Published on
October 3, 2023

2 Kings 21

"Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king and reigned 55 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did what was evil..."

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
2 Kings 21
“Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king and reigned 55 years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Hephzibah.  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 destroyed and reestablished the altars for Baal.  He made an Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done; he also worshiped the whole heavenly host and served them.”  2 Kings 21:1-3 (HCSB)

As we learned in 2 Kings, chapter 20, Manasseh was never God’s plan.  God planned to end Hezekiah’s life three years before Manasseh was born.  But when Isaiah informed Hezekiah of God’s plan, Hezekiah prayed that his life would be prolonged.  

“Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.  Isaiah had not yet gone out of the inner courtyard when the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears.  Look, I will heal you.  On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple. I will add 15 years to your life.  I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria.  I will defend this city for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.’”  2 Kings 20:2-6 (HCSB)

Notice how Hezekiah’s plea hinted at the idea that God owed Hezekiah something more than a life cut short, based on Hezekiah’s performance as a religious reformer and his wholehearted personal faithfulness.  We must never forget that we owe EVERYTHING to God, yet He owes us nothing.  It is not as if He has acquired some indebtedness to us per our personal spiritual merit.  We are nothing without Him!    

At the height of his reforms, Hezekiah led a campaign throughout his kingdom to tear down the “high places,” those places of pagan worship that the people of Israel had erected.  It seemed unfathomable to him that God would stop the progress.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (HCSB)

In the words of country singer Garth Brooks, sometimes God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.  In His wisdom, God had chosen to take Hezekiah from the land of the living.  And in His wisdom, God chose to answer Hezekiah’s prayer and leave him on the earth for fifteen more years.  It is not as though Hezekiah’s prayer rendered God powerless to say no.  And only God knows why He decided to respond to Hezekiah’s request, knowing full well what those fifteen years would mean to Judah’s long-term well-being.  But at the very least, we can draw this application as a stern reminder: Always entreat the Lord, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…” (Matthew 6:10)

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