And the LORD spoke by his servants the prophets, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)By His servants the prophets . . .—This general expression is used because the historian found no name assigned in his source. It is possible that Isaiah was still living under Manasseh, and protested in the manner here described against his apostacy. More probably, however, the protests in question were those of that great prophet’s disciples: the style is not Isaiah’s. 2Chronicles 33:18 refers to the history of the kings of Israel for “the words of the seers who spake to Manasseh; “and the originality of the language in 2Kings 21:13 might be held to favour the view that we have in 2Kings 21:11-15, an extract from that work embodying the authentic oracle of a contemporary prophet. (So Ewald.) But it appears much more likely that the passage before us is a sort of résumé of the substance of many such prophetic addresses.2 Chronicles 33:19, margin), who perhaps wrote a life of Manasseh.
saying: as follows.And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10–15. God’s message of punishment (2 Chronicles 33:10)
10. the Lord spake] The Chronicler says God’s warnings were sent both to the king and to his people but they would not hearken.Verse 10. - And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying. It is uncertain who were the prophets of Manasseh's time. Probably Isaiah was one of them (see ' Introduction to Isaiah,' p. 3.). Habakkuk is thought to have been another (Keil). Nahum and Zephaniah seem also to belong, in part, to his reign. 2 Kings 18:4), erected altars for Baal and an Asherah, like Ahab of Israel (1 Kings 16:32-33). האשׁרה is the image of Asherah mentioned in 2 Kings 21:7, whereas in the Chronicles the thought is generalized by the plurals לבּעלים and האשׁרות. To these two kinds of idolatry, the idolatrous bamoth and the (true) Baal-and Asherah-worship, Manasseh added as a third kind the worship of all the host of heaven, which had not occurred among the Israelites before the Assyrian era, and was probably of Assyrian or Chaldaean origin. This worship differed from the Syrophoenician star-worship, in which sun and moon were worshipped under the names of Baal and Astarte as the bearers of the male and female powers of nature, and was pure star-worship, based upon the idea of the unchangeableness of the stars in contradistinction to the perishableness of everything earthly, according to which the stars were worshipped not merely as the originators of all rise and decay in nature, but also as the leaders and regulators of sublunary things (see Movers, Phniz. i. pp. 65 and 161). This star-worship was a later development of the primary star-worship of Ssabism, in which the stars were worshipped without any image, in the open air or upon the housetops, by simple contemplation, the oldest and comparatively the purest form of deification of nature, to which the earlier Arabians and the worshippers of the sun among the Ssabians (Zabians) were addicted (cf. Delitzsch on Job 31:26-27), and which is mentioned and forbidden in Deuteronomy 4:19 and Deuteronomy 17:3. In this later form the sun had sacred chariots and horses as among the Persians (2 Kings 23:11), and incense was offered to the stars, with the face turned towards the east, upon altars which were built either upon housetops, as in the case of the Nabataeans (Strabo, xvi. 784), or within the limits of the temple in the two courts (cf. Ezekiel 8:16, also 2 Kings 21:5; 2 Kings 23:12, and 2 Chronicles 33:5; Jeremiah 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5). This burning of incense took place not merely to the sun and moon, but also to the signs of the zodiac and to all the host of heaven, i.e., to all the stars (2 Kings 23:5); by which we are no doubt to understand that the sun, moon, planets and other stars, were worshipped in conjunction with the zodiac, and with this were connected astrology, augury, and the casting of nativities, as in the case of the later so-called Chaldaeans.
(Note: Movers (Phniz. i. p. 65) correctly observes, that "in all the books of the Old Testament which are written before the Assyrian period there is no trace of any (?) star-worship; not that the Phoenician (Canaanitish) gods had not also a sidereal significance, but because this element was only a subordinate one, and the expressions, sun, moon, and stars, and all the host of heaven, which are not met with before, become for the first time common now," - although his proofs of the difference between the Assyrian star-worship and the Phoenician and Babylonian image-worship stand greatly in need of critical sifting.)
This star-worship is more minutely described in 2 Kings 21:4, 2 Kings 21:5. The two verses are closely connected. The מזבּחות וּבנה of 2 Kings 21:4 is resumed in מזב ויּבן in 2 Kings 21:5, and the יי בּבית of 2 Kings 21:4 is more minutely defined in the יי בּית חצרות בּשׁתּי of. 2 Kings 21:5. "In the two courts:" not merely in the outer court, but even in the court of the priests, which was set apart for the worship of Jehovah.
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