Manasseh’s son Amon takes the throne. His reign is short and anything but sweet. He followed in his father’s early footsteps.
Amon started his life under Manasseh’s era of idolatry and murder. He learned well the lessons his father taught him. During the last few years of Manasseh’s life he turned to the Lord. Amon was already set in his ways when this happened. He DID NOT turn his heart to the Lord. He may have followed his father’s commands of not sacrificing to idols when Manasseh was doing a reformation but it would only have been grudgingly. As soon as his father was in the ground Amon returned to the practices of his youth.
One thing I don’t see that Amon followed Manasseh in is sacrificing his son to the other gods. He may have but we don’t see it mentioned. He was 22 when he became king and 24 when he was assonated. His son Josiah was eight at that time so he was born when Amon was 16. That is pretty young to be having children, especially for a man in Judah. Did Manasseh protect Josiah from Amon and the fire? Josiah would have grown up when Manasseh was doing his kingdom reform. But that is a story for another day.
Today is supposed to be Amon’s day. The reform that happened in the kingdom of Judah went over well with at least the servants. When Amon returned to the old ways, and more, “his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his house” (verse 24). They liked the changes. The worship of the Lord, the cessation of murders, the cleansing of the Temple. All these were changes made is the last years of Manasseh’s life and the servants at least wanted to keep those changes.
The people of the land, whether they wanted to keep the ways of the reformed Manasseh or adopt the return of Amon’s idolatry, would not tolerate someone murdering their king. “The people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon” (verse 25a). There was a price to be paid for such an act, no matter how good or bad they thought the king was. Murder of the monarch would not go unpunished. Interesting though that murder in the name of sacrificing to a god was acceptable to those practicing such things.
When I first read out text it reminded me of a story my mother told me from when she was very young. She was learning the months of the year and would inevitably skip over the month of October. She was anxious to get to November because that was the month she was born. Try as she might, her mom couldn’t get her to remember October so she made a compromise. She instructed my mom to “knock it over” in place of October. This way there was a place holder for when she later learned the months correctly.
The idea that my mom would ‘knock over’ October in her mad rush to November reminds me of Amon’s reign. The spiritual change from Manasseh’s final years to Josiah’s reign make it feel like Amon was ‘knocked over’ in a mad rush to the most godly king Judah ever had. God didn’t give Amon time to undo all the good that came from Manasseh’s repentance. The people only had two years of wickedness before God fully held their attention through their new king. Amon had to be ‘knocked over’ on the way to Josiah to keep the people from straying too far.
This is NOT to say that God intended from the beginning to make Amon’s life short. God gave Amon time to prove his own heart. He was given visitations from the prophets. God reached out to Amon to try and bring him back in line. But Amon refused to listen. Finally God allowed him to be cut out of the equation. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). This is what it feels like God was doing to protect His people.
Father God, thank You for Your protection, whether it be from removal of the threat or staying safely under Your umbrella. You keep me from harm even when it is happening all around me. I KNOW You have as much power over the rulers of the earth now as You did at any other point in history. I know You could allow some to be ‘knocked over’ if You chose to. But this world is growing darker by the hour. This TOO is a part of Your plan. I will hold fast to You during this storm. I refuse to run in fear because I KNOW it has to get worse before Jesus returns. I’m holding onto Your hand and trusting You to lead the way. I’m waiting anxiously to meet my True godly King face to face.