Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years. His mother's name was Hephzibah.
Manasseh did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He followed the practices of the nations. The LORD hated those practices. He had driven those nations out to make room for the people of Israel.
Manasseh rebuilt the high places. His father Hezekiah had destroyed them. Manasseh also set up altars to the god Baal. He made a pole that was used to worship the goddess Asherah. Ahab, the king of Israel, had done those same things. Manasseh even bowed down to all of the stars. And he worshiped them.
He built altars in the LORD's temple. The LORD had said about his temple, "I will put my Name there in Jerusalem."
In both courtyards of the LORD's temple Manasseh built altars to honor all of the stars.
He sacrificed his own son in the fire to another god. He practiced all kinds of evil magic. He got messages from those who had died. He talked to the spirits of the dead. He did many things that were evil in the sight of the Lord. He made him very angry.
Manasseh had carved a pole for worshiping Asherah. He put it in the temple. The LORD had spoken to David and his son Solomon about the temple. He had said, "My Name will be in this temple and in Jerusalem forever. Out of all of the cities in the tribes of Israel I have chosen Jerusalem.
I gave this land to your people who lived long ago. I will not make the Israelites wander away from it again. But they must be careful to do everything I commanded them. They must obey the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them."
But the people didn't pay any attention. Manasseh led them down the wrong path. They did more evil things than the nations the LORD had destroyed to make room for the people of Israel.
The LORD spoke through his servants the prophets. He said,
"Manasseh, the king of Judah, has committed terrible sins. I hate them. Manasseh has done more evil things than the Amorites who were in the land before him. And he has led Judah to commit sin by worshiping his statues of gods.
"I am the God of Israel. I tell you, 'I am going to bring trouble on Jerusalem and Judah. It will be so horrible that the ears of everyone who hears about it will ring.
I will measure out punishment against Jerusalem, just as I did against Samaria. I used a plumb line against the royal family of Ahab to prove that they did not measure up to my standards. I will use the same plumb line against Jerusalem. I will wipe out Jerusalem, just as someone wipes a dish. I will wipe it and turn it upside down.
I will desert those who remain among my people. I will hand them over to their enemies. All of their enemies will rob them.
" 'That is because my people have done what is evil in my sight. They have made me very angry. They have done that from the day their own people came out of Egypt until this very day.' "
Manasseh also spilled the blood of many people who weren't guilty of doing anything wrong. He spilled so much blood that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end of the city to the other. And he caused Judah to commit sin. So they also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
The other events of the rule of Manasseh are written down. Everything he did is written down. That includes the sin he committed. All of those things are written in the official records of the kings of Judah.
Manasseh joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in his palace garden. It was called the garden of Uzza. Manasseh's son Amon became the next king after him.