|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-9 Young persons generally desire to become their own masters, and to have early possession of riches and power. But this, for the most part, ruins their future comfort, and causes mischief to others. It is much happier when young persons are sheltered under the care of parents or guardians, till age gives experience and discretion. Though such young persons are less indulged, they will afterwards be thankful. Manasseh wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, as if on purpose to provoke him to anger; he did more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed. Manasseh went on from bad to worse, till carried captive to Babylon. The people were ready to comply with his wishes, to obtain his favour and because it suited their depraved inclinations. In the reformation of large bodies, numbers are mere time-servers, and in temptation fall away.
Verse 1. - Manasaeh was twelve years old. Manasseh was thus not born till three years after Hezekiah's dangerous illness, or till the year B.C. 710. Hezekiah may have given him the name in the spirit in which Joseph gave it to his firstborn (Genesis 41:51), because God, in at last blessing him with a son, had "made him forget" his dangerous illness, with the griefs and regrets that accompanied it. "Manasseh" means "Forgetting." When he began to reign - in B.C. 698 or 697, the seventh or eighth year of Sennacherib - and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. So the author of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 33:1) and Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:3. § 2). The reign exceeds in length that of any other King of Judah or Israel. And his mother's name was Hephzibah. "Hephzibah" means "My delight is in her." Isaiah gives it as a name of honor to the restored Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:4). It has been conjectured that, as queen-mother, Hephzibah was regent during her son's minority. But there is no trace of her regency either in Kings or Chronicles.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign,.... So that he was born three years after Hezekiah's recovery from his sickness, and in the seventeenth year of his reign:
and reigned fifty five years in Jerusalem: among which must be reckoned the time of his captivity in Babylon; his reign was the longest of any of the kings of Judah: and his mother's name was Hephzibah; the name the church goes by, and signifies, "my delight or pleasure is in her", Isaiah 62:4, no doubt she was a good woman, or Hezekiah would not have made choice of her for a wife; it is a tradition of the Jews (a), that she was the daughter of Isaiah, whose name, they say, is not mentioned, because so wicked a king was unworthy of such a grandfather.
(a) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Paralipom. fol. 86. F.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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