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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And he did that which was evil.—Perhaps under the pernicious influence of his courtiers. (Comp. the case of Rehoboam.)
The heathen . . . cast.—The nations . . . dispossessed—i.e., the peoples of Canaan (2Kings 17:8).2 Kings 21:2. He did evil in the sight of the Lord — Through his own vicious inclinations, and the instigation of the wicked princes of Judah, who in Hezekiah’s time were secret enemies to the reformation which he was endeavouring to effect; and now, when the restraint which they had been under was removed by his death, broke forth into open hostility against it, and corrupted the king’s tender years with their wicked counsels. After the abominations of the heathen — It had been his father’s first care to root all idolatry out of his kingdom, and to restore the service of the temple to its pristine order and splendour. But this his graceless son, on the contrary, made it his study to banish religion and morality out of the country, to revive the old idolatry, and to introduce new and unheard-of idols and ceremonies; besides witchcraft, sorceries, and every wicked custom that was used among the heathen far and near. Baal became now the favourite object of his worship: Moloch and the valley of Hinnom were now more frequented than ever; the impious king encouraging his impious subjects to sacrifice their children there, as Ahaz had done before. He did not, however, pass unpunished for these offences: but for the particulars of his punishment, which are not mentioned in this book, the reader must be referred to 2 Chronicles 33:11, &c. See Dodd.2 Chronicles 24:17-18; Jeremiah 8:1-2). They seem to have persuaded him, not only to undo Hezekiah's work, but to proceed to lengths in polytheism, magic, and idolatry, unknown before. The sins of Manasseh's reign appear to have been those which filled up the measure of Judah's iniquity, and brought down the final sentence of doom on the last remnant of the chosen people (2 Kings 23:26; compare Jeremiah 15:4).
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).Did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; partly by the instigation of the wicked princes of Judah, who in Hezekiah’s time were secret enemies to his reformation, and now, when their fetters were knocked off by Hezekiah’s death, break forth into open hostility against it, and corrupt the king’s tender years with their wicked counsel; and principally by his own vicious inclination.
after the abomination of the Heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel: the old Canaanites; he committed idolatry in imitation of them, and as the Phoenicians now did before the children of Israel: the old Canaanites; he committed idolatry in imitation of them, and as the Phoenicians now did.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. after the abominations of the heathen] He followed all the idolatrous practices of the nations of Canaan, but as is said below, in verse 2, it was greater sin in him than in them, because he sinned in spite of knowledge.Verse 2. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Manasseh was too young at the death of his father for his character to have been then definitively formed. He probably fell under the influence of the "princes of Judah," who, supported by many of the priests, had maintained themselves as a party antagonistic to Isaiah during the whole of Hezekiah's reign. Hezekiah's reformation had been carried out against their wishes. They had always leant towards foreign alliances (Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 30:1-7) and foreign rites (Isaiah 2:6-9; Isaiah 65:3). The accession of a boy-king would be joyfully hailed by them, and they would make every effort to draw him to their side. It would seem that they were successful. After the abominations of the heathen - the details which follow in vers. 3-9 sufficiently explain this strong expression - whom the Lord east out before the children of Israel. It was solely because of their abominations that they were east out (see Genesis 15:16; Leviticus 18:25; Leviticus 20:23; Deuteronomy 9:5; Deuteronomy 18:12, etc.).
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