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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the eldest son of Joseph, and grandson of the patriarch Jacob, Genesis 41:50 , was born, A.M. 2290, B.C. 1714. The name Manasseh signifies forgetfulness, because Joseph said, "God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house." When Jacob was going to die, Joseph brought his two sons to him, that his father might give them his last blessing, Genesis 48. Jacob, having seen them, adopted them. The tribe of Manasseh came out of Egypt in number thirty-two thousand two hundred men, upward of twenty years old, under the conduct of Gamaliel, son of Pedahzur, Numbers 2:20-21 . This tribe was divided in the land of promise. One half tribe of Manasseh settled beyond the river Jordan, and possessed the country of Bashan, from the river Jabbok, to Mount Libanus; and the other half tribe of Manasseh settled on this side Jordan, and possessed the country between the tribe of Ephraim south, and the tribe of Issachar north, having the river Jordan east, and the Mediterranean Sea west, Joshua xvi; 17.

2. MANASSEH, the fifteenth king of Judah, and son and successor of Hezekiah, was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty- five years, 2 Kings 20:21 ; 2 Kings 21:1-2 ; 2 Chronicles 33:1-2 , &c. His mother's name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord; worshipped the idols of the land of Canaan; rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; set up altars to Baal; and planted groves to false gods. He raised altars to the whole host of heaven, in the courts of God's house; made his son pass through the fire in honour of Moloch; was addicted to magic, divinations, auguries, and other superstitions; set up the idol Astarte in the house of God; finally, he involved his people in all the abomination of the idolatrous nations to that degree, that Israel committed more wickedness than the Canaanites, whom the Lord had driven out before them. To all these crimes Manasseh added cruelty; and he shed rivers of innocent blood in Jerusalem. The Lord being provoked by so many crimes, threatened him by his prophets, "I will blot out Jerusalem as a writing is blotted out of a writing tablet." The calamities which God had threatened began toward the twenty-second year of this impious prince.

The king of Assyria sent his army against him, who, seizing him among the briers and brambles where he was hid, fettered his hands and feet, and carried him to Babylon, 2 Chronicles 33:11-12 , &c. It was probably Sargon or Esar-haddon, king of Assyria, who sent Tartan into Palestine, and who taking Azoth, attacked Manasseh, put him in irons, and led him away, not to Nineveh, but to Babylon, of which Esar-haddon had become master, and had reunited the empires of the Assyrians and the Chaldeans. Manasseh, in bonds at Babylon, humbled himself before God, who heard his prayers, and brought him back to Jerusalem; and Manasseh acknowledged the hand of the Lord. Manasseh was probably delivered out of prison by Saosduchin, the successor of Esar-haddon, 2 Chronicles 33:13-14 , &c. Being returned to Jerusalem, he restored the worship of the Lord; broke down the altars of the false gods; abolished all traces of their idolatrous worship; but he did not destroy the high places: which is the only thing Scripture reproaches him with, after his return from Babylon. He caused Jerusalem to be fortified; and he inclosed with a wall another city, which in his time was erected west of Jerusalem, and which went by the name of the second city, 2 Chronicles 33:14 . He put garrisons into all the strong places of Judah. Manasseh died at Jerusalem, and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza, 2 Kings 21:18 . He was succeeded by his son Amon.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Manasseh'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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