In prosperity men forget God, but in adversity they can find no other refuge. Blessed be the affliction that brings one to his knees, for the divine mercy far exceeds the divine vengeance.
II Chronicles 33
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
2 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.
3 ¶ 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.
4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
6 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.
7 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:
8 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.
9 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.
10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
11 ¶ 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.
12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13 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.
14 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.
15 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.
16 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.
17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
18 ¶ 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.
19 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.
20 ¶ So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
21 ¶ Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.
22 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;
23 And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
25 ¶ 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.
II Chronicles 33 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 33:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 33:3-10 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 33:11-25 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Chronicles 33:1-13 – Affliction Teaches Humility
Because of his youth Manasseh was probably the more easily influenced by the reactionary party, who came back to power on Hezekiah’s death; but afterward, in his early manhood, he pursued still further these evil courses, and made Judah and Jerusalem to err. Warning voices protested in vain, until there was no alternative save the hooks and fetters of the king of Assyria. But in his dungeon in the far country he came to himself and God.
The words describing his penitence are very strong, suggesting long-continued tortures of conscience, and much agony of remorse. How quickly God heard him, and how incredible was his restoration! Here was a captive for life, as it seemed; yet he is not only set free, but actually restored to his kingdom and established on his throne. There is much hope for us all in this. If we truly repent of our sins, we shall be forgiven, and not only forgiven but restored again to our kingdom. Let us believe that God not only casts away our sins, but restores our soul. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Chronicles 33:12—When he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God.
So long as this story stands on the page of revelation, no sinner need despair of mercy. There was hardly a sin possible to man that Manasseh did not commit. He “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” (v. 2). And he made his people do worse than the heathen.
Then came awful sorrow. Bound in fetters, exposed to consummate cruelty and disgrace, he was carried to Babylon, and thrust into the dungeons, where other captive princes were immured, with little chance of liberation or permission to revisit his native land. But there the Spirit of God did His work. He humbled himself greatly, and prayed. What tears, and cries, and bursts of heart-broken penitence, were his! How those walls were saturated with the breath of confession, and those stone floors indented by his kneeling at perpetual prayer! And God came near to his low dungeon, and graciously heard his supplication, and brought him back again.
Yes, and He will do as much for you. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin; the grace of God is exceedingly abundant with faith and love; all sins and blasphemies may be forgiven to the sons of men. Turn to Him with brokenness of soul, and He will not only forgive, but bring you again; and give you, as He did Manasseh, an opportunity of undoing some of those evil things which have marred your past. For the rest, it is good not to wait for affliction to stir us up to seek God, but to abide in Him for love’s dear sake. —Our Daily Homily
2 Chronicles 33:13 – Have you ever noticed the great clock of St. Paul’s? At midday, in the roar of business, how few hear it but those who are close to it! But when the work of the day is over, and silence reigns in London, then it may be heard for miles around. That is just like the conscience of an impenitent man. While in health and strength, he will not hear it; but the day will come when he must retire from the world, and look death in the face; and then the clock of conscience – the solemn clock – will sound in his ears, and, if he has not repented, will bring wretchedness and misery to his soul. (Ryle)
2 Chronicles 33:14-25 – Humbled Father, but Self-willed Son
Manasseh apparently did his best to undo the evil he had wrought in Jerusalem. So far as the idols and other symbols of idolatry were concerned, it was comparatively easy to take them away. But notwithstanding all his endeavors, the people still sacrificed in high places; and his son Amon perpetuated the memory of his father’s sins, making no effort to repeat his repentance and tears. Though Manasseh commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the people continued to worship amid the impure and degrading associations to which he had accustomed them.
It is easier to scatter thistle-down than gather it up. There are great thistle tracts in Australia, which would never have arisen but for the careless act of a Scotch settler, who imported from his native land one specimen of the national emblem. Take care of your influence. It is easier to set stones rolling than to stop them. It is recorded of a dean of St. Paul’s in London, that he was never seen to smile, because in his early life he had written verses of a sensual character, the circulation of which he was unable to arrest. —Through the Bible Day by Day