After a disastrous 57 years (the reigns of Menashe and his son Amon), during which idolatry was rampant in Judah and Judaism was threatened with extinction, the good king Yoshiyahu comes on the scene and engineers a broad revival of the faith. But the prophetess Huldah tells him:
Thus said the Lord God of Israel… “Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon its inhabitants ... Because they have forsaken me and have burned incense to other gods, … my anger is kindled against this place…”
And they brought back the reply to the king. And the king… gathered… all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem and… went up to the house of the Lord… and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. And [they]… made a covenant…to keep [God’s] commandments… with all their heart and all their soul… [2 Kings 22:11~17, 23:1-3]
The people clearly repent and resolve to reform under Yoshiyahu's leadership. But God says He will bring disaster on their heads anyway. Why? If God did not punish them during Menashe's reign, it must have been to give them opportunities to repent. And they did. So why did God resolve to punish them anyway? Isn't repentance what God really wants?