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The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. 2 Chronicles 33:10 NKJV

Manasseh: The Old Testament Prodigal Son (2)—His Rebellion

Manasseh came to the throne at the tender age of twelve years after the death of his father, Hezekiah. Whatever godly influence his father may have had upon him was quickly forgotten. Perhaps the guardians overseeing Manasseh led him into the paths of wickedness—we are not told. He worshiped the host of heaven, caused his sons “to pass through the fire” (the worship of Molech), practiced witchcraft and sorcery, and “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood” (2 Chr. 33:3–7; 2 Ki. 24:4). He willfully reversed all the reforms his father had instituted (2 Chr. 33:3). It was mercy that his father never lived to see this. If that were not enough, he seduced his countrymen to follow his sinful ways (v. 9). Jewish tradition says he was responsible for the martyrdom of Isaiah the prophet.

God is faithful and full of grace. Even after all of Manasseh’s waywardness, God still appealed to his conscience. God spoke to Manasseh and his followers, yet they would not listen. We are not told what God said to Manasseh, but it was most likely a warning of impending judgment and that there was still time to repent. We would naturally think that, after such a descent into depravity and wickedness, God would not have given him any warning, but that is not our God. We see the same throughout the Bible: like Manasseh, Jezebel, the false prophetess of Thyatira, had seduced God’s servants to commit sin and sacrifice to idols. But the Lord “gave her time to repent” before judgment fell upon her and her followers (Rev. 2:20–23).

Manasseh had rejected his godly heritage, and brought shame upon his father’s house. Like the prodigal of Luke’s Gospel, he was dwelling in the “far country” (Lk. 15:12–13). But God’s eye and heart were still upon him. Oh, the grace of God!

Brian Reynolds