This is Episode #139 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 32-34 together. This is father not like son. But even humility by the unlikely Manasseh could not keep Israel from her destiny with captivity.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #139 and today we’ll read 2 Chronicles chapters 32-34 together. This is father not like son. But even humility by the unlikely Manasseh could not keep Israel from her destiny with captivity.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
2 Chronicles Chapter 32
After Hezekiah’s faithful deeds, King Sennacherib of Assyria came and entered Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities and intended to break into them. Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he planned war on Jerusalem, so he consulted with his officials and his warriors about stopping up the water of the springs that were outside the city, and they helped him. Many people gathered and stopped up all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land; they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?” Then Hezekiah strengthened his position by rebuilding the entire broken-down wall and heightening the towers and the other outside wall. He repaired the supporting terraces of the city of David, and made an abundance of weapons and shields.
He set military commanders over the people and gathered the people in the square of the city gate. Then he encouraged them, saying, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged before the king of Assyria or before the large army that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. He has only human strength, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” So the people relied on the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.
Sennacherib’s Servant’s Speech
After this, while King Sennacherib of Assyria with all his armed forces besieged Lachish, he sent his servants to Jerusalem against King Hezekiah of Judah and against all those of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: ‘What are you relying on that you remain in Jerusalem under siege? Isn’t Hezekiah misleading you to give you over to death by famine and thirst when he says, “The Lord our God will keep us from the grasp of the king of Assyria”? Didn’t Hezekiah himself remove his high places and his altars and say to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before one altar, and you must burn incense on it”?
“‘Don’t you know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the lands? Have any of the national gods of the lands been able to rescue their land from my power? Who among all the gods of these nations that my predecessors completely destroyed was able to rescue his people from my power, that your God should be able to deliver you from my power? So now, don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, and don’t let him mislead you like this. Don’t believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my power or the power of my predecessors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!’”
Sennacherib Also Wrote Letters
His servants said more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. He also wrote letters to mock the Lord, the God of Israel, saying against him:
Just like the national gods of the lands that did not rescue their people from my power, so Hezekiah’s God will not rescue his people from my power.
Then they called out loudly in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem, who were on the wall, to frighten and discourage them in order that he might capture the city. They spoke against the God of Jerusalem like they had spoken against the gods of the peoples of the earth, which were made by human hands.
Deliverance from Sennacherib
King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven, and the Lord sent an angel who annihilated every valiant warrior, leader, and commander in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria returned in disgrace to his land. He went to the temple of his god, and there some of his own children struck him down with the sword.
So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the power of King Sennacherib of Assyria and from the power of all others. He gave them rest on every side. Many were bringing an offering to the Lord to Jerusalem and valuable gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah, and he was exalted in the eyes of all the nations after that.
Hezekiah’s Illness and Pride
In those days Hezekiah became sick to the point of death, so he prayed to the Lord, who spoke to him and gave him a miraculous sign. However, because his heart was proud, Hezekiah didn’t respond according to the benefit that had come to him. So there was wrath on him, Judah, and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart — he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem — so the Lord’s wrath didn’t come on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.
Hezekiah’s Wealth and Works
Hezekiah had abundant riches and glory, and he made himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and every desirable item. He made warehouses for the harvest of grain, new wine, and fresh oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and pens for flocks. He made cities for himself, and he acquired vast numbers of flocks and herds, for God gave him abundant possessions.
This same Hezekiah blocked the upper outlet of the water from the Gihon Spring and channeled it smoothly downward and westward to the city of David. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did. When the ambassadors of Babylon’s rulers were sent to him to inquire about the miraculous sign that happened in the land, God left him to test him and discover what was in his heart.
As for the rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and his deeds of faithful love, note that they are written in the Visions of the Prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, and in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. Hezekiah rested with his ancestors and was buried on the ascent to the tombs of David’s descendants. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem paid him honor at his death. His son Manasseh became king in his place.
2 Chronicles Chapter 33
Judah’s King Manasseh
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had torn down and reestablished the altars for the Baals. He made Asherah poles, and he bowed in worship to all the stars in the sky and served them. He built altars in the Lord’s temple, where the Lord had said, “Jerusalem is where my name will remain forever.” He built altars to all the stars in the sky in both courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He passed his sons through the fire in Ben Hinnom Valley. He practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a huge amount of evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him.
Manasseh set up a carved image of the idol, which he had made, in God’s temple that God had spoken about to David and his son Solomon: “I will establish my name forever in this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. I will never again remove the feet of the Israelites from the land where I stationed your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do all I have commanded them through Moses — all the law, statutes, and judgments.” So Manasseh caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to stray so that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they didn’t listen. So he brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria. They captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. He prayed to him, and the Lord was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the Lord is God.
After this, he built the outer wall of the city of David from west of Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate; he brought it around Ophel, and he heightened it considerably. He also placed military commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.
He removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord’s temple, along with all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. He built the altar of the Lord and offered fellowship and thanksgiving sacrifices on it. Then he told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. However, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, along with his prayer to his God and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are written in the Events of Israel’s Kings. His prayer and how God was receptive to his prayer, and all his sin and unfaithfulness and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and carved images before he humbled himself, they are written in the Events of Hozai. Manasseh rested with his ancestors, and he was buried in his own house. His son Amon became king in his place.
Judah’s King Amon
Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon sacrificed to all the carved images that his father Manasseh had made, and he served them. But he did not humble himself before the Lord like his father Manasseh humbled himself; instead, Amon increased his guilt.
So his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. The common people killed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place.
2 Chronicles Chapter 34
Judah’s King Josiah
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left.
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images. Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and he chopped down the shrines that were above them. He shattered the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images, crushed them to dust, and scattered them over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars.
So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. He did the same in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and on their surrounding mountain shrines. He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the shrines throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah’s Repair of the Temple
In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the land and the temple, Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, along with Maaseiah the governor of the city and the court historian Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.
So they went to the high priest Hilkiah and gave him the silver brought into God’s temple. The Levites and the doorkeepers had collected it from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the entire remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They gave it to those doing the work — those who oversaw the Lord’s temple. They gave it to the workmen who were working in the Lord’s temple, to repair and restore the temple; they gave it to the carpenters and builders and also used it to buy quarried stone and timbers — for joining and making beams — for the buildings that Judah’s kings had destroyed.
The men were doing the work with integrity. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites from the Merarites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites as supervisors. The Levites were all skilled with musical instruments. They were also over the porters and were supervising all those doing the work task by task. Some of the Levites were secretaries, officers, and gatekeepers.
The Recovery of the Book of the Law
When they brought out the silver that had been deposited in the Lord’s temple, the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law of the Lord written by the hand of Moses. Consequently, Hilkiah told the court secretary Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the Lord’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan.
Shaphan took the book to the king, and also reported, “Your servants are doing all that was placed in their hands. They have emptied out the silver that was found in the Lord’s temple and have given it to the overseers and to those doing the work.” Then the court secretary Shaphan told the king, “The priest Hilkiah gave me a book,” and Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the court secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah, “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our ancestors have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.”
Huldah’s Prophecy of Judgment
So Hilkiah and those the king had designated went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this.
She said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah, because they have abandoned me and burned incense to other gods so as to anger me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’
“Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: ‘This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before me, and you tore your clothes and wept before me, I myself have heard’ — this is the Lord’s declaration. ‘I will indeed gather you to your ancestors, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place and on its inhabitants.’”
Then they reported to the king.
Affirmation of the Covenant by Josiah and the People
So the king sent messengers and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the Levites — all the people from the oldest to the youngest. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. Then the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep his commands, his decrees, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of the covenant written in this book.
He had all those present in Jerusalem and Benjamin agree to it. So all the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried out the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
Okay, I’ll just blurt out the question. How in the heck does a son like Manasseh come from a father like Hezekiah? I mean, Hezekiah was the closest thing we’ve seen to David as far as seeking the Lord goes. And Manasseh? Well, he was just plain evil. But, the highlight here is not really about either one of them, is it? The exclamation point here is what a merciful God we have. No matter how awful Manasseh was, when he sincerely humbled himself before God, God forgave him. That’s just astonishing to me. No matter what I’ve done, I can come to Jesus and with a repentant heart, confess it. And He’s offered the same assurance to all of us.
But there was a consequence to Manasseh’s evil reign. Here we begin the rapid advance toward captivity for the Israelites by the Chaldeans. Remember back in 2 Kings when Isaiah admonished Hezekiah for showing all the riches of the kingdom to those visitors from Babylon? Well, tomorrow we’ll see how they knew just where to go for the plunder when they invaded Jerusalem. Don’t forget to check in at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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