Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years.
He did what was evil in the LORD's sight, imitating the detestable practices of the pagan nations whom the LORD had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the stars of heaven and worshiped them.
He even built pagan altars in the Temple of the LORD, the place where the LORD had said his name should be honored forever.
He put these altars for the stars of heaven in both courtyards of the LORD's Temple.
Manasseh even sacrificed his own sons in the fire a in the valley of the son of Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the LORD's sight, arousing his anger.
Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God's Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: "My name will be honored here forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem -- the city I have chosen from among all the other tribes of Israel.
If the Israelites will obey my commands -- all the instructions, laws, and regulations given through Moses -- I will not send them into exile from this land that I gave their ancestors."
But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations whom the LORD had destroyed when the Israelites entered the land.
The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings.
So the LORD sent the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.
But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the LORD his God and cried out humbly to the God of his ancestors.
And when he prayed, the LORD listened to him and was moved by his request for help. So the LORD let Manasseh return to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Manasseh had finally realized that the LORD alone is God!
It was after this that Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel, where it was built very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified cities of Judah.
Manasseh also removed the foreign gods from the hills and the idol from the LORD's Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city.
Then he restored the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the LORD, the God of Israel.
However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, but only to the LORD their God.
The rest of the events of Manasseh's reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel.
Manasseh's prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. b It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he repented.
When Manasseh died, he was buried at his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king.
Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years.
He did what was evil in the LORD's sight, just as his father Manasseh had done. He worshiped and sacrificed to all the idols his father had made.
But unlike his father, he did not humble himself before the LORD. Instead, Amon sinned even more.
At last Amon's own officials plotted against him and assassinated him in his palace.
But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)