King Amon of Judah (pronounced Ahh-mone) reigned for only two years as king over the Jews (642 – 640 BC). Yet, during his twenty-four months of reign, Amon committed some of the worst atrocities in the history of Judah. He is most remembered for his idolatrous and criminal practices that led o a revolt by the people and his assassination in 640 BC.
It’s hard to believe Amon was more wicked than his father, King Manasseh, who had reigned over Judah for five decades (732 – 687 BC). Manasseh killed the prophet Isaiah in 686 BC, ordering Isaiah “sawed in half” shortly after Manasseh had ascended to the throne. In addition, Manasseh reversed all the godly reform policies of his father, King Josiah. According to II Chronicles 33:2, “Manasseh did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.
Yet King Amon was even more wicked than his father, Manasseh. The Talmud recounts, “Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse] … Amon sinned very much.”
There is a very interesting statement in II Chronicles 33:23 about King Amon: “Unlike his father Manasseh, Amon did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt.”
One of the most significant conversion testimonies in the Scripture is the conversion of Manasseh. Toward the end of Manasseh’s life, after murdering Isaiah the prophet, defrauding the people of Israel, and living an entirely wicked life, Manasseh repented. As is often the case in life, Manasseh’s repentance only came after circumstances that humbled the powerful and great king of Judah. God has a way of “bringing down the proud.” The Bible says in II Chronicles 33:12-13:
“In Mannesseh’s distress, he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD (YHWH) is God.”
But Amon, the son of Manasseh, makes a fatal mistake. Amon believes he can live wickedly all of his life, enjoying the pleasures of sin (including an incestuous relationship with his mother). However, toward the end of his life, though Amaon, “I can REPENT just like my father Manasseh, and find YHWH’S forgiveness!”
A midrashic fragment preserved in the Apostolical Constitutions, ii. 23 states, “He that sins from a mere spirit of opposition, to see whether God will punish the wicked, shall find no pardon, although he says in his heart, ‘I shall have peace in the end (by repenting), though I walk in the stubbornness of my evil heart’” (Deut. xxix. 19).
Amon presumed upon God’s grace.
“Amon reasoned an evil reasoning of transgression and said: ‘My father from his childhood was a great transgressor, and he repented in his old age. So will I now walk after the lust of my soul and afterward return to the Lord.’ And he committed more evil in the sight of the Lord than all that were before him; but the Lord God speedily cut him off from this good land. And his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house, and he reigned two years only.”
The above illustrates the teaching of Mishnah (Yoma, viii. 9):
The lesson from Amon’s assumption is clear.
The prideful presumption that one can live a sinful, wicked life, but at the end of life, REPENT, will wake up one day to realize his or her “time is cut short” and death knocks at the door before repentance occurs.
“Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of deliverance” (II Corinthians 6:2).