This Week's Story

A son rebels against his father's faith and nearly destroys himself and his nation.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Stumbling to Babylon, part one

Wicked deeds were my signature until I was captured by Assyrian soldiers. They gave me their specialty for humiliating kings, since I was Manasseh, king of Judah. A ring was forced through my nose and a rope attached to it. A soldier jerked the rope as I stumbled along with chains on my hands and feet, and blood oozing from my nostrils.

I was among many prisoners. The Assyrians had defeated twenty-two kings and their armies in a mighty military campaign. We prisoners were on a death march to Babylon. We travelled days and weeks. I don’t know how many. Once there I was put into prison.

For the first time in my memory I wanted God’s help. Until now I had ignored Him, even though my father and teachers thought obeying Him should be my first priority. As I grew up I was tutored by Isaiah and Micah, famous prophets in my country. When they tried to teach me the laws of Moses, I closed my mind against their words.

To me, Father was a foolish radical. He tried to undo what he called my grandfather’s wrong decisions. Grandfather had ordered that the doors of the Lord’s temple be shut so that no one could worship

there. In every town in Judah he had altars placed for the worship of foreign gods.

When my father became king, he reopened the Temple. It was rededicated to God. Its festivals and offerings resumed. For the Passover festival thousands of people came to Jerusalem. The celebration was gigantic and joyful with beautiful music. I found the Passover events disturbing. People confessed their wrong-doing and asked for God’s forgiveness. Almost, I was convinced that I should follow the Lord God.

After the festival, thousands of altars to foreign gods were destroyed. Neither the people nor my father wanted anything in the country for worshipping the gods of other countries. I thought my father was too extreme.

He was smart in developing military preparedness. He was also wealthy and greatly respected, but too religious! When he died, I took charge of changing the country. I was more successful than my grandfather in leading my people to worship foreign gods. No prophet was allowed to teach that there is only one true God.

I set no limits to my exploration of the supernatural and what my father had abolished. I had foreign altars placed in the Temple. Some of my children I burned for sacrifice. I consulted with psychics. Prophets, who believed in one true God, came to me with what they called messages from God. I killed many of them and people who believed what they said.

One prophet told me, “Manasseh, king of Judah, you have committed detestable sins. You have done more evil than the Amorites who preceded you. You have led Judah into sin with your idols. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.’”  Such messages were disgusting to hear. I had one prophet, my old teacher Isaiah, placed in a log and sawed in two.

After the Assyrians defeated us and I was dragged in chains to Babylon, I cried to God for help. I tried to understand who I was and what I had done. I came to understand that I had ruined my nation and myself.

After a year in prison I was released and allowed to return to Judah as her king. I thanked God and encouraged my people to worship the Lord God. The people were confused. My fifty-five years as king of Judah are remembered as a tragedy. But, my grandson Josiah became a king to celebrate. He did not live with regret as I did.

This is Barbara Steiner with a Bible story that reminds me of consequences and God’s forgiveness.

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