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Manasseh’s Reign
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 2 He did evil in the sight of#tn Heb “in the eyes of.” the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations#tn Heb “like the abominable practices of the nations.” whom the Lord drove out ahead of the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky#tn The phrase כָל צְבָא הֲַשָּׁמַיִם (khol tsÿva’ hashamayim), traditionally translated “all the host of heaven,” refers to the heavenly lights, including stars and planets. In 1 Kgs 22:19 these heavenly bodies are pictured as members of the Lord’s royal court or assembly, but many other texts view them as the illegitimate objects of pagan and Israelite worship. and worshiped#tn Or “served.” them. 4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my permanent home.”#tn Heb “In Jerusalem my name will be permanently.” 5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. 6 He passed his sons through the fire#tn Or “he sacrificed his sons in the fire.” This may refer to child sacrifice, though some interpret it as a less drastic cultic practice (NEB, NASV “made his sons pass through the fire”; NIV “sacrificed his sons in the fire”; NRSV “made his sons pass through fire”). For discussion see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 266-67. in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom and practiced divination, omen reading, and sorcery. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits and appointed magicians to supervise it.#tn Heb “and he set up a ritual pit, along with a conjurer.” Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, “ritual pit”) refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. In 1 Sam 28:7 the witch of Endor is called a בַּעֲלַת אוֹב (ba’alat ’ov, “owner of a ritual pit”). See H. Hoffner, “Second Millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ’OñBù,” JBL 86 (1967): 385-401. He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord and angered him.#tn Heb “and he multiplied doing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord, angering him.” 7 He put an idolatrous image he had made in God’s temple, about which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home.#tn Heb “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I chose from all the tribes of Israel, I will place my name permanently” (or perhaps “forever”). 8 I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors,#tn Heb “I will not again make the feet of Israel wander from the land which I established for their fathers.” provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law, the rules and regulations given to Moses.” 9 But Manasseh misled the people of#tn Heb “misled Judah.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” here by metonymy for the people of Judah. Judah and the residents of Jerusalem so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed ahead of the Israelites.
10 The Lord confronted#tn Heb “spoke to.” Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria. They seized Manasseh, put hooks in his nose,#tn Heb “and they seized him with hooks.” bound him with bronze chains, and carried him away to Babylon. 12 In his pain#tn Or “distress.” Manasseh#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Manasseh) has been specified in the translation for clarity. asked the Lord his God for mercy#tn Heb “appeased the face of the Lord his God.” and truly#tn Or “greatly.” humbled himself before the God of his ancestors.#tn Heb “fathers.” 13 When he prayed to the Lord,#tn Heb “him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. the Lord#tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. responded to him#tn Heb “was entreated by him,” or “allowed himself to be entreated by him.” and answered favorably#tn Heb “heard.” his cry for mercy. The Lord#tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.
14 After this Manasseh#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Manasseh) has been specified in the translation for clarity. built up the outer wall of the City of David#sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7. on the west side of the Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate and all around the terrace; he made it much higher. He placed army officers in all the fortified cities in Judah.
15 He removed the foreign gods and images from the Lord’s temple and all the altars he had built on the hill of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem; he threw them outside the city. 16 He erected the altar of the Lord and offered on it peace offerings and thank offerings. He told the people of#tn Heb “told Judah.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” here by metonymy for the people of Judah. Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. 17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the prophets#tn Or “seers.” spoke to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, are recorded#tn Heb “look, they are.” in the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 19 The Annals of the Prophets include his prayer, give an account of how the Lord responded to it, record all his sins and unfaithful acts, and identify the sites where he built high places and erected Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself.#tn Heb “and his prayer and being entreated by him, and all his sin and his unfaithfulness and the places where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself – behold, they are written on the words of his seers.” 20 Manasseh passed away#tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.” and was buried in his palace. His son Amon replaced him as king.
Amon’s Reign
21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 22 He did evil in the sight of#tn Heb “in the eyes of.” the Lord, just like his father Manasseh had done. He offered sacrifices to all the idols his father Manasseh had made, and worshiped#tn Or “served.” them. 23 He did not humble himself before the Lord as his father Manasseh had done.#tn Heb “as Manasseh his father had humbled himself.” Amon was guilty of great sin.#tn Heb “for he, Amon, multiplied guilt.” 24 His servants conspired against him and killed him in his palace. 25 The people of the land executed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they#tn Heb “and the people of the land.” made his son Josiah king in his place.
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