Manasseh King of Judah
1Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years. 2 Manasseh did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. He followed the practices of the nations. The Lord hated those practices. The Lord had driven out those nations to make room for the Israelites. 3 Manasseh rebuilt the high places. His father Hezekiah had destroyed them. Manasseh also set up altars to the gods that were named Baal. He made poles used to worship the female god named Asherah. He even bowed down to all the stars and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple. The Lord had said about his temple, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple Manasseh built altars to honor all the stars in the sky. 6 He sacrificed his children in the fire to other gods. He did it in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. He practiced all kinds of evil magic. He took part in worshiping evil powers. He got messages from people who had died. He talked to the spirits of people who have died. He did many things that were evil in the eyes of the Lord. Manasseh made the Lord very angry.
7 Manasseh had carved a statue of a god. He put it in God’s temple. God 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 the cities in the tribes of Israel I have chosen Jerusalem. 8 I gave this land to your people who lived long ago. I will not make the Israelites leave it again. But they must be careful to do everything I commanded them. They must follow all the laws, directions, and rules I gave them through Moses.” 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray. They did more evil things than the nations the Lord had destroyed to make room for the Israelites.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people. But they didn’t pay any attention to him. 11 So the Lord brought the army commanders of the king of Assyria against them. They took Manasseh as a prisoner. They put a hook in his nose. They put him in bronze chains. And they took him to Babylon. 12 When Manasseh was in trouble, he asked the Lord his God to help him. He made himself very humble in the sight of the God of his people. 13 Manasseh prayed to him. When he did, the Lord felt sorry for him. He answered his prayer. The Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
14 After that, Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David. It was west of the Gihon spring in the valley. It reached all the way to the entrance of the Fish Gate. It went around the entire hill of Ophel. Manasseh also made the wall much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the cities in Judah that had high walls around them.
15 Manasseh got rid of the false gods. He removed the statue of one of those gods from the Lord’s temple. He also removed all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem. He threw them out of the city. 16 Then he made the Lord’s altar look like new again. He sacrificed friendship offerings and thank offerings on it. He told the people of Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places. But they offered them only to the Lord their God.
18 The other events of Manasseh’s rule are written down in the official records of the kings of Judah. These records include his prayer to his God. They also include the words the prophets spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 19 Everything about Manasseh is written in the records of the prophets. That includes his prayer and the fact that God felt sorry for him. It includes everything he did before he made himself humble in the Lord’s sight. It includes all his sins and the fact that he wasn’t faithful to the Lord. It includes the locations where he built high places. It includes the places where he set up poles used to worship the female god named Asherah. And it includes the places where he set up statues of other gods. 20 Manasseh joined the members of his family who had already died. He was buried in his palace. Manasseh’s son Amon became the next king after him.
Amon King of Judah
21 Amon was 22 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22 Amon did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the statues of gods that Manasseh had made. 23 He didn’t make himself humble in the Lord’s sight as his father Manasseh had done. So Amon became even more guilty.
24 Amon’s officials made plans against him. They murdered him in his palace. 25 Then the people of the land killed all those who had made plans against King Amon. They made his son Josiah king in his place.