Lessons from King Manasseh: wickedness and repentance

Hezekiah’s son Manasseh followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, not his father. Having become a co-regent of his father at twelve, he ruled for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. Under him, pagan abominations revived. His name in Hebrew sounded: “Menashe,” which means: consigning to oblivion. It corresponded to the character of his reign: he consigned to oblivion the righteousness of his father.

From the narration that the holy writer makes, it follows: the rule of Manasseh is the most vicious era of the Kingdom of Judah. He restored all the pagan cults that had already been introduced earlier, with impious predecessors, and established new ones (for example, Sabeism – the worship of luminaries). He built altars of this idolatry even in both courts of the Jerusalem temple.

Like Ahaz, Manasseh introduced Israel to the disgusting and terrible cult of Moloch – the Syro-Phoenician and Ammonite idol. It is a copper statue with a bull’s head, human body, and other human limbs. He was empty inside, had his hands down. On them, they put children doomed to him as a sacrifice, burned down from the flame blazing from below. The place of worship for this cult was the valley of Gehinnom, where the word “Gehenna” comes from.

He divined, bewitched, and brought in the summoners of the dead and wizards. According to the reliable ancient legend, King Manasseh was the greatest under King Manasseh; the greatest according to the reliable ancient legend was King Manasseh, the greatest prophet Isaiah. For particular torture, a wooden saw was used, with which the prophet sawed between cedar boards for denouncing the king Manasseh.

The sacred writer of the 4th book of Kings narrates about the reign of Manasseh rather briefly. Still, from a parallel text in the 2nd book of Chronicles (32, 11–20), it is known that the Lord punished the king by delivering him into the hands of the Assyrians: they put Manasseh in shackles, and they bound him with chains and took him to Babylon (2 Chron 33:1).

In captivity, Manasseh repented, asked God for forgiveness, and returned to Judea, where he tried to atone for the consequences of his grave sins: he abolished idolatry, restored Jerusalem and other cities. The other deeds of Manasseh, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the prophets who address to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, are in the account of the kings of Israel (2 Chronicles 33, 18).

We are talking about chronicles that have not come down to us, usually compiled under the kings. Therefore, Manasseh’s prayer of repentance does not preserve in the Hebrew text. It is attributed to us in the Greek Bible and is the non-canonical part of 2 Chronicles chapter 36).

Prayer is an expression of an intense prayer feeling, deep repentance for committed sins, and, therefore, a repentance model. In the Sacrament of Confession rite, these state: “I received the prayer to Manasseh…”

He succeeds by the twenty-two-year-old son Amon, who walked in the ways of wickedness. Two years later, he kills by servants.

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