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21 1-2 New king of Judah: Manasseh

His age at the beginning of his reign: 12 years old

Length of reign: 55 years, in Jerusalem

Mother’s name: Hephzibah

Character of his reign: evil; he did the same things the nations had done that were thrown out of the land to make room for the people of Israel

3-5 He rebuilt the hilltop shrines that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He built altars for Baal and made a shameful Asherah idol, just as Ahab the king of Israel had done. Heathen altars to the sun god, moon god, and the gods of the stars were placed even in the Temple of the Lord—in the very city and building that the Lord had selected to honor his own name. And he sacrificed one of his sons as a burnt offering on a heathen altar. He practiced black magic and used fortune-telling, and patronized mediums and wizards. So the Lord was very angry, for Manasseh was an evil man, in God’s sight. Manasseh even set up a shameful Asherah idol in the Temple—the very place that the Lord had spoken to David and Solomon about when he said, “I will place my name forever in this Temple, and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the cities of the tribes of Israel. If the people of Israel will only follow the instructions I gave them through Moses, I will never again expel them from this land of their fathers.”

But the people did not listen to the Lord, and Manasseh enticed them to do even more evil than the surrounding nations had done, even though Jehovah had destroyed those nations for their evil ways when the people of Israel entered the land.

10 Then the Lord declared through the prophets, 11 “Because King Manasseh has done these evil things and is even more wicked than the Amorites who were in this land long ago, and because he has led the people of Judah into idolatry: 12 I will bring such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13 I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, and as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish and turns it upside down to dry. 14 Then I will reject even those few of my people who are left, and I will hand them over to their enemies. 15 For they have done great evil and have angered me ever since I brought their ancestors from Egypt.”

16 In addition to the idolatry which God hated and into which Manasseh led the people of Judah, he murdered great numbers of innocent people. And Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with the bodies of his victims.

17 The rest of the history of Manasseh’s sinful reign is recorded in The Annals of the Kings of Judah. 18 When he died he was buried in the garden of his palace at Uzza, and his son Amon became the new king.

19-20 New king of Judah: Amon

His age at the beginning of his reign: 22 years old

Length of reign: 2 years, in Jerusalem

Mother’s name: Meshullemeth (daughter of Haruz, of Jotbah)

Character of his reign: evil

21 He did all the evil things his father had done: he worshiped the same idols 22 and turned his back on the Lord God of his ancestors. He refused to listen to God’s instructions. 23 But his aides conspired against him and killed him in the palace. 24 Then a posse of civilians killed all the assassins and placed Amon’s son Josiah upon the throne. 25 The rest of Amon’s biography is recorded in The Annals of the Kings of Judah. 26 He was buried in a crypt in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah became the new king.

Manasseh King of Judah(A)(B)

21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.(C) He did evil(D) in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices(E) of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places(F) his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal(G) and made an Asherah pole,(H) as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts(I) and worshiped them. He built altars(J) in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.”(K) In the two courts(L) of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son(M) in the fire, practiced divination,(N) sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists.(O) He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing(P) his anger.

He took the carved Asherah pole(Q) he had made and put it in the temple,(R) of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name(S) forever. I will not again(T) make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave their ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses(U) gave them.” But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil(V) than the nations(W) the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.

10 The Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil(X) than the Amorites(Y) who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols.(Z) 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster(AA) on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.(AB) 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line(AC) used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe(AD) out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake(AE) the remnant(AF) of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil(AG) in my eyes and have aroused(AH) my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.”

16 Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood(AI) that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah(AJ) to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

17 As for the other events of Manasseh’s reign, and all he did, including the sin he committed, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 18 Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace garden,(AK) the garden of Uzza. And Amon his son succeeded him as king.

Amon King of Judah(AL)

19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. 20 He did evil(AM) in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them. 22 He forsook(AN) the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk(AO) in obedience to him.

23 Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated(AP) the king in his palace. 24 Then the people of the land killed(AQ) all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah(AR) his son king in his place.

25 As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 26 He was buried in his tomb in the garden(AS) of Uzza. And Josiah his son succeeded him as king.