But they listened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Seduced them.—Led them astray. Chronicles renders the same verb made them to err.
To do more evil.—To do the evil more . . . The LXX. adds: “in the eyes of Jehovah.” The idolatry of Judah was worse than that of the Canaanites, because they worshipped only their national gods, whereas Judah forsook its own God and was ready to adopt almost any foreign cultus with which it was brought into contact (Jeremiah 2:11).2 Kings 21:9-10. Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations, &c. — Partly, because they were not contented with those idols which the Canaanites worshipped, but either invented, or borrowed from other nations, many new idols; and partly, because as their light was far more clear, their obligations to God infinitely higher, and their helps against idolatry much stronger than the Canaanites had; so that their sins, though the same in kind, were unspeakably worse in respect of these dreadful aggravations. The Lord spake by his servants the prophets — Abarbinel says, that Hosea, Joel, Nahum, and Habakkuk, all prophesied in his days: and some think Obadiah also, and Isaiah.Jeremiah 7:18, Jeremiah 7:31; Ezekiel 23:37; Zephaniah 1:5. The corruption of morals kept pace with the degradation of religion. Compare 2 Kings 23:7; Zephaniah 3:1-3; Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 5:1.
only if they will observe, &c.—This condition was expressed from the first plantation of Israel in Canaan. But that people not only did not keep it, but through the pernicious influence of Manasseh, were seduced into greater excesses of idolatrous corruption than even the original Canaanites.
and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel: he set up more idols, and drew the people into more and greater idolatries, than the old Canaanites; and these were the more aggravated by having a law given to them, and prophets sent to instruct them in it, and by the benefits and blessings bestowed upon them by the lawgiver, which laid them under greater obligations to him; see Jeremiah 2:11.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than &c.] R.V. to do that which is evil more than, &c. The R.V. represents the Hebrew more closely. The phrase in Chronicles is ‘to err and to do worse than the heathen’. For Judah sinned against light and knowledge.Verse 9. - But they hearkened not. The people, and not Manasseh alone, were disobedient. Had they remained faithful, Manasseh's sin would not have affected their future. And Manasseh seduced them. The influence of a young and gay king, always great, is in the East immense. When such a king succeeds one of strict and rind principles, he easily carries away the multitude with him, and leads them on to any excess of profligacy and irreligion. The beginnings of sin are delightful, and the votaries of pleasure, readily beguiled into evil courses, know not where to stop. Manasseh seduced them, we are told, to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel; that is, than the Hivites, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Gergashites, and Jebusites (Deuteronomy 7:1, etc.). The sin of Israel exceeded that of the Canaanitish nations, not so much in any outward and tangible features, as in the fact that it was committed against light, in spite of the Law, and against all the warnings and denunciations of the prophets (comp. 2 Kings 17:13, 14). 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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