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.
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king. He ruled for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. In God’s judgment he was a bad king—an evil king. He reintroduced all the moral rot and spiritual corruption that had been scoured from the country when God dispossessed the pagan nations in favor of the children of Israel. He rebuilt all the sex-and-religion shrines that his father Hezekiah had torn down, and he built altars and phallic images for the sex god Baal and sex goddess Asherah, exactly what Ahaz king of Israel had done. He worshiped the cosmic powers, taking orders from the constellations. He even built these pagan altars in The Temple of God, the very Jerusalem Temple dedicated exclusively by God’s decree (“in Jerusalem I place my Name”) to God’s Name. And he built shrines to the cosmic powers and placed them in both courtyards of The Temple of God. He burned his own son in a sacrificial offering. He practiced black magic and fortunetelling. He held séances and consulted spirits from the underworld. Much evil—in God’s judgment, a career in evil. And God was angry.
And he builded altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, I shall set my name in Jerusalem. (And he built altars in the House of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, I shall set my name in Jerusalem there.)
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