Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, rejected the good example of his father. He did much evil over his extraordinarily long reign of fifty-five years. The Chronicler recorded a fitting summary of the king’s sad record of wickedness: “Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.”
Yet the great surprise in the story of Manasseh is that this pitiful king repented. It took severe discipline from the Lord, but when Manasseh was brought in chains to Babylon, he cried out to the Lord and he was heard. God brought him back to Jerusalem as king.
This evil Manasseh was a changed man. The Chronicler tells us that after God heard his desperate petition, “Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” He was able to build a high wall for the defense of Jerusalem, and he removed the foreign gods from the city and from the Lord’s temple. He restored the altar of the Lord and commanded that the people serve the Lord. Though he was not entirely successful in his efforts to lead the people in the right direction, we need to acknowledge that the king’s turnaround was very dramatic.
After Manasseh’s death, his son Amon reigned for two years. He also was an evil and idolatrous king, but he never repented of his wicked ways. After Manasseh and Amon, Judah would be given the gift of one of her greatest kings, Amon’s son, Josiah. But after Josiah, there would be no other good king in the line of David until the coming of the Messiah.
Manasseh and Amon were both very evil kings. One repented and the other did not. All of the kings in the line of David were sinners until the coming of the Lord. They all needed to repent, but Jesus had no need to acknowledge His own sin. He had no sin. Nonetheless, the sinless Son of David learned obedience through suffering. His obedience has now been credited to all those throughout the world who call upon His Name.
Even very wicked people can find forgiveness through the Name of Jesus. But they do need to repent of their sins and believe in Him.