20 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Please, Lord, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases you.”[a] And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Isaiah had not yet gone out of the inner courtyard when the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “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. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the grasp of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”
7 Then Isaiah said, “Bring a lump of pressed figs.” So they brought it and applied it to his infected skin, and he recovered.
8 Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the Lord’s temple on the third day?”
9 Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord that he will do what he has promised: Should the shadow go ahead ten steps or go back ten steps?”
10 Then Hezekiah answered, “It’s easy for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. No, let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11 So the prophet Isaiah called out to the Lord, and he brought the shadow[b] back the ten steps it had descended on the stairway of Ahaz.[c]
12 At that time Merodach-baladan[d] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick. 13 Hezekiah listened to the letters and showed the envoys his whole treasure house—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil—and his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.
14 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?”
Hezekiah replied, “They came from a distant country, from Babylon.”
15 Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?”
Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 ‘Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your predecessors have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs[e]in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,” for he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security during my lifetime?”
20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign, along with all his might and how he made the pool and the tunnel and brought water into the city, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors, and his son Manasseh became king in his place.
Judah’s King Manasseh
21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lordhad dispossessed before the Israelites. 3 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 bowed in worship to all the stars in the skyand served them. 4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, where the Lord had said, “Jerusalem is where I will put my name.”5 He built altars to all the stars in the sky in both courtyards of the Lord’s temple. 6 He sacrificed his son in the fire,[f]practiced witchcraft and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a huge amount of evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him.
7 Manasseh set up the carved image of Asherah, which he made, in the temple that the Lord had spoken about to David and his son Solomon: “I will establish my name forever in this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 8 I will never again cause the feet of the Israelites to wander from the land I gave to their ancestors if only they will be careful to do all I have commanded them—the whole law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen; Manasseh caused them to stray so that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
10 The Lord said through his servants the prophets, 11 “Since King Manasseh of Judah has committed all these detestable acts—worse evil than the Amorites who preceded him had done—and by means of his idols has also caused Judah to sin, 12 this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I am about to bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will shudder.[g] 13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line used on Samaria and the mason’s level used on the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean as one wipes a bowl—wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will abandon the remnant of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will become plunder and spoil to all their enemies, 15 because they have done what is evil in my sight and have angered me from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until today.’”
16 Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another. This was in addition to his sin that he caused Judah to commit, so that they did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.
17 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, along with all his accomplishments and the sin that he committed, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. 18 Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in the garden of his own house, the garden of Uzza. His son Amon became king in his place.
Judah’s King Amon
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. 20 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He walked in all the ways his father had walked; he served the idols his father had served, and he bowed in worship to them. 22 He abandoned the Lord God of his ancestors and did not walk in the ways of the Lord.
23 Amon’s servants conspired against him and put the king to death in his own house. 24 The common people[h] killed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place.
25 The rest of the events of Amon’s reign, along with his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. 26 He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah became king in his place.
Manasseh and Amon were evil individuals. They did what was evil in the eye’s of the Lord. Manasseh even sacrificed his own son. As we read stories like this of leaders who turned their backs on God, it is easy for us to pile on and think about how evil they were. If we are not careful, we will start to measure ourselves up to the standard of evil individuals we read about. We may say, “Well, I am not as evil as ….” That is a dangerous place for us to find ourselves because the only measuring stick we are to use when it comes to our holiness is Jesus. When any one of us looks to Jesus and measures ourselves up to his life, we see how evil we truly are. Remember, in spite of how evil we are, God loves us unconditionally and sent his son to die for us.
Hezekiah WAS in the perfect will of God, but when death was pronounced, he prayed and moved into the permissive will of God – a dangerous place. As a result of his prayer, Manasseh was born during his additional fifteen years resulting in 55 years of evil leadership. Always pray for God’s perfect will for your life.