Study Notes

2Kings 21:1-26


As you recall, Hezekiah had become the king of Judah. He was a godly man who had a heart for the Lord. But when he became terminally ill, he pleaded with the Lord to lengthen his life. God heard his prayer and promised to heal Hezekiah. The Lord said that Hezekiah would have fifteen years added to his life.

Now, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. You see, the Lord had already spoken. Isaiah said,

2Kgs. 20:1 ..."Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live."

God had spoken, but instead of setting his house in order, he wept and pleaded with the Lord to spare his life. Now, I don't know that this was necessarily wrong, since we can always appeal to the Lord's mercy, and He did in fact answer Hezekiah's prayer.

And yet, I have to wonder if this was really God's perfect will for Hezekiah. The reason I ponder this is, if he had died that day, Hezekiah's story would have ended there. But because his life was extended by fifteen years, he had time to show the messengers from the king of Babylon around. You should recall that Hezekiah was puffed up with pride while showing off everything he had. Isaiah later told him that because of this, they would be prompted to attack Judah.

Another bad result of Hezekiah's life extension was that three years after he was healed, Hezekiah bore a son named Manasseh. Chapter 21 opens up to show us just how badly he turned out.

21:1 Manasseh Becomes King

Hezekiah and Khef-TSEE-baw had a son whom they named Manasseh. He was just twelve years old when Hezekiah died, and he became king in his place.

21:2-9 Manasseh's Sins

Although Hezekiah had been a godly man, it is evident that Manasseh did not follow in his footsteps. He was completely sold out to wicked religious practices. They are listed at length in these verses.

High Places

Manasseh built up the high places again. These were the places on top of the hills that people would go to worship, burn incense, and practice their rituals. They had been torn down during the days of his father Hezekiah, but now, just a generation later, they are back up again.

Altars To Baal

Manasseh built altars to BAH-al, the supreme god of the Canaanites.


Asherah was a goddess of fertility. The representations of her were obscene, and the worship practices involved sexual immorality. The variations of her name go from Asherah to Astarte to Ishtar, leading up to the modern name of Easter.

Manasseh actually set up one of these profanely sexual statues in the temple of God! This was the place that God had put His Name, yet it had been replaced by a false deity.

Worshiped The Host Of Heaven

Manasseh also worshiped the host of heaven. This is the modern-day practice of astrology. This originated back in Babylon, when Nimrod directed the people to build a tower unto heaven. Today, according to one source, "There are 10,000 practicing paid Astrologers and millions of horoscope followers. There are hundreds of books on the topic. Only 10% of Americans believe there can't be anything to it."

It is unbelievable to me that so many people believe that the position of the stars on the day they were born has influence over their daily lives. They dutifully read their horoscopes and make decisions based on them. Yet they refuse to acknowledge that the stars and planets have less physical influence than a plane passing overhead. They refuse to acknowledge that if astrology were true, identical twins would have exactly the same personalities and life patterns. They refuse to acknowledge that the statistics of astrological accuracy are abysmally low.

Since it is completely unscientific, it is a religion of faith - a false religion. God hates astrology, for it presumes to take control of the universe out of the Creator's hands and gives it to the creation. Through Isaiah, the Lord sarcastically said to those who followed the stars,

Isa. 47:13 "...Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame..."

Through The Fire

We discussed the horrible practice of offering children in sacrifice to Molech back in chapter 16.


Witchcraft is another false religion that has millions of followers. It has not changed radically in the last couple thousand years.

But today, it is being marketed to people with deceptive attraction. Teens who feel powerless in their lives are promised power. Young adults that care about the environment are attracted with the emphasis as a religion of nature. Men are attracted to the sexual aspects, while women are brought in with the strong feminism witchcraft carries.

Probably the most deceptive draw is for kids who are promised fun. The practice of the Halloween celebration, and fiction like the hugely popular Harry Potter series of books lure children in. But this is not harmless fun. God has forbidden even the casual practice of witchcraft. He commanded,

Deut. 18:10-12 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD..."


Divination is the practice of tapping into the spiritual realm to get a look into the future. Mediums and spiritists accomplished this through the use of drug-induced hallucinations and visions, seances, and dreams, or by allowing themselves to become demon-possessed, that the spirits would speak through them.

In the last decade, the psychic industry has skyrocketed as people desperately search to find meaning on their lives and secure hope for the future. But the Lord has said,

Lev. 19:31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 20:6 ‘As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

Lev. 20:27 ‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.'"


Everything that Hezekiah had done to bring about reform and revival in Israel was undone. The nation once again turned from righteousness towards wickedness. They failed to remember the lessons that Manasseh's father had taught them. It is quite interesting to me that Manasseh's name literally means "forgetting."

Jesus instructed the church of Ephesus,

Rev. 2:5 ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place —unless you repent.

How easy it is for us to forget the days of righteousness when we begin to slide back into sin.

21:10-15 The Prophets' Condemnation

God was not favorably disposed to such behavior. He sent the prophets to make the proclamation that He was going to judge them in the same way He'd judged others for their sin.

The Assyrian attack against Samaria, in which the Israelites were carted away into captivity, would be repeated with Judah. And the judgment for sin against King Ahab's house would be directed against the house of Judah for their sin.

But the king didn't listen to the prophets. He was so involved with his sin that he paid no attention. I can relate to the frustration that the prophets must have felt. So often, the Lord desires to bring the message of the gospel to someone, but they are too busy with sinful pleasure to pay attention. They are too steeped in immorality to heed the Word of God.

Hebr. 3:7-8 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS..."

21:16 Innocent Blood

Not only did King Manasseh refuse to hear God's voice, but he retaliated against it. The historian Josephus tells us that the innocent blood which was shed belonged to the prophets and those who heeded the prophets' message. He writes,

...he barbarously slew all the righteous men that were among the Hebrews; nor would he spare the prophets, for he every day slew some of them, till Jerusalem was overflown with blood. (Josephus, Antiquities, 3.1)

God hates sin, but the death of innocents is among the highest on His list. The Proverbs say,

Prov. 6:16-19 There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness {who} utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.

It is interesting to me that God dealt with sin by the shedding of innocent blood. By allowing His Son to be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the path to the cross was assured.

Matt. 27:3-5 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See {to that} yourself!" And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

Judas committed sin by betraying innocent blood, but God used his sin to pay the price of sin.

21:17-18 Manasseh Dies

Manasseh died after having been king for 55 years. It doesn't sound like there was anything positive about his reign. However, 2Chronicles tells us something that the writer of Kings doesn't:

2Chr. 33:9-19 Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel. And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze {chains,} and took him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD {was} God. Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Ghee-KHONE, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the O-fel {with it} and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah. He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw {them} outside the city. And he set up the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it; and he ordered Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. Nevertheless the people still sacrificed in the high places, {although} only to the LORD their God. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh even his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel. His prayer also and {how God} was entreated by him, and all his sin, his unfaithfulness, and the sites on which he built high places and erected the Asherim and the carved images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the records of the Kho-ZEH.

Isn't that great? There's nothing like a man hitting rock bottom to make him look up. When Manasseh did die, his heart was right with the Lord. He was buried in the garden of Ooz-ZAW, and his son Aw-MONE became king in his place.

21:19-22 Amon's Sin

Manasseh and his wife Mesh-ool-LEH-meth (the daughter of Khaw-ROOTS of Yot-BAW) had a son named Aw-MONE who became the king. But he was also wicked and forsook the Lord.

21:22-26 Amon Is Killed

Aw-MONE was assassinated, but one good thing came out of his life - he had a son named Josiah. Next week, we will see the revival that Josiah brought to the land of Judah.

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