APRIL 26 Chapter 21 records the reign of Manasseh. Historians have calculated that Manasseh ruled jointly with godly Hezekiah for at least ten years. How strange that godly Hezekiah should reign but 29 years, while ungodly Manasseh reigned 55 years. But God was giving His people just what they wanted and deserved. No sooner was Hezekiah off the scene than Manasseh's true character was revealed. He built up what Hezekiah tore down and tore down what Hezekiah had built up. Manasseh even carried his idolatry right into the courts of the Temple. He rebelled against his godly father's example and against the law of the Lord. Verses 10-15 record the removal of Manasseh. He was captured by the Assyrian captains and taken to Babylon. He later repented of his sins and when he was restored to the throne he immediately began to repair the damage he had done. He fortified Jerusalem against the enemy; he removed the idols and the strange altars; and he sought to lead the nation back to the Lord. Following the death of Manasseh, his son Amon reigned as king for two years. He was also a wicked king, and was slain in a conspiracy and buried near his father. The assassination of Amon brought Josiah to the throne at the young age of eight years. Because of godly influence in his early life, Josiah began to seek the Lord at age 16. Then, at age twenty, he began to purify the city and the land of the idolatry of Manasseh and Amon. Josiah's ultimate goal was to restore the Temple and bring the nation back to the Lord, but he knew that he would have to destroy the old sins before he could establish new obedience. During Josiah's day there was peace and blessing, but God did not withdraw His original promise of judgment because of the sins of Manasseh. Josiah, the king who attempted to restore the nation of Israel back to God, was assassinated and will best be remembered as a king who wanted his people to know that they had been "bought with a price."