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MANASSES was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.

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2 And he did evil before the Lord, according to all the abominations of the nations, which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel: 3 And he turned, and built again the high places which Ezechias his father had destroyed: and he built altars to Baalim, and made groves, and he adored all the host of heaven, and worshipped them.

Ver. 3.  The host of heaven.  The sun, moon, and stars, (Ch.) in imitation of the Phœnicians and ancient Chanaanites.



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4 He built also altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said: In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

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5 And he built them for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.

Ver. 5.  Courts of the Gentiles and of Israel, (M.) though afterwards he also placed idols even in the court of the priests, v. 7.  Salien, A. 3340.

 

--- But we find no express mention of the court of the Gentiles, till after the captivity; (C.) so that the two courts mean those of the priests and of Israel.  Villalpand, Sa. &c.


6 And he made his sons to pass through the fire in the valley of Benennom: he observed dreams, followed divinations, gave himself up to magic arts, had with him magicians, and enchanters: and he wrought many evils before the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

Ver. 6.  Valley.  Heb. Ge-ben-hinnon, "the vale of the son of Ennom," (H.) a Jebusite, who had formerly possessed that part of the valley of Cedron.  M.

 

--- Syr. write Gena, whence comes geenna a place at the foot of Moria, and the sink of the city.  A constant fire was kept up to burn dead bodies.  Kimchi.  D.


7 He set also a graven, and a molten statue in the house of God, of which God had said to David, and to Solomon his son: In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever.

Ver. 7.  Graven.  Prot. "a carved image (the idol which he had made) in," &c.  It seems to have been sacred to the grove, (H.) or a representation of Astarte, 4 K. xxi. 7.  The ark was taken away, (C. xxv. 3.) to make place for this impure deity, which had four (S. Basil) or five faces, (Euseb.  Salien) that people might adore it on all sides.



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8 And I will not make the foot of Israel to be removed out of the land which I have delivered to their fathers: yet so if they will take heed to do what I hare commanded them, and all the law, and the ceremonies, and judgments by the hand of Moses. 9 So Manasses seduced Juda, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to do evil beyond all the nations, which the Lord had destroyed before the face of the children of Israel.

Ver. 9.  Seduced.  Using the arts of seduction, as well as open force.  Heb. "Manasses made Juda....err," 4 K. xxi. 16.  There is a fund of malice in the human heart, which easily prevails on people to yield, on such occasions, if the grace of God do not support them.  Yet, as they are not still without a sense of duty and religion, many will readily comply with the invitations of a pious king, when he earnestly endeavours to reform his people.  But these conversions too frequently prove false and unstable.  C. xxix. 36.  H.




10 And the Lord spoke to him, and to his people, and they would not hearken.

Ver. 10.  Spoke, by his prophets.  4 K.


11 Therefore he brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of the Assyrians: and they took Manasses, and carried him bound with chains and fetters to Babylon.

Ver. 11.  Captains; probably Tharthan.  A. 3328.   About five years before, Asarhaddon had made himself master of Babylon, to which place the captive king was brought, in the 22d year of his reign.  4 K. xx. 10. &c.  Isai. xxii.

 

--- And carried.  Heb. "among the thorns, and bound him with fetters (Prot.) of brass; (Jun. &c.) or, "they took Manasses with a hook," insidiously.  He might have retired to some desert place, as the Israelites did, to avoid the fury of the Philistines.  1 K. xiii. 6.  C.

 

--- Chains.  Vatable says, "two."  M.




12 And after that he was in distress he prayed to the Lord his God: and did penance exceedingly before the God of his fathers.

Ver. 12.  Distress.  "When he had been conducted to Babylon, and cast into a brazen vessel full of holes, over a fire, he called upon all the names of the idols, which he was accustomed to adore; and, as he was not heard, nor set free by them, he recollected what he had often heard repeated by his father: When though shalt call upon  me in tribulation, and shalt be converted, I will hear thee graciously; as it is written in Deut. (see C. iv. 29.  H.) and his prayer was thus heard by the Lord, and he was delivered and brought back to his kingdom, like Habacuc."  S. Jer. Trad.

 

--- The author of the imperfect work on S. Matthew, (among the works of S. Chrys. hom. 1.  H.) says, that Manasses was barely allowed as much barley bread, and water mixed with vinegar, as would keep him alive.  Whereupon, remembering the Lord, he had recourse to his clemency, and a miraculous flame surrounded him, and dissolving his chains, set him at liberty.  Saos-duchin, the successor of Azarhaddon, probably  restored him to his throne, some years after his captivity, or perhaps that very year, so that his repentance continued thirty-three years.  C.

 

--- Prayed, a proof of the efficacy of sincere repentance.  W.


13 And he entreated him, and besought him earnestly: and he heard his prayer, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom, and Manasses knew that the Lord was God.


14 After this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon in the valley, from the entering in of the fish gate round about to Ophel, and raised it up to a great height: and he appointed captains of the army in all the fenced cities of Juda:

Ver. 14.  Without, including what is styled the second city; (4 K. xxii. 14,) or he perfected the works begun by his father, or repaired the wall which the Assyrians had thrown down, though we read not of their taking the city.  C.

 

--- Fish-gate....to Ophel, from the north-eastern corner, to the place opposite to the eastern gate of the temple.  C. xxvii. 3.  M.

 

--- The fish-gate led towards Joppe, whence the city was supplied with fish.  S. Jer. Trad.

 

--- It was also called David's gate, because it stood near this city.  By it, the Chaldees afterwards rushed in.  Soph. i. 10.  T.




15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord: the altars also which he had made in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and he cast them all out of the city.


16 And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed upon it victims, and peace offerings, and praise: and he commanded Juda to serve the Lord the God of Israel.

Ver. 16.  And praise.  Prot. "thanks-offerings."  Sept. "a victim of salvation and praise."  H.

 

--- The sacrifice might be accompanied with canticles.

 

--- Ps. xxvi. 6, &c.  C.




17 Nevertheless the people still sacrificed in the high places to the Lord their God.

Ver. 17.  God.  Heb. adds, "only," and not to idols.  H.

 

--- This worship was not superstitious, but it was illegal; and it is a misfortune, that Manasses had not as much influence to guide the people in virtue, as he had formerly, to induce them to follow his example in idolatry.  C.

 

--- He could not prevail upon them to destroy the high places.  M.


18 But the rest of the acts of Manasses, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers that spoke to him in the name of the Lord the God of Israel, are contained in the words of the kings of Israel.

Ver. 18.  Prayer, which is not extant in Heb. but in Greek and Latin.  As yet it is neither received for canonical, nor rejected by the Church.  W.

 

--- Israel.  That kingdom had been overturned in the sixth year of Ezechias.  There was now no need of distinguishing the kings of Juda from those of Israel.  The former seemed to have claimed authority over the whole country.  4 K. xxiii. 19.  H.


19 His prayer also, and his being heard, and all his sins, and contempt, and places wherein he built high places, and set up groves, and statues before he did penance, are written in the words of Hozai.

Ver. 19.  Contempt.  Heb. "prevarication."  Sept. "apostacy."  M.

 

--- Chozai means "seers."  Sept.  Prot.  H.

 

--- But it more probably signifies some particular prophet, (C.) Isaias, (S. Jer. Trad.) "Hanan," (Syr.) or "Saphan."  Arab. version.  C.

 

--- This work, less than the book of the kings of Israel, is now lost.  M.


20 And Manasses slept with his fathers. and they buried him in his house: and his son Amen reigned in his stead.

Ver. 20.  House, in his own gardens, and not with the other kings.  Grot.  C.


21 Amen was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.


22 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasses his father had done: and he sacrificed to all the idols which Manasses his father had made, and served them.

Ver. 22.  Made, though he had afterwards destroyed them.  Amon endeavoured to restore their worship, (C.) adoring the same idols, and making other statues in their honour.  D.


23 And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as Manasses his father had humbled himself, but committed far greater sins.

Ver. 23.  Sins, inasmuch as he died in his guilt.  Prot. "but Amon trespassed more and more," (H.) following the former bad example of Manasses, Jer. xv.  D.


24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. 25 But the rest of the multitude of the people slew them that had killed Amen, and made Josias his son king in his stead.

Ver. 25.  Them.  Heb. "all that had conspired against king Amon."  H.

 



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