But They Would Not Listen

Nearing the end of Isaiah’s days as a prophet and at the end of Hezekiah’s life, we have parallel accounts in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles of the life of Manasseh, successor to and son of Hezekiah and then Manasseh’s son Amon who both did evil in the sight of the Lord in 2 Kings 21:2 and 2 Kings 21:20. Hezekiah had pushed reforms, and later in Manasseh’s life he did humble himself because of captivity in Babylon and began to serve the Lord. But Amon, in 2 Kings 21:22 “abandoned Yahweh the God of his ancestors” and was killed by those “in his palace”. Josiah, son of Amon, took the throne and in 2 Chronicles 34:3 “while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of David his ancestor” and in 2 Kings 21:2 “He did right in the eyes of Yahweh”. 

He Did Evil in the Eyes of Yahweh (the Lord)

2 Kings 21:1–9
Manasseh may have reigned a few years with his father Hezekiah during the period that Hezekiah’s life was extended. In any case, Manasseh was very young, too young to rule without guidance. Clearly though, as he came into his own, during the fifty-five years of his reign, in

2 Kings 21:2 “He did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, according to the detestable things of the nations that Yahweh had driven out from the presence of the Israelites”.

The children of Israel were to have driven out all of these who practised these things and here is their king establishing them. The list is given in 2 Kings 21:3-7 “He returned and rebuilt the high places … He erected altars for Baal and made a pole of Asherah worship … he bowed down to all of the host of heaven and served them. He built altars in the temple … He built an altar to all of the host of heaven … He made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying and divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists … He put the image of the Asherah that he had made in the temple”.

At the end of this list is “the image … that he had made” and the summary that he “tempted them to do evil more than” in

2 Kings 21:9 But Manasseh did not listen and tempted them to do evil more than the nations that Yahweh destroyed before the presence of the Israelites.

I Will Stretch Out Over Jerusalem the Plumb Line

2 Kings 21:10–17
Because of what Manasseh had done as king, the Lord says in

2 Kings 21:13 “I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes the dish; he wipes it and turns it on its face”.

But there is also a further charge against Manasseh that “he shed innocent blood” which was “apart from” what he did against the Lord. Manasseh sinned against God and the people in

2 Kings 21:16 Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he filled Jerusalem from one end to another, apart from his sin which he caused Judah to sin by doing evil in the eyes of Yahweh.

He Abandoned Yahweh the God of His Ancestors

2 Kings 21:18–26
Amon, son of Manasseh in 2 Kings 21:18 begins to reign and in 2 Kings 21:20 “did evil in the eyes of Yahweh”. But Amon went even farther in 2 Kings 21:22 “He abandoned Yahweh the God of his ancestors”. There were factions among the people, some wanting to serve the Lord and those like Amon that “abandoned Yahweh” and in

2 Kings 21:23–24 “The servants of Amon conspired against him and killed the king in his palace. 24 But the people of the land killed all who conspired against the king and made Josiah his son king in his place”.

These were fighting against each other. Those “in his palace” killed the king and likely thought they could take his position of power but instead the people killed the conspirators, maybe thinking they could continue in Amon’s way, but in 2 Kings 21:26 “Josiah his son became king” and in 2 Kings 22:2 “He did right in the eyes of Yahweh”. In the end, those doing evil destroyed each other as it says in

Galatians 5:14–15 “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another”.

He Himself Burned His Sons in the Fire

2 Chronicles 33:1–9 

And Yahweh Spoke, But They Would Not Listen

2 Chronicles 33:10–19
Here, in

2 Chronicles 33:10 And Yahweh spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they would not listen.

The Lord always seeks reconciliation first. He always offers and opportunity for repentance and then if that fails, judgement comes as we find in

2 Chronicles 33:11 So Yahweh brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria upon them, and they took Manasseh captive with hooks, and they bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon.

This is a great demonstration of God’s goodness and mercy because Manasseh is affected by his captivity and he cries out to God and is restored in

2 Chronicles 33:12–13 And when he was in distress he entreated Yahweh his God and greatly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors 13 and prayed to him. And God responded to him and heard his plea and let him return to Jerusalem to his kingdom. And Manasseh knew that Yahweh was God.

Manasseh made a change. He turned to God and he took action in 2 Chronicles 33:14 to build “an outer wall for the city of David … And it encircled the Ophel and raised it very high. Then he placed strong commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah”.1

But this action is lost on us without some understanding of the priesthood and the work required to support the temple. In Manasseh’s time, “The Nethinim are one of the five clerical orders associated with the temple in Ezra-Nehemiah: priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants (Neh 10:28) … The temple servants are said to live within a specific precinct on the Ophel in Jerusalem (Neh 3:26, 31; 11:21), as well as in other cities (Ezra 2:70 = Neh 7:72)”.2

So, Manasseh’s action to build the wall and place commanders in the fortified cities was not just to strengthen the wall, but it was to provide protections and support needed for the operation of the temple. Manasseh’s action to remove “the foreign gods” to cleanse in 2 Chronicles 33:15 the “house of Yahweh” is simple to understand. This was all done to restore the priesthood and the temple to right standing.

Amon Himself Multiplied his Guilt

2 Chronicles 33:20–25
Amon followed in his fathers early footsteps, but when Manasseh humbled himself and began to serve the Lord, Amon went his own way in

2 Chronicles 33:22–23 And he did what was evil in the eyes of Yahweh as Manasseh his father had done. And Amon sacrificed to all the idols that Manasseh his father had made, and he served them. 23 And he did not humble himself before Yahweh, as Manasseh his father humbled himself, but Amon himself multiplied his guilt.


He Did Right in the Eyes of Yahweh (the Lord)

2 Kings 22:1–2
Amon was killed at about twenty-four years so his son Josiah was still very young in 2 Kings 22:1 “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem”. Of Josiah it says in

2 Kings 21:2 “He did right in the eyes of Yahweh, and he walked in all of the way of David his ancestor and did not turn aside to the right or to the left”.

But it is eighteen years later that we see him taking action in 2 Kings 22:3-7 as he commands “repair the breach of the temple”.

He Did Not Deviate to the Right or to the Left

2 Chronicles 34:1–3
There is a little more information about Josiah in

2 Chronicles 34:2–3 “he walked in the ways of David his ancestor and did not deviate to the right or to the left. 3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of David his ancestor. And in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem”.

I Will Stretch Out My Hand

Zephaniah 1:1–9
The Lord is jealous about his name and his people. Some believe they can merge together the things of God and whatever other beliefs people may have but God will not accept that. This isn’t a new idea, the Lord had been very clear in

Deuteronomy 4:23–24 Watch out for yourselves so that you do not forget the covenant of Yahweh your God that he had made with you and make for yourselves a divine image of the form of anything that Yahweh your God has forbidden, 24 for Yahweh your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.

So, now the Lord says in

Zephaniah 1:4–5 “And I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal, and the name of idolatrous priests with the priests, 5 and those who bow down on the rooftops to the host of heaven, and those who bow down, swearing to Yahweh but also swearing by Milkom”

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • 2 Kings 21:1-26
  • 2 Kings 22:1-2
  • 2 Chronicles 33:1-25
  • 2 Chronicles 34:1-3
  • Zephaniah 1:1-9


  • 1. Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (2 Ch 33:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 2. Healey, J. P. (1992). Nethinim. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 4, p. 1085). New York: Doubleday.