King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Kings 21

Wicked reign of Manasseh. (1-9) The prophetic denunciations against Judah. (10-18) Wicked reign and death of Amon. (19-26)

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Wicked reign of Manasseh

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.

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.

5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

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.

7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:

8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave 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.

9 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.

The prophetic denunciations against Judah

10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

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:

12 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.

13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem 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.

14 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;

15 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.

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.

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?

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.

Wicked reign and death of Amon

19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.

20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

22 And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.

23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.

24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Twelve. Being born three years after his father’s recovery. — Fifty. Including the years of captivity.

Ver. 2. Idols. Heb. “abominations,” (C.) as their worship was attended with the greatest infamy and dissolution, and was in itself the source of God’s chastisements. H.

Ver. 3. Groves. Heb. Ashera, “the grove,” or the idol of Astarte, (C.) as both were worshipped. H. — Achab, whom he imitated also in spilling the blood of the saints. M.

Ver. 4. Altars, in honour of the sun, moon, and stars, (H.) in the courts of the priests and of the people. 2 Par. xxxiii. 4.

Ver. 6. Fire, for purification, or as a holocaust to Moloch. See C. xvi. 3. — Divination, or, “he observed times,” Arab. Mont. — Omens. Prot. “used enchantments,” (H.) by means of brass or of serpents, &c. C. — Sept. agrees with the Vulg. “he took notice of birds.” H. — Pythons. That is, diviners by spirits (Ch). particularly by Apollo. He authorized and encouraged such ventriloquists, &c. Lev. xix. 31. — Soothsayers, who inspected the entrails of victims, to foretell future things. C. — Prot. “He dealt with familiar spirits and wizards.” H.

Ver. 7. Of the grove. Heb. “a graven thing of Ashera,” the grove or Astarte, (H.) v. 3. This was an engraving in sculpture of a sacred grove. Sa. C. xxiii. 6. T. — My name. I alone will be adored, and there allow an altar to be erected. H.

Ver. 9. More, because they had received more favours and instructions from above. W.

Ver. 10. Prophets, Joel, Osee, Amos, Nahum, Jonas, Abdias, Micheas, and particularly by Isaias, who was related to the king. T. — Tradition informs us, that Manasses was so irritated, that he ordered Isaias to be slain with a wooden saw, (S. Aug. de C. D. xviii. 24.) for greater torment; (C.) and his companions were daily executed, Joseph. x. 3. — Isaias (xxii. 13.) seems to pronounce his sin irremissible, (C.) or that he should not, at least, escape the punishment of it, as long as he lived. But we are assured that the eyes of Manasses were at last opened by adversity, and that he performed many laudable things after his return from captivity; (2 Par. xxxiii.) so that the latter part of his reign resembled that of his father; though the beginning had been like that of the impious Achab. His coming to the throne so soon, before his pious father could have time to impress upon his mind the truths of salvation, had nearly proved his ruin. The sins of my youth, and my ignorances, remember not, O Lord, Ps. xxiv. 7. H.

Ver. 11. Doings. Heb. “idols,” v. 2. See C. xvii. 12. H.

Ver. 12. Tingle, through astonishment, as if he had been stunned with too loud a sound. 1 K. iii. 11. C.

Ver. 13. The line, or rope, to pull down the walls, Lament. ii. 8. (C.) 2 K. xvii. 13. Jerusalem, which has imitated Samaria in sinning, shall experience the same fate; the same weight of punishment shall fall upon the royal family, as upon the house of Achab. H. — The prophets frequently entitle their menaces a weight, or burden. Isai. xiii. 1. M. — Sept. have, “the balance of the house, &c.” as if God had weighed all the good and evil, and would now reward the people accordingly, (H.) with judgment. D. — Table, or board, covered with wax. The ancients were accustomed to write in this manner with a style which was sharp at one end and blunt at the other. Altera pars revocat quicquid pars altera fecit. ├ćnig. Symponii. When the wax was rendered smooth, no vestige of the former writing could appear, and God threatened to destroy Jerusalem, in like manner. Heb. is variously translated. C. — Sept. “I will wipe out Jerusalem as an alabaster vase is wiped, and turned downwards.” Prot. “as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” H. — Often. 1. Under Manasses; 2. under Josias and Joachaz; 3. under the last kings of Juda. 2 Par. xxiii. &c. T.

Ver. 14. Leave. Sept. “with horror,” apeasomai (H.) “I will cast off.” So Chal. Syr. &c. — Remnants. Juda, &c. who shall be treated like the ten tribes. C. — All shared in the punishment, though some preserved the true religion. Ps. lxxxviii. 35. W.

Ver. 16. Mouth. Chal. “extremity.” All was full of blood, and impure idols, v. 11. — Besides, (absque) “without” mentioning his other scandalous sins of idolatry.

Ver. 17. Sinned. It is rather wonderful that his repentance is not here noticed; but we find it mentioned 2 Par. xxxiii. 12. H. — He was probably taken prisoner by Thartan, general of Sargon, or Asarhaddon, who had reunited the two kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon. Isai. xx. 1. In prison Manasses composed a penitential prayer, which is not absolutely rejected by the Church, but left in the rank of Apocryphal writings; (C.) the authority of which is not clearly ascertained. H. — The Greek church admits this prayer into her Euchologium, (C.) or Office-book. H. — Being liberated, probably by Saosduchin, Manasses did all things well, only he left the high places, where the people had been accustomed to sacrifice to the Lord. Hozai wrote his history. 2 Par. xxxiii. 19.

Ver. 18. Oza, a private man, to whom it had belonged; (M.) or the place where the Levite had been punished for touching the ark; (1 K. vi. 8.) or, in fine, the garden to which king Ozias had retired after he became a leper. C. — It is said, that Manasses chose this place for his tomb out of humility. Grotius.

Ver. 20. Done, in his youth, flattering himself that he should also repent, when he had gratified his passions (Glycas) but God presently chastised this presumption, after suffering him to reign only two years. T.