New Defender's Study Bible Notes
21:1 twelve years old. Manasseh was evidently born three years after Hezekiah’s supernatural healing and God’s promise of a fifteen-year extension of his life (II Kings 20:6). Without this miracle, the Davidic line of kings in Israel would have been stopped, and God’s promise to David (II Samuel 7:12-16) would have failed. But God’s promises are sure, even if miracles are necessary to keep them!
21:6 wizards. Manasseh, despite his godly father, soon took up the abominable practices of his grandfather Ahaz and the kings of Israel (II Kings 16:3; 17:17). His father died when he was only twelve years old (II Kings 21:1) and evidently had devoted little time to Manasseh’s religious instruction. Nothing is known about his mother except her name, which means “My delight is in her,” a name perhaps indicating over-indulgent parents.”
21:6 much wickedness. Manasseh shed much “innocent blood” (II Kings 21:16) and, according to Jewish tradition, this may even have included the prophet Isaiah, who was supposed to have been “sawn asunder” (Hebrews 11:37).
21:7 a graven image. Manasseh seems to have committed every sin he could think of to deface the memory of his father and his father’s God, even to the extent of erecting a great idol and altars for the worship of false gods in the very temple of God. Yet he surely knew of the mighty miracles wrought by God on behalf of Judah because of his father, so it is amazing that he could be so presumptuous as to defy God and shame his godly heritage. God was longsuffering with Manasseh for many years, possibly because of his father, but His judgment finally must come.
21:11 that the Amorites did. Manasseh’s catalog of evil deeds exceeded that of the Amorites and all the other Canaanite tribes. God had no recourse left except to expel His own people from the promised land as well (II Kings 21:12-14).
21:13 the plummet. The plummet is a surveyor’s weighted line suspended from the top of a wall or column to tell whether it is standing straight; if not, it will be torn down and rebuilt. The line is the surveyor’s tape used to measure the dimensions of the structure. Jerusalem and its king had failed by every standard, and God would have to remove it from its place and start again later.
21:17 acts of Manasseh. The supplementary account of Manasseh’s life in II Chronicles 33:11-18 informs us that, while Manasseh was in captivity in Babylon, he turned back to God and was later able to lead Judah into a brief period of revival. When his son Amon became king, he quickly undid most of his father’s reforms.