December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.
- He did evil in the sight of the LORD, following the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the Israelites.
- He rebuilt the high places which his father Hezekiah had torn down, erected altars for the Baals, made sacred poles, and prostrated himself before the whole host of heaven and worshiped them.
- He even built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem shall my name be forever":
- he built altars to the whole host of heaven in the two courts of the LORD'S house.
- It was he, too, who immolated his sons by fire in the Valley of Ben-hinnom. He practiced augury, divination and magic, and appointed necromancers and diviners of spirits, so that he provoked the LORD with the great evil that he did in his sight.
- He placed an idol that he had carved in the house of God, of which God had said to David and his son Solomon: "In this house and in Jerusalem which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel I shall place my name forever.
- I will not again allow Israel's feet to leave the land which I assigned to your fathers, provided they are careful to observe all that I commanded them, keeping the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances given by Moses."
- Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into doing even greater evil than the nations which the LORD had destroyed at the coming of the Israelites.
- The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.
- 1 Therefore the LORD brought against them the army commanders of the Assyrian king; they took Manasseh with hooks, shackled him with chains, and transported him to Babylon.
- In this distress, he began to appease the LORD, his God. He humbled himself abjectly before the God of his fathers
- 2 and prayed to him. The LORD let himself be won over: he heard his prayer and restored him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. Then Manasseh understood that the LORD is indeed God.
- Afterward he built an outer wall for the City of David to the west of Gihon in the valley, extending to the Fish Gate and encircling Ophel; he built it very high. He stationed army officers in all the fortified cities of Judah.
- He removed the foreign gods and the idol from the LORD'S house and all the altars he had built on the mount of the LORD'S house and in Jerusalem, and he cast them outside the city.
- He restored the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed on it peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel.
- Though the people continued to sacrifice on the high places, they now did so to the LORD, their God.
- The rest of the acts of Manasseh, his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, can be found written in the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
- His prayer and how his supplication was heard, all his sins and his infidelity, the sites where he built high places and erected sacred poles and carved images before he humbled himself, all can be found written down in the history of his seers.
- Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his own palace. His son Amon succeeded him as king.
- Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.
- He did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon offered sacrifice to all the idols which his father Manasseh had made, and worshiped them.
- Moreover, he did not humble himself before the LORD as his father Manasseh had done; on the contrary, Amon only increased his guilt.
- His servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house.
- But the people of the land slew all those who had conspired against King Amon, and then they, the people of the land, made his son Josiah king in his stead.
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1  There is no evidence elsewhere for an imprisonment of King Manasseh in Babylon. However, according to the Assyrian inscriptions, he paid tribute to the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (680-669 B.C.) and Asshurbanipal (668-627 B.C.). He may well have been obliged to go to Nineveh to take the oath of allegiance as vassal to the king of Assyria.
2  And prayed to him: these words led an unknown writer to compose the apocryphal "Prayer of Manasseh," which is added as an appendix to many editions of the Vulgate Bible and is used in the public prayers of the Church.
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