Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, following the abominable practices of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he erected altars for Baal, made a sacred pole, as King Ahab of Israel had done, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my name.” He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through fire; he practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. The carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the Lord said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever; I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land that I gave to their ancestors, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.” But they did not listen; Manasseh misled them to do more evil than the nations had done that the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel. The Lord said by his servants the prophets, “Because King Manasseh of Judah has committed these abominations, has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has caused Judah also to sin with his idols; therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line for Samaria, and the plummet for the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.I will cast off the remnant of my heritage, and give them into the hand of their enemies; they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt, even to this day.”Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he caused Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. (2 Kings 21:1-16, NRSV)
Why did Manasseh do the things he did?
Was it because he was a great king and was looking out for the people he was ruling?
Probably not. More likely he was self-centered and looked out for the unholy trinity, me, myself and I. Manasseh looked out for himself and did what brought him pleasure and fed his needs.
So the question we can learn and ask from this passage is, where are my motives aligned?
Is my heart looking out for the other or myself?