Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in Judah’s history. Some of the highlights of his reign, according to 2 Chronicles 33:
- Rebuilt the pagan altars his father had torn down.
- Built new altars to the false gods Baal and Asherah, and “the host of heaven.”
- Profaned the Temple by erecting pagan altars there.
- Killed his sons by sacrificing them as a burnt offering.
The Chronicler sums up his regime in 33:9:
Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. After Manasseh and the people ignored the warnings of the prophets, God allowed the Assyrian army to capture the king and take him to Babylon. Picking up in 2 Chron 33:12:
And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.
When he returned to Jerusalem, Manasseh set about undoing all the evils he had instituted. He removed the pagan altars from the Temple, and reinstituted proper worship. He commanded the people to once again serve the true God. The epitaph for his reign emphasizes his change of heart.
And his prayer, and how God was moved by his entreaty, and all his sin and his faithlessness, and the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the Chronicles of the Seers. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his house, and Amon his son reigned in his place. (2 Chron 33:18-20)
If God can change the heart of a king who instituted the worst kind of idolatry, a king who sacrificed his own children to a false god, then he can change the heart of a President who sees the killing of unborn children as a basic human right. “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov 21:1).