Manasseh, King of Judah
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah. He was king for 55 years in Jerusalem. Manasseh did what the LORD said was wrong. He followed the terrible and sinful ways of the nations that the LORD had forced out of the land before the Israelites. Manasseh rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down. Manasseh built altars for the Baal gods and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to the constellations* and worshiped those groups of stars. Manasseh built altars for false gods in the LORD’S Temple. The LORD said about the Temple, “My name will be in Jerusalem forever.” He built altars for all the groups of stars in the two yards of the LORD’S Temple. He also burned his own children for a sacrifice in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. He also used magic by doing soothsaying, divination, and sorcery. He talked with mediums and wizards. He did many things that the LORD said were evil and made him angry. Manasseh also made a statue of an idol and put it in God’s Templethe very same Temple that God had talked about to David and his son Solomon. God had said, “I will put my name in this house and in Jerusalemthe city that I chose from all the cities in all the tribesand my name will be there forever! I will not continue to keep the Israelites off the land that I chose to give to their ancestors. But they must obey everything I commanded them. The Israelites must obey all the laws, rules, and commands that I gave Moses to give to them.”
Manasseh encouraged the people of Judah and the people living in Jerusalem to do wrong. They were worse than the nations that were in the land before the Israelitesand the LORD destroyed those people.
10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they refused to listen. 11 So the LORD brought commanders from the king of Assyria’s army to attack Judah. These commanders captured Manasseh and made him their prisoner. They put hooks in him and brass chains on his hands and took him to the country of Babylon.
12 When these troubles came to him, Manasseh begged for help from the LORD his God. He humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 Manasseh prayed to God and begged him for help. God heard his begging and felt sorry for him, so he let Manasseh return to Jerusalem and to his throne. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was the true God.
14 After that happened, Manasseh built an outer wall for the City of David. This wall went to the west of Gihon Spring in Kidron Valley, to the entrance of the Fish Gate, and around the hill of Ophel.§ He made the wall very tall. Then he put officers in all the fortresses in Judah. 15 Manasseh took away the strange idol gods, and he took the idol out of the LORD’S Temple. He took away all the altars he had built on the Temple hill, and in Jerusalem. Manasseh threw all the altars out of the city of Jerusalem. 16 Then he set up the LORD’S altar and offered fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it. He gave a command for all the people of Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel. 17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places, but their sacrifices were only to the LORD their God.
18 Everything else Manasseh did, his prayer to his God and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, are all written in the book, The Official Records of the Kings of Israel. 19 Manasseh’s prayer and how God listened and felt sorry for him are written in The Book of the Seers. Also all his sins, the wrongs he did before he humbled himself, and the places where he built high places and set up the Asherah poles are written in The Book of the Seers. 20 So Manasseh died and was buried with his ancestors. The people buried Manasseh in his own palace. Manasseh’s son Amon became the new king in his place.
Amon, King of Judah
21 Amon was 22 years old when he became king of Judah. He was king for two years in Jerusalem. 22 Amon did evil before the LORD, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon offered sacrifices for all the carved idols and statues that Manasseh his father made. Amon worshiped those idols. 23 Amon did not humble himself in front of the LORD like Manasseh his father humbled himself. But Amon sinned more and more. 24 His servants made plans against him. They killed Amon in his own house. 25 But the people of Judah killed all the servants who planned against King Amon. Then the people chose Amon’s son Josiah to be the new king.
* 33:3 constellations Groups of stars. These are probably the twelve “signs of the Zodiac.” Some people thought the stars, not God, controlled their life. 33:6 Valley of Ben Hinnom Later, called “Gehenna.” This valley was west and south of Jerusalem. Many babies and young children were sacrificed to false gods in this valley. 33:6 soothsaying, divination, and sorcery Different ways people try to do magic or tell what will happen in the future. § 33:14 Ophel The upper part of the City of David, just south of the Temple area.