Manasseh followed Hezekiah as king in 697 BC. Manasseh would rule for fifty-five years and may have led the most evil life of any king of Judah, but in the end he did repent.
Manasseh rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed. Manasseh set up Baal altars and Asherah poles and even placed them in the temple in Jerusalem. He also offered his own son as a sacrifice in the fire.
The prophets, including Isaiah, told him that he had gone beyond the wickedness of the Amorites who were driven out of the land before Israel. Tradition tells us that it was Manasseh who pursued Isaiah from Jerusalem towards Bethlehem (about 680 BC) and had him sawn in half with a wooden saw once he was captured.
God promised to bring disaster to Jerusalem and Judah because of this wickedness. Around the year 678 BC Assyrian records show that Manasseh, along with other kings controlled by Assyria, were ordered to appear in Nineveh to receive their orders concerning the supplies they were to provide for Esarhaddon’s new palace. An inscription of Esarhaddon says:
“At that time the older palace of Nineveh, which the kings who went before, my fathers, had built. . . had come to seem too small to me. . . .That small palace I tore down in its totality. . . .And I summoned the kings of Syria and those across the sea - Baalu, king of Tyre; Manasseh, king of Judah; Kaushgabri, king of Edom; Musurri, king of Moab. . .twenty kings in all. I gave them their orders.”
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, faced a revolt by his brother Shamash-Shum-Ukin in Babylon in 652 BC. After a three year siege of Babylon Ashurbanipal defeated his brother. It was at this time Manasseh was focibly taken out of Jerusalem by the Assyrians with a hook in his nose and in bronze shackles. Manasseh was taken as a prisoner to Babylon by Ashurbanipl. It appears Manasseh had either sided with Shamah-Shum-Ukin or was suspected of having supported the rebellion.