Tuesday, March 22 2011
Manasseh Of Judah
Manasseh (not to be confused with the Israelite patriarch Manasseh; see The Israelite Patriarchs - Manasseh; also Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?), from the Hebrew name pronounced men-awsh-sheh, meaning causing to forget, succeeded his father Hezekiah as king of Judah (see Hezekiah Of Judah).
"20:20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? [see Kings of Israel and Judah]
Manasseh was only twelve years old when his father died, meaning that regents ("someone who rules during the absence, youth or incapacity of a monarch") would have actually reigned until Manasseh became old enough to claim himself as ruler. It was his young age that provided for his long official reign of fifty-five years. Unlike his father Hezekiah however, Manasseh "did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD."
"21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
"He filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon"
Manasseh's reign was one of the most idol-infested of any Israelite king, north or south (see The Northern Kingdom and The Southern Kingdom). Despite the warnings from prophets of the LORD (some historians believe that Isaiah was martyred during the reign of Manasseh; see also The Prophets: Isaiah), Manasseh's influence upon the people of Judah was such that he "seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel."
"21:3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal [see also Baal-zebub and Beelzebub], and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 21:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. 21:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Ignoring warnings from prophets of the LORD (see What Is A Prophet? and The Prophets: North and South) is a certain course for national decline and fall. It literally caused the LORD to wipe them out in due time, "I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down."
"21:10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying, 21:11 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:
Manasseh was also savagely brutal to his own people (a Jewish tradition, which is not recorded in the Bible, maintains that the prophet Isaiah was sawn in two, while alive, during the time of Manasseh). Some later historians have called Manasseh the "Nero" of his own people.
"21:16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled 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." (2 Kings 21:16 KJV)
It was from his own manner of horrendous brutality that the swaggering Manasseh was given to be taken captive (the LORD would never have permitted a righteous king to be captured) by the Assyrians. The King James Version uses the translated term "took Manasseh among the thorns" to refer to the common Assyrian practice of putting a locked hook through the pierced jaw bone of captives from which they were led by a rope, like cattle (Manasseh may also have been "neutered," like an ox, as well - a common practice by the Assyrians, as was blinding, although Manasseh was apparently spared his sight). The RSV renders it as "took Manasseh with hooks." From that, Manasseh "humbled himself greatly" and pleaded for the LORD to save him - which the LORD did, after Manasseh had the Satanic arrogance crushed out of him (a lesson that is going to be repeated with all of the arrogant ones of the world, when their time comes - what they have done to others, is going to be done to them).
"33:10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
Manasseh's return produced some effort to repair the land of the heathen idolatry that Manasseh had inflicted upon it.
"33:14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
At the end of his over half-century reign, Manasseh died "and was buried in the garden of his own house." He was succeeded by his son Amon.
"21:17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 21:18 And Manasseh 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." (2 Kings 21:17-18 KJV)
The corruption of Manasseh cast a long shadow on the Kingdom of Judah. Four kings of Judah later, in the time of King Jehoiakim, the wrath of the LORD upon the still-existing corruption that was planted by Manasseh was yet to be completed, for "came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did."
"24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him. 24:2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.
Even when the Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), in the time of Jeremiah, it was in fulfillment of the Judgment of the LORD that "I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem."
"15:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
Fact Finder: When Judah eventually fell because of its unrepentant corruption, was it nevertheless prophesied that the nation would return, 70 years later?
This Day In History, March 22
337: Roman emperor Constantine died at age 47 (listen to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1349: The Jews of Fulda, Germany, were massacred by the townspeople, who blamed them for the plague known as the "Black Death."
1752: Canada's first newspaper, the Halifax Gazette, was established.
1848: The Venetian Republic declared independence from Austria.
1895: Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures using celluloid film in Paris.
1903: A drought caused Niagara Falls to temporarily stop flowing.
1917: Ironically, in view of subsequent history, the United States became the first country to recognize the communist government of Russia, following the overthrow of the czar (the apparent logic was that the U.S. and Russian revolutions both involved the founding of a republic after the overthrow of a king).
1919: The first international airline service was inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium.
1945: The Arab League, a loose confederation of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, was formed in Cairo for the purpose of securing Arab unity. Others joined later: Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
1946: Britain recognized the independence of the protectorate of Transjordan, known today as the Kingdom of Jordan (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration).
1947: Viscount Louis Mountbatten and his wife Edwina arrived in Delhi; the last viceroy in India, Mountbatten's mission was to bring about independence for India.
1979: The Israeli parliament approved the peace treaty with Egypt.
1993: Intel began marketing the first "Pentium" (80586) computer processors.
1995: Russian Cosmonaut Valeriy Polyakov returned to earth after a record 438 days in orbit.
1997: Comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to Earth.
2004: Ahmed Yassin, a leader of Hamas (a Palestinian Sunni Islamist group) was assassinated (the elderly, blind quadriplegic was in his wheelchair, being taken out of morning prayers, when killed) in the Gaza Strip by Israeli helicopter-fired missiles; nine nearby civilians ("collateral damage") were also killed.