« הקודםהמשך »
lem which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever.
Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave to 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.
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.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Manasseh seems to have been naturally of a vicious disposition, and most likely he despised the admonitions of those to whom his father had committed the care of his education; and thought that, because he was heir to the throne, he stood in no need of instruction. There were, without doubt, persons in the court ready to flatter his vices and follies, with a view to their own advancement and the restoration of those idolatries from which Hezekiah had reformed the nation : however it was, Manasseh surpassed in wickedness all the kings of Judah who had been before him, particularly by the impious act of placing an idol in the house of the LORD.
The people were too ready to follow the bad example of their sovereign, and conspired with him to banish, if possible, their God out of the land. Those who continued faithful could no longer attend divine worship in the Temple, as it was now dedicated to idols. If we consider the conditions of the covenant which God bad repeatedly made with his people, we must perceive the enormity of their offence.
CONTINUATION OF THE REIGN OF MANASSEN.
From 2 Kings, Chap. xxi. 2 Chron. Chap. xxxiii.
AND the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, 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 :
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.
And I will stretch over Jer em 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.
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;
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. Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood
very much, till he had alled 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.
Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the cap. tains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh
among the thorns, and bound him with feta ters, and carried him to Babylon.
And when Manasseh was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.
And prayed unto him; and he was entreated of hiin and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
Now after this Manasseh built a wall without the city of David, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
And he took away the strange gods, and the idols out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrifice ed thereon peace-offerings, and thank-offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.
Nevertheless, the people did sacrifice still in the high places yet unto the LORD their God only.
And Manasseh reigned fifty and five years, and 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.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The people would not have been punished beyond their deserts if they had been taken from the world by a sudden judgment from heaven; but we find that the Almighty, in remembrance of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his faithful servant David, sent prophets repeatedly to teach them their duty, to reprove and to convert them; but they hardened their hearts, and despised his mercy, till at last he permitted the Assyrians to prevail against them.
Isaiah in particular not only warned the sinful Israelites in general of the danger they incurred by offending God, but delivered many predictions for the comfort of
faithful concerning their return from captivity, and the kingdom of Messiah. He also foretold the judgments that would fall upon the Assyrians, Babylonians, Moabites, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Tyrians, and other heathen nations with whom the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were concerned, which were literally fulfilled, as we shall occasionally remark. It is supposed that he was put to death by Manasseh.
How long Manasseh continued in prison, and by what means he regained his liberty, we are not told ; but we may judge of the miseries he endured from his prayer which is preserved among the Apocryphal writings.
O LORD, ALMIGHTY God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of their righteous seed: who hast made heaven and earth, with all the ornament therea of: who hast bound the sea by the uord of Thy commande ment: who hust shut up the deep, and sealed it by Thy terrible and glorious name: whom all men fear, and tremble before Thy power : for the Majesty of Thy glory cannot be borne, and Thine ungry threatening towards sinners, is insupportable : But Thy merciful promise is urmeasurable and unscarchuble : for Thou art the most high LORD, of great con passion, long-suffering, very merciful, and repentest of the evils of men. Thou o LORD, according to Thy great goodness, hust promised repentance, and forgiveness to them that have sinned against Thee: and of Thine infinite mercies hast appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved. Thou therefore O LORD, that art the God of the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, und Jacob, which have not sinned against Thee, but thou hast appointed repentance unto me that am a sinner : for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. My transgressions, O Lord, are multiplied, my transgressions are multiplied : and I am not worthy to behold and see the height of heaven, for the multitude of mine iniquities. I am bowed down with many iron bands, that I cannot lift up mine head, neither have any release : for I have provoked Thy wrath, and done evil before Thee: I did not thy will, neither kept I Thy commandments: I hive set up abominations, and have multiplied offences. Now therefore I bow the knee of my heart, besceching Thee of grace: I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinner, and I acknowledge mine iniquities: wherefore I humbly besecch Thee forgive me, O LORD, forgive me, and destroy nie not with mine iniquities. Be not angry with me for ever, bu reserving evil for me, neither condemn me into the lower parts of the earth. For thou art the God, even the God of them that repent : and in me Thou wilt shew all Thy goodness : for thou wilt save me that am unworthy, according to Thy great mercy. Therefore I will praise Thee for ever all the days of my life: for all the powers of the heavens do praise Thee, und Thine is glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Manasseh’s penitence seems to have heen very sincere, and the Lord accepted it according to the promise made in his holy name by Moses, that if his people would return unto the LORD their God, with all their hearts and with all their souls, that then he would turn their captivity, and have compassion upon them, and would bring them into the land which their fathers possessed *.
Manasseh did all in his power to repair the mischief he had done to his kingdom by his impiety, and seems to have been pardoned for his offence, and to have been blessed with prosperity in the latter part of his reign. We have reason to suppose, that the people of Judah * Deut. XXX. 2. and sequel.