2 Chr 33.1-20 tells us about the reign of Manasseh (to forget). We have already discussed his reign in Second Kings 21.1-18 so we aren’t going to go into massive detail again, but we will need to go over some things again. He was twelve years old when he became king which means he was born three years into Hezekiah’s additional fifteen years. He was an evil king at first but would later repent.
He set up the first Abomination of Desolation and he built altars in the Temple. He also made his sons pass through the fire in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom (Tophet), practiced witchcraft and used divination and sorcery. He made war on the tzadikim (saints) and he is a picture of the False Messiah in these things.
God spoke to Manasseh and the people through the prophets (2 Kings 21.10) but they did not listen, so Yehovah brought the Assyrian army against them and Manasseh was captured. A cord was put through his tongue and nose, and they dragged him off to Babylon, whom they defeated before invading Israel.
Once there, Manasseh sought Yehovah when he was in distress and he called Yehovah “his God” and he humbled himself, and this tells us his sin was pride, and Yehovah heard his prayer (33.12-13). He was brought back to Jerusalem and to his kingship and Manasseh knew that Yehovah was God. Manasseh was trained by a godly father and at the end he truly knew which way to go and he did not depart from it, and served God (Prov 22.6).
He didn’t care much for the defense of Judah and Jerusalem before his teshuvah, but after he repented he rebuilt the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon in the valley, to the Fish Gate, and encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. The Ophel is a fortified place in Jerusalem on the east side near the wall (2 Chr 27.3, 33.14) and occupied after rebuilding the city. It adjoined the Kidron Valley and the Temple Mount.
He also removed the foreign gods and “the idol” from the Temple (v 15), and all the altars be built on the Temple Mount were removed also. He set up the altar of Yehovah and sacrificed Korban Shelem (peace offerings) and Korban Todah (thank offerings) upon it. He also ordered Judah to serve the Lord. But the people still sacrificed on the bamot (high places) but only to Yehovah. This was not allowed, however, because they were to come to the altar in the Temple.
Manasseh was an evil king but at the end of his life he truly repented and served Yehovah. But his teshuvah was too late to change the nation. Years later, when Jerusalem fell, 2 Kings 24.3-4 blames Judah’s punishment on the sins of Manasseh (his unfaithfulness, the high places, the Asherim, carved images, etc). He died and they buried him in his own house. His reign will be a picture of the fourth year of the Birth-pains.
2 Chr 33.21-25 tells us about the short reign of Amon (faithful). He will also be a picture of the False Messiah. We know that his father Manasseh was a repentant sinner for the last 33 years of his life, so we know that he was born to a righteous father, but it says he did evil in the sight of Yehovah. He sacrificed to idols and he was full of pride.
He is assassinated by a group of servants, who in turn are killed by the people. Then they made Josiah king (Yehovah has healed). Amon’s assassination was seen as a sign of hope considering they had put up with some very evil kings. It seems they wanted to have a righteous king, and God gave one to them in Josiah. The reign of Amon is a picture of the fifth year of the Birth-pains.
2 Chr 34.1-33 begins to tell us the story of Josiah. He is one of only seven people in the Scriptures whose name is given before they were born (1 Kings 13.1-2 360 years before). The others were Isaac, Ishmael, Solomon, Cyrus, Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Immerser) and Yeshua. Josiah had a particular destiny (as we all do), and for more information of this, see our teaching called “The Sovereignty of God and the Elect” on this site.
Josiah was eight years old when he became king and he reigned thirty-one years. He did what was right in the sight of God and was a true carrier of the Davidic tradition. He is a picture of the righteous believers who find “the lost book of the Torah” and fights idolatry in the sixth year of the Birth-pains (Rev 7.9-17). When he was sixteen years old he began to seek Yehovah, and when he was twenty he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the bamot (illegal high places), the Asherim, the carved images and metal ones, and he tore down the altars of Baal “in his presence.” He chopped down the incense altars that were high above the altars of Baal. He also burned the bones of the priests of Baal on their altars This went as far as the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins. He is playing out the role that was predicted in 1 Kings 13.2. Then he returned to Jerusalem (23.6-7).
Idolatry was deeply rooted in Judah and there were idols dedicated to Baal and Asherah (2 Kings 23.4), and to all the stars, sun and moon (2 Kings 23.5) in the Temple (2 Kings 23.4). Josiah started there and worked his way outwards. He began to repair the Temple in the eighteenth year of his reign.
This purification in 2 Chr 34-35 came in two stages. He`purified the religious practices in the the north and south, and he continued the revival by finding the “the book of the Torah of the Lord given by Moses.” Now, hete is an important concept. Psa 119.154 says, “Revive me according to your word.” There are many false revivals that are not “according to your word (Torah).” We must judge any revival by the standard, “Is it according to the word of God (Torah)?” Josiah’s revival really picked up when they found the Torah next to the Ark in the Temple, and this is an example of a true revival because the people were brought back to Torah observance.
Assyria had already taken the ten northern tribes into exile, but there were pockets of people left behind that occupied those areas. They came under the control and authority of Josiah. Hilkiah (my portion is Yah) is the high priest and he is the father of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 1.1-2). Jeremiah (Yehovah will exalt) would begin his work under the reign of Josiah. Hilkiah finds the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) beside the Ark where it was supposed to be (Deut 31.24-27). This book was neglected during that time and notice they found the written Torah, not an “oral” Torah. When they heard the words of the book, Josiah tore his clothes because of all the curses written in it for idolatry and rebellion. He realizes there is so much that they have not been doing, so now he will really “pick up the ball and run with it.” Again it was the discovery of the written Torah, not the oral traditions of men, that initiated true revival.
Hezekiah and those with the king went and told Huldah (earthling, mole, life) the prophetess about this. She was a royal prophetess who ministered on the southern steps of the Temple. The southern gates of the Temple were later called the Huldah Gate (Mishnah, Midot 1.3). She is the wife of Tokhath (hope..called Tikvah in 2 Kings 22.14). The term “second quarter” in 34.22 might have the meaning “double gate.” Little is known of Huldah but she was a recognized prophetess because Hilkiah the high priest consulted her.
A prophet who was a contemporary of Huldah is Jeremiah, and he is not even mentioned. He commended Josiah in Jer 22.15-16, and the prophet Zephaniah was also working (Zeph 1.1). This teaches us that Yehovah used women mightily and he is no respecter of persons.
Josiah knew that Judah deserved judgment and it was coming. The leaders and the people had been in rebellion against Yehovah too long, and they have already seen what happened to the northern tribes. God’s word is clear regarding the blessings and the curses. He will be faithful to it in both areas. Josiah was sensitive to the Torah and the convicting work of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). He is also sensitive to the message of judgment from Huldah in 2 Chr 34.23-28.
He humbled himself before Yehovah, which is a voluntary humiliation of the inner man, so he was told that he would not see the judgment that was coming (v 28). Jeremiah had the same message about the Babylonians being raised up and were coming, and there was no way of avoiding it. Josiah is told that he will die before judgment comes, and he had a violent death in battle (2 Chr 35.20-24), but this did not violate God’s promise to him.
He reads the words of God to all the leaders of Judah and he stood “in his place” and made a covenant with the Lord (v 31). This place was a dais or pillar for the king to stand in the Temple (2 Kings 11.14; 2 Kings 23.3; 2 Chr 23.13). He committed to obeying the Torah with all his heart and soul. Yehovah looks at our desire to follow the Torah by faith, not on our ability to keep every point of it. But it wasn’t enough that the king did it, the people had to follow his example and make a commitment themselves to follow the Torah. This is another turning point in Jewish history. Joshua had renewed the covenant in Josh 24.1-28 in Shechem, and Samuel told of the procedure (a Mishpat, custom) regarding a king by Samuel (1 Sam 8.11-17, 10.25). Josiah removed all the “abominations” (idols) from the land and made all who were present in Israel to serve Yehovah. Throughout his life they did not turn from following Yehovah.
In the conclusion, we will pick up in 2 Chr 35.1-27.