Who demolished idolatry, Manasseh or Josiah? 2 Chronicles 33:15 and 2 Chronicles 34:3-5


Manasseh destroyed idolatry (2 Chron. 33:15), so why did Josiah have to destroy it? (2 Chron. 34:3-5)


2 Chronicles 33:15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the LORD, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city.

2 Chronicles 34:3-5 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem.

Destroying idols and destroying idolatry in the heart are two different things. While a human king can and should destroy physical idols, he cannot wipe out the depravity in the human heart (Gen. 6:5; Isa. 1:6; Jer. 17:9; John 5:42; Rom 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:18; 2 Tim 3:2-4; Tit 1:15, etc.). Therefore, as time elapsed, Josiah had to repeat the same work that his predecessor Manasseh had done.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).