2 Kings 21The Voice (VOICE)
21 Manasseh was 12 years old when he inherited the throne. His reign in Jerusalem lasted 55 years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 He committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes, like the abhorrent practices of those nations driven out by the Eternal before the Israelites settled in Canaan. 3 Manasseh reconstructed the high places his father, Hezekiah, had demolished. He constructed altars for Baal and crafted a sacred pole, just as Ahab the former king of Israel had done. He offered his praise to all the gods of the skies and was in service to them.
4 He constructed altars in the Eternal’s temple to foreign, pagan gods. This was the temple the Eternal had spoken of when He said, “My name will dwell in Jerusalem.” 5 He contaminated the temple by constructing altars for all the gods of the skies in both the courts in the Eternal’s temple.
6 He forced his son to go through the fire as a burnt offering, and he was trained in the dark arts of witchcraft and fortune-telling. He practiced them both. He consulted necromancers and clairvoyants. He committed many wicked acts in the Eternal’s eyes, which caused Him to boil in anger.
7 He placed a carved image of the goddess Asherah in the Eternal’s temple. It was the very temple that the Eternal had spoken of to David and to Solomon, saying, “My name will dwell in this temple in Jerusalem forever. I have handpicked it from all of Israel’s tribes. 8 If the Israelites will honor the commands and laws I have given them through Moses, then I will no longer force them to be apart from the land I promised to their ancestors. They will live peacefully within the promised land.”
9 But the Israelites kept their ears and hearts closed to the message of the Lord; and Manasseh caused them to live even more sinful lives than the wicked nations, whom the Eternal annihilated before them, had committed. 10 The Eternal One delivered His message through His servants, the prophets.
Prophets: 11 Manasseh, Judah’s king, has committed even worse atrocities than the Amorites had committed before his time, and he also inspired wickedness throughout Judah because of his idols; 12 therefore, this is the message of the Eternal One, Israel’s God: “Observe! I am going to infect Jerusalem and Judah with disaster. The ears of anyone who hears the sounds of this catastrophe will tingle! 13 I will judge the uprightness of Jerusalem by the same plumb line that I used in Samaria and by the same level I used for Ahab’s house. I will clean Jerusalem in the same manner that one cleans a dirty dish. I will wipe off the grime and flip the dish over and wipe off the underside of it as well. 14 I am going to relinquish what is left of My inheritance to the possession of their adversaries. They will be like stolen goods and booty for all their adversaries. 15 This will take place because of all the wickedness they have committed before Me and because of the anger they have caused to boil within Me since the day their ancestors were delivered by Me from Egypt until this very day.”
16 Manasseh killed countless innocent people and filled Jerusalem with their blood. And this is in addition to causing Judah to live sinful lives and committing evil in the Eternal’s eyes.
According to tradition, one of those innocent people is the prophet Isaiah. Manasseh and Isaiah have a tumultuous relation ship from the start, when Hezekiah invited Isaiah to the court to meet his sons. Isaiah prophesied then that Manasseh would be evil. After Manasseh becomes king, Isaiah tells him the temple will be destroyed. Infuriated, the king orders Isaiah’s arrest. Isaiah flees into the hills where he hides inside a cedar tree. But Manasseh’s men find him—when they are cutting the tree in half. This legend is attested to by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews (11:37–38).
17 Is not the rest of Manasseh’s story—his wickedness and sin—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? 18 Manasseh left this world to sleep with his fathers and was laid to rest in his own garden, the garden of Uzza. His son, Amon, then inherited the throne.
19 Amon was 22 years old when he became king. His reign in Jerusalem lasted two years. His mother was Meshullemeth (daughter of Haruz from Jotbah). 20 He committed much wickedness in the Eternal’s eyes just as his father, Manasseh, did. 21 He walked the wicked path of his father, and he served and worshiped the same gods his father had served. 22 Amon was corrupt and abandoned the Eternal One, the God of his ancestors. He did not walk on the Eternal’s path.
23 Amon’s servants plotted behind his back and murdered him in his own house. 24 Then the people of the land slaughtered those who had plotted in secret against King Amon, and they gave the throne to Amon’s son, Josiah.
25 Is not the rest of Amon’s story—his actions and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? 26 Amon was laid to rest in the garden of Uzza with his father. His son, Josiah, then inherited the throne.
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