Joseph's son; elder brother of Ephraim (Gen. 48: 1), but in the national history the weaker of the two tribes (Gen. 48: 19).

Son of Hezekiah and king of Judah (698–642 BCE) and regarded by 2 Kings as overturning all the religious reforms of his father. He even sacrificed his own son (2 Kgs. 21: 6). He was loyal to his Assyrian overlords and once helped Ashurbanipal in a campaign against Egypt, but once also he was suspected of treason and imprisoned (2 Chron. 33: 11), perhaps during 652–648 BCE. It was inevitable that Judah's subjection to Assyria would involve some infiltration of the imperial cult, and equally that this should be condemned by strict Yahwists. According to 2 Chron. 33 he experienced a religious conversion, but there is no mention of this in Kings and it may be the Chronicler's way of explaining the length of his reign, which enjoyed a remarkable prosperity thanks to his loyalty to the emperors, as attested by inscriptions, which even the biased chronicler could not altogether conceal since he mentions (2 Chron. 33: 14) the building of the city wall. Many settlements in the south were re‐established, and there was a caravan route through the country from Arabia. Assyrian inscriptions do not record any rebellion on the part of Manasseh, but rather the reverse, and although 2 Chron. 33: 10–13 reports that Manasseh was temporarily deported to Babylon (not mentioned in 2 Kings) he was allowed to return to Jerusalem, perhaps as a reward for repentance.