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33 Manasseh was only twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But it was an evil reign, for he encouraged his people to worship the idols of the heathen nations destroyed by the Lord when the people of Israel entered the land. He rebuilt the heathen altars his father Hezekiah had destroyed—the altars of Baal, and of the shameful images, and of the sun, moon, and stars. 4-5 He even constructed heathen altars in both courts of the Temple of the Lord for worshiping the sun, moon, and stars—in the very place where the Lord had said that he would be honored forever. And Manasseh sacrificed his own children as burnt offerings in the valley of Hinnom. He consulted spirit-mediums, too, and fortune-tellers and sorcerers, and encouraged every sort of evil, making the Lord very angry.

Think of it! He placed an idol in the very Temple of God, where God had told David and his son Solomon, “I will be honored here in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen to be honored forever above all the other cities of Israel. And if you will only obey my commands—all the laws and instructions given to you by Moses—I won’t ever again exile Israel from this land which I gave your ancestors.”

But Manasseh encouraged the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the nations the Lord destroyed when Israel entered the land. 10 Warnings from the Lord were ignored by both Manasseh and his people. 11 So God sent the Assyrian armies, and they seized him with hooks and bound him with bronze chains and carted him away to Babylon. 12 Then at last he came to his senses and cried out humbly to God for help. 13 And the Lord listened and answered his plea by returning him to Jerusalem and to his kingdom! At that point Manasseh finally realized that the Lord was really God!

14 It was after this that he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David and the wall from west of the spring of Gihon in the Kidron Valley, and then to the Fish Gate, and around Citadel Hill, where it was built very high. And he stationed his army generals in all of the fortified cities of Judah. 15 He also removed the foreign gods from the hills and took his idol from the Temple, and tore down the altars he had built on the mountain, where the Temple stood, and the altars that were in Jerusalem, and dumped them outside the city. 16 Then he rebuilt the altar of the Lord and offered sacrifices upon it—peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings—and demanded that the people of Judah worship the Lord God of Israel. 17 However, the people still sacrificed upon the altars on the hills, but only to the Lord their God.

18 The rest of Manasseh’s deeds, and his prayer to God, and God’s reply through the prophets—this is all written in The Annals of the Kings of Israel. 19 His prayer, and the way God answered, and a frank account of his sins and errors, including a list of the locations where he built idols on the hills and set up shameful and graven images (this of course was before the great change in his attitude), are recorded in The Annals of the Prophets.

20-21 When Manasseh died, he was buried beneath his own palace, and his son Amon became the new king. Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem, but he lasted for only two years. 22 It was an evil reign like the early years of his father Manasseh; for Amon sacrificed to all the idols just as his father had. 23 But he didn’t change as his father did; instead he sinned more and more. 24 At last his own officers assassinated him in his palace. 25 But some public-spirited citizens killed all of those who assassinated him and declared his son Josiah to be the new king.

Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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