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v. 1. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, having been born three years after his father's severe illness, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
v. 2. 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. It seems that the wicked priests and false prophets had formed a party and insinuated themselves into the favor of the young king, who was hardly more than a boy, persuading him to carry out their designs.
v. 3. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah, his father, had destroyed, 2 Kings 18:4. the places of worship which had always been in use contrary to the Lord's wish; and he reared up altars for Baal, the chief idol of the Canaanite nations, and made a grove, an Asherah statue consecrated to the female idol Astarte, as did Ahab, king of Israel, distinguished for his idolatry, 1 Kings 16:32-33; and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them, this being the star- or planet-worship of the Assyrians.
v. 4. And he built altars, devoted to idolatry, in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put My name, He wanted only His worship in the city which He had chosen, and in the Temple dedicated to his name.
v. 5. And he built altars for all the host of heaven, in the service of his star-worship, in the two courts of the house of the Lord, namely, in the court of the priests and in that of the people.
v. 6. And he made his son pass through the fire, a custom observed by various heathen nations, and observed times, professing to uncover the future by interpreting various signs in nature, and used enchantments, another form of foretelling the future by certain signs connected with sacrifices, and dealt with familiar spirits, such as professed to have the spirit of Prophecy, and wizards, prudent, cunning men, augurs, men versed in all the secret magic of the East. He wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger.
v. 7. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made, an Asherah idol, in the house, in the very Sanctuary, 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 forever, 2 Samuel 7:13;
v. 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, this being the condition which the Lord always added to His promise. The Temple of the Lord was thus utterly desecrated by Manasseh, and the worship of Jehovah, if still practiced at all, became a farce.
v. 9. But they hearkened not, namely, to the warning condition of Jehovah. And Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel, they exceeded all these nations in idolatrous wickedness.
v. 10. And the Lord spake by His servants, the prophets, especially by Hosea, Nahum, Micah, Amos, and Isaiah, saying,
v. 11. Because Manasseh, king of Judah, hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, this name standing for all the nations of Canaan, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols,
v. 12. therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, the entire southern nation, which included the small tribe of Benjamin and the remnant of Simeon, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle, ring with the sharp pain caused by the news of the harsh and horrible punishment planned by the Lord.
v. 13. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, the reference being to a custom by which people standing in line were measured and a certain percentage slain, 2 Samuel 8:2, the idea of complete annihilation being apparently included here. And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down, letting not even a drop remain, making a clean sweep of everything, this signifying the complete overthrow and destruction of Jerusalem with all its inhabitants.
v. 14. And I will forsake the remnant of Mine inheritance, abandoning and throwing away also the remaining southern tribes, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, Cf Isaiah 42:22,
v. 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, the entire historical account being filled with the complaints and admonitions of the Lord regarding the disobedience of the people.
v. 16. Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, slaying those who opposed his godlessness, Jewish tradition stating that Isaiah was put to death by being sawed asunder, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, the introduction of idolatry in its worst form, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. It is related, 2 Chronicles 33:11-17, that Manasseh was carried away by the Assyrians and repented of his sins, whereupon he tried to undo the harm which lie had wrought, with only little success, however, so far as the people on the whole were concerned.
v. 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?
v. 18. And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza, so called from the former owner of this summer-home or pleasure-house; and Amon, his son, reigned in his stead. Manasseh is an example of warning to all believers; for there is no greater punishment than that which will strike such as deliberately discard better knowledge and turn to sins of every kind. It is best not to take chances with the mercy of the Lord, for we do not know when His time of grace will expire.
v. 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 Jothbah, a city in Judah.
v. 20. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did, namely, during the greater part of his reign.
v. 21. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, not only those of Canaan and Phoenicia, but also of Assyria and Chaldea, and worshiped them.
v. 22. And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.
v. 23. And the servants of Amon, evidently his attendants, since it was a conspiracy in the palace only, conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
v. 24. And the people of the land, the inhabitants of Judah, slew all them that had conspired against King Amon, evidently with the intention of placing a man from their midst on the throne; and the people of the land made Josiah, his son, king in his stead.
v. 25. Now, the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
v. 26. And he was buried in his sepulcher in the garden of Uzza, his resting-place being next to that of his father; and Josiah, his son, reigned in his stead. The example of evil is always powerful, more so than the example of good. All the more is it necessary for us to resist evil in every form and not to allow it to gain the ascendancy.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 21". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany