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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 (2Ki 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).
6. made his son pass through the
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
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.
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
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.
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 REIGN.
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.