2Ki 21:1-18. Manasseh's
Wicked Reign, and Great Idolatry.
1-3. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began
to reign—He must have been born three years after his
father's recovery; and his minority, spent under the influence of
guardians who were hostile to the religious principles and reforming
policy of his father, may account in part for the anti-theocratic
principles of his reign. The work of religious reformation which
Hezekiah had zealously carried on was but partially accomplished. There
was little appearance of its influence on the heart and manners of the
people at large. On the contrary, the true fear of God had vanished
from the mass of the people; corruption and vice increased, and were
openly practised (Isa 28:7,
&c.) by the degenerate leaders, who, having got the young prince
Manasseh into their power, directed his education, trained him up in
their views, and seduced him into the open patronage of idolatry.
Hence, when he became sovereign, he introduced the worship of idols,
the restoration of high places, and the erection of altars or pillars
to Baal, and the placing, in the temple of God itself, a graven image
of Asherah, the sacred or symbolic tree, which represented "all the
host of heaven." This was not idolatry, but pure star-worship, of
Chaldaic and Assyrian origin [Keil]. The
sun, as among the Persians, had chariots and horses consecrated to it
23:11); and incense was
offered to the stars on the housetops (2Ki 23:12; 2Ch
33:5; Jer 19:13; Zep 1:5),
and in the temple area with the face turned toward the sunrise (Eze 8:16).
5. the two courts of the house of the
Lord—the court of the priests, and the large court of the
6. made his son pass through the
fire—(See on 2Ki 16:3).
observed times—from an observation of
used enchantments—jugglery and
dealt with familiar
spirits—Septuagint, "ventriloquists," who pretended to
ask counsel of a familiar spirit and gave the response received from
him to others.
and wizards—wise or knowing ones, who
pretended to reveal secrets, to recover things lost and hidden
treasure, and to interpret dreams. A great influx of these impostors
had, at various times, poured from Chaldea into the land of Israel to
pursue their gainful occupations, especially during the reigns of the
latter kings; and Manasseh was not only their liberal patron, but
zealous to appear himself an adept in the arts. He raised them to be an
influential class at his court, as they were in that of Assyria and
Babylon, where nothing was done till they had ascertained the lucky
hour and were promised a happy issue.
7. And he set a graven image—The placing
of the Asherah within the precincts of the temple, which was dedicated
to the worship of the true God, is dwelt upon as the most aggravated
outrage of the royal idolater.
8. Neither will I make the feet of Israel move
… out of the land which I gave their fathers—alluding
to the promise (2Sa 7:10).
only if they will observe,
&c.—This condition was expressed from the first plantation of
Israel in Canaan. But that people not only did not keep it, but through
the pernicious influence of Manasseh, were seduced into greater
excesses of idolatrous corruption than even the original
10-17. And the Lord spake by his servants the
prophets—These were Hosea, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Isaiah.
Their counsels, admonitions, and prophetic warnings, were put on record
in the national chronicles (2Ch 33:18)
and now form part of the sacred canon.
12. whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall
tingle—a strong metaphorical form of announcing an
extraordinary and appalling event (see 1Sa 3:11; Jer 19:3; also Hab 1:5).
13. the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the
house of Ahab—Captives doomed to destruction were sometimes
grouped together and marked off by means of a measuring-line and
plummet (2Sa 8:2; Isa 34:11; Am 7:7); so that the line of Samaria means the
line drawn for the destruction of Samaria; the plummet of the house of
Ahab, for exterminating his apostate family; and the import of the
threatening declaration here is that Judah would be utterly destroyed,
as Samaria and the dynasty of Ahab had been.
I will wipe Jerusalem, &c.—The
same doom is denounced more strongly in a figure unmistakably
14. I will forsake the remnant of mine
inheritance—The people of Judah, who of all the chosen people
alone remained. The consequence of the Lord's forsaking them would be
their fall into the power of their enemies.
16. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent
blood—Not content with the patronage and the practice of
idolatrous abomination, he was a cruel persecutor of all who did not
conform. The land was deluged with the blood of good men; among whom it
is traditionally said Isaiah suffered a horrid death, by being sawn
asunder (see on Heb 11:37).
2Ki 21:19-26. Amon's Wicked
19-24. Amon was twenty and two years old when he
began to reign—This prince continued the idolatrous policy of
his father; and, after an inglorious reign of two years, he was
massacred by some of his own domestics. The people slew the regicide
conspirators and placed his son Josiah on the throne.