5.91 2 Kings -- Manasseh
Judah’s history at this time was a like a rollercoaster: from the highpoint of a good king like Hezekiah, we fall into the pit of his son, Manasseh, the worst king of the entire Judahite line and the longest-reigning. He committed all the sins familiar to the kings of Israel, including offering his son as a sacrifice (2 Kings 21:6). But beyond this, he even set up an image of Asherah in the Temple itself (2 Kings 21:7). It is unfortunate that a man this degenerate was allowed to live so long, because not all of his sins were “religious” in nature. While Ahab had allowed his wife to murder God’s prophets and Naboth,
Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end (2 Kings 21:16).
Furthermore, his sins provoked the anger of God against the entire populace:
"I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab…. I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their foes" (2 Kings 21:12-14).
Once again we see the critical importance of leadership in the rise and fall of God's people. The sins of the leader exposed the entire nation to the assaults of their enemies, and to the judgment of God. Particularly when an evil leader is entrenched for a generation or more, he stamps the country with his image and practices.
Manasseh was followed, briefly, by his son Amon, who was of like nature to his father. Fortunately he was assassinated by his own servants, and his young son, Josiah, ruled.