Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Twelve. Being born three years after his father’s recovery. — Fifty. Including the years of captivity.
Ver. 2. Idols. Hebrew, “abominations,” (Calmet) as their worship was attended with the greatest infamy and dissolution, and was in itself the source of God’s chastisements. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Groves. Hebrew Ashera, “the grove,” or the idol of Astarte, (Calmet) as both were worshipped. (Haydock) — Achab, whom he imitated also in spilling the blood of the saints. (Menochius)
Ver. 4. Altars, in honour of the sun, moon, and stars, (Haydock) in the courts of the priests and of the people, 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 4.
Ver. 6. Fire, for purification, or as a holocaust to Moloch. See chap. xvi. 3. — Divination, or, “he observed times,” Arabic. (Montanus) — Omens. Protestants, “used enchantments,” (Haydock) by means of brass or of serpents, &c. (Calmet) — Septuagint agrees with the Vulgate, “he took notice of birds.” (Haydock) — Pythons. That is, diviners by spirits (Challoner) particularly by Apollo. He authorized and encouraged such ventriloquists, &c., Leviticus xix. 31. — Soothsayers, who inspected the entrails of victims, to foretell future things. (Calmet) — Protestants, “He dealt with familiar spirits and wizards.” (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Of the grove. Hebrew, “a graven thing of Ashera,” the grove or Astarte, (Haydock) ver. 3. This was an engraving in sculpture of a sacred grove. (Sa) (Chap. xxiii. 6.) (Tirinus) — My name. I alone will be adored, and there allow an altar to be erected. (Haydock)
Ver. 9. More, because they had received more favours and instructions from above. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Prophets, Joel, Osee, Amos, Nahum, Jonas, Abdias, Micheas, and particularly by Isaias, who was related to the king. (Tirinus) — Tradition informs us, that Manasses was so irritated, that he ordered Isaias to be slain with a wooden saw, (St. Augustine, City of God xviii. 24.) for greater torment; (Calmet) and his companions were daily executed, Josephus, [Antiquities?] x. 3. — Isaias (xxii. 13.) seems to pronounce his sin irremissible, (Calmet) or that he should not, at least, escape the punishment of it, as long as he lived. But we are assured that the eyes of Manasses were at last opened by adversity, and that he performed many laudable things after his return from captivity; (2 Paralipomenon xxxiii.) so that the latter part of his reign resembled that of his father; though the beginning had been like that of the impious Achab. His coming to the throne so soon, before his pious father could have time to impress upon his mind the truths of salvation, had nearly proved his ruin. The sins of my youth, and my ignorances, remember not, O Lord, Psalm xxiv. 7. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Doings. Hebrew, “idols,” ver. 2. See chap. xvii. 12. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Tingle, through astonishment, as if he had been stunned with too loud a noise, 1 Kings iii. 11. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. The line, or rope, to pull down the walls, Lamentations ii. 8., (Calmet) and 2 Kings xvii. 13. Jerusalem, which has imitated Samaria in sinning, shall experience the same fate; the same weight of punishment shall fall upon the royal family, as upon the house of Achab. (Haydock) — The prophets frequently entitle their menaces a weight, or burden, Isaias xiii. 1. (Menochius) — Septuagint have, “the balance of the house,” &c., as if God had weighed all the good and evil, and would now reward the people accordingly, (Haydock) with judgment. (Du Hamel) — Table, or board, covered with wax. The ancients were accustomed to write in this manner with a style which was sharp at one end and blunt at the other. Altera pars revocat quicquid pars altera fecit. (Ænig. Symponii.) When the wax was rendered smooth, no vestige of the former writing could appear, and God threatens to destroy Jerusalem, in like manner. Hebrew is variously translated. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “I will wipe out Jerusalem as an alabaster vase is wiped, and turned downwards.” Protestants, “as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” (Haydock) — Often. 1. Under Manasses; 2. under Josias and Joachaz; 3. under the last kings of Juda, 2 Paralipomenon xxiii., &c. (Tirinus)
Ver. 14. Leave. Septuagint, “with horror,” apeasomai (Haydock) “I will cast off.” So Chaldean, Syriac, &c. — Remnants. Juda, &c., who shall be treated like the ten tribes. (Calmet) — All shared in the punishment, though some preserved the true religion, Psalm lxxxviii. 35. (Worthington)
Ver. 16. Mouth. Chaldean, “extremity.” All was full of blood, and impure idols, ver. 11. — Besides, (absque) “without” mentioning his other scandalous sins of idolatry.
Ver. 17. Sinned. It is rather wonderful that his repentance is not here noticed; but we find it mentioned [in] 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 12. (Haydock) — He was probably taken prisoner by Thartan, general of Sargon, or Asarhaddon, who had reunited the two kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon, Isaias xx. 1. In prison Manasses composed a penitential prayer, which is not absolutely rejected by the Church, but left in the rank of Apocryphal writings; (Calmet) the authority of which is not clearly ascertained. (Haydock) — The Greek church admits this prayer into her Euchologium, (Calmet) or Office-book. (Haydock) — Being liberated, probably by Saosduchin, Manasses did all things well, only he left the high places, where the people had been accustomed to sacrifice to the Lord. Hozai wrote his history, 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 19.
Ver. 18. Oza, a private man, to whom it had belonged; (Menochius) or the place where the Levite had been punished for touching the ark; (1 Kings vi. 8.) or, in fine, the garden to which king Ozias had retired after he became a leper. (Calmet) — It is said, that Manasses chose this place for his tomb out of humility. (Grotius)
Ver. 20. Done, in his youth, flattering himself that he should also repent, when he had gratified his passions, (Glycas) but God presently chastised this presumption, after suffering him to reign only two years. (Tirinus)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The wickedness of Manasses: God’s threats by his prophets. His wicked son, Amon, succeedeth him, and is slain by his servants.
1 Manasses* was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned five and fifty years in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Haphsiba.
2 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the idols of the nations, which the Lord destroyed from before the face of the children of Israel.
3 *And he turned, and built up the high places, which Ezechias, his father, had destroyed: and he set up altars to Baal, and made groves, as Achab, the king of Israel, had done: and he adored all the host of heaven, and served them.
4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said: *In Jerusalem I will put my name.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven, in the two courts of the temple of the Lord.
6 And he made his son pass through fire: and he used divinations, and observed omens, and appointed pythons, and multiplied soothsayers, to do evil before the Lord, and to provoke him.
7 He set also an idol of the grove, which he had made, in the temple of the Lord: *concerning which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son: In this temple, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name for ever.
8 And I will no more make the feet of Israel to be moved out of the land, which I gave to their fathers: only if they will observe to do all that I have commanded them, according to the law which my servant Moses commanded them.
9 But they hearkened not: but were seduced by Manasses, to do evil more than the nations which the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.
10 And the Lord spoke in the hand of his servants, the prophets, saying:
11 *Because Manasses, king of Juda, hath done these most wicked abominations, beyond all that the Amorrhites did before him, and hath made Juda also to sin with his filthy doings:
12 Therefore thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring on evils upon Jerusalem and Juda: that whosoever shall hear of them, both his ears shall tingle.
13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the weight of the house of Achab: and I will efface Jerusalem, as writings upon tables are wont to be effaced, and I will erase and turn it, and draw the pencil often over the face thereof.
14 And I will leave the remnants of my inheritance, and will deliver them into the hands of their enemies: and they shall become a prey, and a spoil to all their enemies.
15 Because they have done evil before me, and have continued to provoke me, from the day that their fathers came out of Egypt, even unto this day.
16 Moreover, *Manasses shed also very much innocent blood, till he filled Jerusalem up to the mouth: besides his sins, wherewith he made Juda to sin, to do evil before the Lord.
17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasses, and all that he did, and his sin, which he sinned, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda?
18 And Manasses slept *with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Oza: and Amon, his son, reigned in his stead.
19 Two and twenty years old was Amon when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Messalemeth, the daughter of Harus, of Jeteba.
20 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasses, his father, had done.
21 And he walked in all the way in which his father had walked: and he served the abominations which his father had served, and he adored them;
22 And forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.
23 And his servants plotted against him, and slew the king in his own house.
24 But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon: and made Josias, his son, their king in his stead.
25 But the rest of the acts of Amon, which he did, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda?
26 And they buried him in his sepulchre in the garden of Oza: and his son, Josias, reigned in his stead.
1: 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 1.; Year of the World 3306.
3: 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 3.
4: 2 Kings vii. 10.
7: 2 Kings vii. 26.; 3 Kings viii. 16. and ix. 5.
11: Jeremias xv. 4.
16: 4 Kings xxiv. 4.
18: Year of the World 3361, Year before Christ 643.