Lectionary Calendar
Monday, May 27th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 21

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign. He must have been born three years after his father's recovery; and his minority, spent under the influence of guardians who were hostile to the religious principles and reforming policy of his father, may account in part for the anti-theocratic principles of his reign. The work of religious reformation which Hezekiah had zealously carried on was but partially accomplished. There was little appearance of its influence on the heart and manners of the people at large. On the contrary, the true fear of God had vanished from the mass of the people; corruption and vice increased, and were openly practiced (Isaiah 28:7, etc.) by the degenerate leaders, who, having gotten the young prince Manasseh into their power, directed his education, trained him up in their views, and seduced him into the open patronage of idolatry. Hence, when he became sovereign, he introduced the worship of idols, the restoration of high places. and the erection of altars or pillars to Baal, and the placing, in the temple of God itself, a graven image of Ashcrah, the sacred or symbolic tree, which represented "all the host of heaven." This was not idolatry, but pure star worship, of Chaldaic and Assyrian origin (Keil, in loco). The sun, as among the Persians, had chariots and horses consecrated to it (2 Kings 23:11), and incense was offered to the stars on the house-tops (2 Kings 23:12; 2 Chronicles 33:5; Jeremiah 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5), and in the temple-area, with the face turned toward the sunrise (Ezekiel 8:16),

Verses 2-4

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 5

And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

The two courts of the house of the Lord - the court of the priests and the large court of the people.

Verse 6

And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Made his son pass through the fire - (see the notes at 2 Kings 16:3.) observed times-from an observation of the clouds determined the proper season for things, distinguishing lucky from unlucky days. [Septuagint, ekleedonizeto.]

Used enchantments - observed auguries [Septuagint, oioonizeto]; but it is used in a general sense for divining by the cup, etc.

Dealt with familiar spirits [ `aasaah (H6213) 'owb (H178) (see the notes at Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:7); Septuagint, generally, engastrimuthos, ventriloquist, who pretended to ask counsel of a familiar spirit, and gave the response received from him to others; but here that version renders the phrase, epoieese temenee, made sanctuaries].

And wizards, [ wªyid`oniym (H3049)] (see the notes at Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:11) - wise or knowing ones, who pretended to reveal secrets, to recover things lost, and hidden treasure, and interpret dreams. A great influx of these impostors had, at various times, poured from Chaldea into the land of Israel to pursue their gainful occupations, especially during the reigns of the latter kings; and Manasseh was not only their liberal patron, but zealous to appear himself an adept in the arts. He raised them to an influential class at his court, as they were in that of Assyria and Babylon, where nothing was done until they had ascertained the lucky hour and promised a happy issue.

Verse 7

And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

And he set a graven image, [ pecel (H6459) haa-'Asheeraah (H842)] - a carved image of the Asherah, a statue or relieve figure. The placing of the Asherah within the precincts of the temple, which was dedicated to the worship of the true God, is dwelt upon as the most aggravated outrage of the royal idolater.

Verse 8

Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

Neither will I make the feet of Israel move ... out of the land - alluding to the promise, 2 Samuel 7:10.

Only if they will observe ... This condition was expressed from the first plantation of Israel in Canaan. But that people not only did not keep it, but through the pernicious influence of Manasseh were seduced into greater excesses of idolatrous corruption than even the original Canaanites. There was a gradation in the apostasy of Judah similar to that of Israel. Ahaz abandoned the worship of Yahweh, but he did not seduce the generality of his subjects; whereas the height and front of Manasseh's offending was that his pernicious influence carried the whole nation along with him into idolatry (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:9-10).

Verse 9

But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 10

And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

The Lord spake by his servants the prophets. These were Hoshea, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Isaiah. Their counsels, admonitions, and prophetic warnings were put on record in the national chronicles (2 Chronicles 33:18), and now form part of the sacred canon.

Verse 11

Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 12

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.

Whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle - a strong metaphorical form of announcing an extraordinary and appalling event (see 1 Samuel 3:11; Jeremiah 19:3; also Habakkuk 1:5).

Verse 13

And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.

The line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab. Captives doomed to destruction were sometimes grouped together, and marked off by means of a measuring line and plummet (2 Samuel 8:2; Isaiah 34:11; Amos 7:7); so that "the line of Samaria" means the line drawn for the destruction of Samaria; "the plummet of the house of Ahab," for exterminating his apostate family; and the import of the threatening declaration here is, that Judah would be overthrown, as Samaria and the dynasty of Ahab had been.

I will wipe Jerusalem ... The same doom is denounced more strongly in a figure unmistakeably significant. This doom of utter and universal extermination, which was threatened against Judah, was averted by repentance, at least to a certain extent, inasmuch as a large portion of Judah was restored from the Babylonian captivity. But it was executed on the kingdom of Israel, which, as the sin of its people had been over a longer duration and of a more aggravated character, was more severely punished. The turning of a disk upside down implies the complete emptying of all its contents; and accordingly many writers maintain that not a single Israelite was left (cf. Jeremiah 7:15), and that the Samaritan colonists were pagan foreigners (see the notes at 2 Kings 17:6-24; also, Winer, 'Realworterbuch,' article, 'Samaritaner').

Verse 14

And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance - the people of Judah, who of all the chosen people alone remained. The consequence of the Lord's forsaking them would be their fall into the power of their enemies.

Verse 15

Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood. Not content with the patronage and the practice of idolatrous abominations, he was a cruel persecutor of all who did not conform. The land was deluged with the blood of good men, among whom, it is traditionally said, Isaiah suffered a horrid death, by being sawn asunder (see the notes at Hebrews 11:37).

Verse 17

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

Now the rest of the acts of Mannseh - (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 33:1-25.)

Verse 18

And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 19

Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.

Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign. Manasseh, having ascended the throne of Judah at 12 years of age and reigned 55 years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:1; cf. 2 Chronicles 33:1), was 67 years old at his death; so that, as Amon, when he succeeded his father, was 22 years of age, his birth must have taken place in his father's 45th year. This circumstance, of a king whose accession to regal power was so early as that; of Manasseh continuing until he reached the age of 45 without an heir to his crown being born, is so rare, or rather unprecedented, in Oriental history, that Niebuhr ('Kleine historische und philologische Schriften') maintains that there is an error in the number of years assigned to Manasseh. But the reasoning of Niebuhr evidently proceeds on the gratuitous and false assumption that Amon was the oldest son of Manasseh; whereas it is clear, from the sacred narrative, that in the early part of his reign, before his captivity in Babylon, he had become a father (2 Kings 21:6: cf. 2 Chronicles 33:6). What became of that son and of those children we are not informed. They may have all died, or the inheritance to the crown may, from causes unknown, have fallen to Amon. But the fact adverted to, of Manasseh's having a family previous to the birth of Amon, overturns the objection of Niebuhr to the accuracy of the chronological statement.

Verse 20

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. This prince continued the idolatrous policy of his father, and after an inglorious reign of two years, was massacred by some of his own domestics. The people killed the regicide conspirators, and placed his son Josiah on the throne.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-kings-21.html. 1871-8.
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