Wicked reign of Manasseh. (1-9) The prophetic denunciations against Judah. (10-18) Wicked reign and death of Amon. (19-26)
Verses 1-9 Young persons generally desire to become their own masters, and to have early possession of riches and power. But this, for the most part, ruins their future comfort, and causes mischief to others. It is much happier when young persons are sheltered under the care of parents or guardians, till age gives experience and discretion. Though such young persons are less indulged, they will afterwards be thankful. Manasseh wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, as if on purpose to provoke him to anger; he did more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed. Manasseh went on from bad to worse, till carried captive to Babylon. The people were ready to comply with his wishes, to obtain his favour and because it suited their depraved inclinations. In the reformation of large bodies, numbers are mere time-servers, and in temptation fall away.
Verses 10-18 Here is the doom of Judah and Jerusalem. The words used represent the city emptied and utterly desolate, yet not destroyed thereby, but cleansed, and to be kept for the future dwelling of the Jews: forsaken, yet not finally, and only as to outward privileges, for individual believers were preserved in that visitation. The Lord will cast off any professing people who dishonour him by their crimes, but never will desert his cause on earth. In the book of Chronicles we read of Manasseh's repentance, and acceptance with God; thus we may learn not to despair of the recovery of the greatest sinners. But let none dare to persist in sin, presuming that they may repent and reform when they please. There are a few instances of the conversion of notorious sinners, that none may despair; and but few, that none may presume.
Verses 19-26 Amon profaned God's house with his idols; and God suffered his house to be polluted with his blood. How unrighteous soever they were that did it, God was righteous who suffered it to be done. Now was a happy change from one of the worst, to one of the best of the kings of Judah. Once more Judah was tried with a reformation. Whether the Lord bears long with presumptuous offenders, or speedily cuts them off in their sins, all must perish who persist in refusing to walk in his ways.
In this chapter a short history is given of the two wicked reigns of Manasseh and Amon; Manasseh is charged with great idolatry, with enchantments and witchcrafts, and seducing the children of Israel, 2Ki 21:1-9 and a prophecy is given out of the destruction of Jerusalem for his sins, 2Ki 21:10-16, and an account is given of his death and burial, 2Ki 21:17,18, and of his son and successor Amon, and the evils committed by him, 2Ki 21:19-22 and of the conspiracy against his life, which succeeded, and Josiah his son reigned in his stead, 2Ki 21:23-26.