Josiah, who at a tender age made major changes throughout Judah as 2 Chronicles 34 tells us.
3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. 4 Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7 he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 34:3-7
Even with the great evil Manasseh did, God granted him grace and Manasseh changed his ways. His son Anon seeing the grace granted to Manasseh ignored it and went on to commit great evil learning nothing from what happened with Manasseh. It was left to his son Josiah to return Judah to the worship of the Lord. We know the Grace of God through His Son Jesus. Do we share the knowledge of His Grace with others so they might also know of His Grace in their lives? I hope and pray that we do.