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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
Verse 3. - For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed (comp. 2 Kings 18:4, 22). On the high-place worship, see the comment upon 1 Kings 14:23. It is quite clear that the people were deeply attached to it, and gladly saw it restored. And he reared up altars for Baal; i.e. he reintroduced the Phoenician Baal-worship, the special abomination of the house of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31; 1 Kings 22:53; 2 Kings 8:18, 27, etc.), which Athaliah had been the first to introduce into Judah (2 Kings 11:18), which Joash had put away (2 Kings 11:18), but which Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:2) had recalled. And made a grove; literally, an Asherah, or emblem of Astarte (compare the comment on 1 Kings 14:23) - as did Ahab King of Israel (see 1 Kings 16:33) and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. The worship the host of heaven, or the entire multitude of the heavenly bodies, commonly known as Sabaeanism or Ssabianism, was an ancient Babylonian, Arabian, and Syrian practice. It had, perhaps, been introduced among the Jews by Ahaz (2 Kings 23:12). At any rate, it was from the time of Manasseh one of the favorite idolatries of the Jewish people. The stars were believed to guide the destiny of men, and astrology was cultivated as a main part, or even as the essence, of religion. Astrological tracts form an important element in the literature of the Babylonians (see' Records of the Past,' vol. 1. pp. 153-163). The chief objects of adoration in this worship were the sun and moon, the five planets, and the signs of the zodiac.
And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
Verse 4. - And he built altars in the house of the Lord. He created, i.e., altars to other gods in the very temple of Jehovah (see ver. 5). This was a pollution beyond any that either Athaliah or Ahaz had ventured on. Of which the Lord had said, In Jerusalem will I put my Name (see 1 Kings 8:29; 1 Kings 9:3; 1 Kings 14:21). Where Jehovah "put his Name," making the place his, and condescending, in a certain sense, to dwell there, it might at least have been expected that he would not find himself confronted with rivals.
And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
Verse 5. - And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. The temple of Solomon had two courts only, an inner and an outer. The outer court was for the people, the inner for the priests and Levites. Manasseh desecrated the temple to the extent of setting up in each of these two courts an idolatrous altar, dedicated to the worship of the host of heaven. In the inner court his altar was a rival to the great brazen altar of Solomon (1 Kings 9:64; 2 Chronicles 4:1), which Ahaz had for a time removed from its place in front of the porch (2 Kings 16:14), but which Hezekiah had most certainly reinstated.
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.
Verse 6. - And he made his son pass through the fire. The author of Chronicles says, "his sons" (2 Chronicles 33:6); but this is, perhaps, rhetorical. It was usually the eldest son, who, as the most precious possible offering, was sacrificed to Moloch (see 2 Kings 3:27; 2 Kings 16:3; and, for the true nature of the sacrifice, see the comment on this latter passage). And observed times. If this translation is right, the reference would be to a superstitious regard for lucky and unlucky days, such as we note in the accounts left of themselves by the Baby-Ionian kings, who begin their buildings "in a happy month, on an auspicious day" (see the author's 'Herodotus,' vol. 2. p. 487). But probably the true meaning is, "he exercised βασκανία," or, "had regard to the evil eye," a common superstition in the East. And used enchantments. A use of spoils is perhaps intended, such as those by which serpents (נֶחָשִׁים) were charmed (see the comment on Isaiah 47:9). And dealt with familiar spirits and wizards - rather, he placed in office necromancers (literally, a necromancer) and wizards; i.e. he gave such persons official positions at his court, instead of putting them to death, as the Law (Leviticus 20:27) required - he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger; literally, he multiplied to work wickedness; i.e. he sought out every possible way; he not only restored all the different kinds of heathen sacrifices and idolatrous customs which had been in use under Ahaz, but carried his opposition to Jehovah a great deal further. As Ewald says ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 208), "He endeavored to become acquainted with all the heathen religions he could find and introduce them into Judah. For this purpose he sent into the most distant lands where there was any famous cultus, and grudged no pains for his one object."
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:
Verse 7. - And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house. He introduced into the temple, and set up there for adoration, an elaborately wrought Asherah, or "sacred tree," probably copied from the elaborate sacred trees of the Assyrians ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 236). These had, in the center, the essential stele, or pillar, ornamented with rams' horns, symbols of fecundity, and crowned with a representation of a palm tree, the whole being encircled by a framework of metal, twined about it, and throwing out from the circumference, at intervals, either palms or blossoms, or in some instances pomegranates or fir-cones. All the parts represented either animal or vegetable productiveness. 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 the tribes of Israel, will I put my Name forever. It was the extremest aggravation of Manasseh's wickedness that he was not content to introduce his new religions into the land in other places, but brought them to God's special city which he had chosen, namely, Jerusalem, and there established them, not on the opposite hills, as Solomon had done (1 Kings 11:7), or in a rival temple within the walls, as had been done by Athaliah (2 Kings 11:18), but within God's holy temple itself. In each of the two courts he placed an idolatrous altar, whereon the people were invited to deposit their offerings; and probably in the temple building itself, perhaps in the very holy of holies, he placed that lust-exciting emblem of Astarte, which was the most horrible profanation of all true religion, turning the truth and grace of God into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4). What practical consequences followed on this profanation, we are not distinctly told; but we may readily surmise, especially in the light of 2 Kings 23:7.
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.
Verse 8. - Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers. The writer's argument is that Manasseh, by these impieties, annulled God's promises, brought about the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem, and caused the entire people to be carried off into captivity. The promises of permanence to the city and temple, and of the continued possession of the laud by the people, were, he notes, conditional; and Manasseh, by breaking through the conditions, forfeited them (comp. 2 Kings 24:3). Only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all that my servant Moses commanded them. The words are not taken from any single passage, but express the general sense of numerous passages, as for example of Deuteronomy 4:25-27; Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Psalm 89:28-32; 1 Kings 9:4-9, etc.
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.
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).
And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
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.
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:
Verse 11. - Because Manasseh King of Judah hath done these abominations (comp. ver. 2), and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him (comp. ver. 9). The "Amorites" are put here (as in Genesis 15:16; 1 Kings 21:26; and Amos 2:9, 10) for the Canaanitish nations generally. Next to the Hittites, they were the most important of the seven nations. And hath made Judah also to sin with his idols (see the comment on ver. 9).
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.
Verse 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. "As a sharp discordant note," says Bahr, "pains one's ears, so the news of this harsh punishment shall give pain to all who hear of it." The phrase is one never uttered by any other lips than those of Jehovah (1 Samuel 3:11; Jeremiah 19:3). "It denotes" (Keil) "such a judgment as has never been heard of before, and excites alarm and horror." Not the Jews only, but the other neighboring nations, when they heard of the sufferings endured in the siege (2 Kings 25:8), and the severities exercised upon the king (ver. 7.) and the city (vers. 9, 10) and. the inhabitants (ver. 11), would have a thrill of pain go through them at the hearing, partly unselfish, partly perhaps selfish, since the treatment that was dealt out to others might also be reserved for them.
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.
Verse 13. - And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria; i.e. "I will do to Jerusalem as I have done to Samaria; I will execute upon it a similar judgment." God applies his measuring-line, a perfectly uniform standard, to all nations, as to all individuals, and metes out to them an equal measure of justice. Jerusalem will be presently treated as Samaria has been recently treated; and a similar destruction will overtake it. The metaphor is not to be pressed, as if cities were destroyed with as much care as they are built, by constant use of the measuring-line and the plummet. And the plummet of the house of Ahab. The justice meted out to the house of Ahab shall be meted out also to the house of David. The ways of God are equal (Ezekiel 18:25), and he is no" respecter of persons." He has one law for all; and, as the house of David has sinned in the same way, and to the same extent, as the house of Ahab had sinned, one and the same punishment will fall upon both of them. And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. Jerusalem will be emptied, as a man empties his dish of the refuse scraps remaining on it, and will be then put away, as done with. The metaphor expresses contempt as well as condemnation.
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;
Verse 14. - And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance. "The remnant" here is not the remnant left of Judah after the deportation of two hundred thousand souls by Sennacherib (as in 2 Kings 19:4), but the remnant that is left of the whole people of Israel - the two tribes as distinct from the ten. The ten tribes were forsaken when the Assyrians took and destroyed Samaria (2 Kings 17:18, 23); the two remained. Now the two also would be forsaken, and the last remnant of God's inheritance cast out. And deliver them into the hand of their enemies. Not the Chaldeans only, who were not yet "their enemies," but their persistent and inveterate enemies, the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites (see 2 Kings 24:2), and Edomites (Ezekiel 25:12; Joel 3:19), who all joined with Nebuchadnezzar at the last, and (as Ewald says, 'History of Israel,' vol. 4. p, 270) "indulged their ancient hatred by taking a very active part in the final war." And they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies (comp. Jeremiah 41:2-10; Jeremiah 48:27; Obadiah 1:10-14; Zephaniah 2:8, etc.). The years which immediately followed the Captivity were years of terrible suffering to the remnant whom Nebuchadnezzar left in the land (2 Kings 25:12). Every petty power in the neighborhood felt itself at liberty to make incursions with Judaea at its pleasure, to plunder and ravage, and drive off cap-tires, or massacre them in cold blood, or commit, any other atrocity. Some critics regard the description of Isaiah in 2 Kings 42:22-24 as prophetic of these sufferings.
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.
Verse 15. - Because they have done that which was evil in my sight. The chief sins of the people were the following: Altars for the worship of the host of heaven were erected upon almost every roof (Jeremiah 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5); offerings of cakes were made in the very streets to Astarte (Jeremiah 7:18); the fire of Tophet - a huge furnace in the valley of Hinnom - was kept constantly burning, and the sacrifice of innocent children to the bloody sun-god, Moloch, was perpetual (Jeremiah 7:31; Ezekiel 23:37); it was as common to swear by the name of Moloch as by that of Jehovah (Zephaniah 1:5). Lascivious rites were practiced. Close by the temple the unchaste priestesses of Venus had their habitations, and their wretched male attendants, the Galli of the classical writers, plied their trade (2 Kings 23:7). Cruelty and oppression increased among the upper classes (Zephaniah 3:1-3); the prophets were "light and treacherous persons;" the priests "polluted the sanctuary, and did violence to the Law" (Zephaniah 2:1-3). "Spoiling and violence," "strife and contention;" were rife throughout the city (Habakkuk 1:3). Ewald sums up the state of things as follows: "The atmosphere of the age was poisoned from above; and the leaders of the people of every class, whose moral decline had already become a subject of lament in the preceding century, sank into an almost incredible degeneracy. The prophets, who ought to have been ever the most loyal guardians of the truth, were for the most part like dumb and greedy dogs; many of the priests allowed themselves to be seduced into offering heathen sacrifices; the judges and nobles paid little heed to the eternal right. Equivocation and hypocrisy spread among those who ought to have ministered most austerely to public truthfulness of life; while those who were engaged in commerce and trade sank into the harshest indifference to every higher aim, and thought only of the acquisition and enjoyment of wealth. So terrible was the demoralization which set in under Manasseh, that those who remained faithful to the ancient religion were either scoffed at as fools, or allowed to perish in cold contempt without any effort being made to save them, and were even derided after their death." And have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. The moral and spiritual depravity of Judah, though it only came to a head in the time of Manasseh, had its roots in a long-distant past. As St. Stephen pointed out to the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:39-43), it began in the wilderness with the worship of the golden calf, and went on to the worship of the host of heaven, of Moloch, and of Remphan; it was shown markedly in the terrible sin of Peer (Numbers 25:1-3); it stinted God's hand when the nations had to be driven out from Canaan (Judges 2:1-5); it provoked God's anger greatly during the whole period of the Judges (Judges 2:11-19); checked under David and Solomon, it broke out afresh on the accession of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:22-24), and showed itself, more or less, under every subsequent king, culminating at last in that fearful condition of things which has been described above (see the comment on the first clause of this verse).
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.
Verse 16. - Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much. We must not understand this of his own offerings to Moloch, for these have been already put on record against him (ver. 6), and this is something additional (note the strong expression, וְגַם), nor even of the multitudinous sacrifices of the same kind which were the result of his influence on the people. Some culminating horror is required, something not touched upon before, and something specially attaching to the monarch himself. These conditions are answered by supposing a bloody persecution of the faithful to be intended. Josephus declares positively that Manasseh "cruelly put to death all the righteous among the Hebrews, and did not even spare the prophets" ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:3. § 1). A tradition, very widely received, declared Isaiah to have been one of the victims ('Gemara Jebam.,' 4:13; 'Sanhedr.,' f. 103; Tertullian, 'De Patientia,' § 14; Augustine, 'De Cir. Dei,' 18:24, etc.). Stanley says, "A reign of terror commenced against all who ventured to resist the reaction. Day by day a fresh batch of the prophetic order were ordered for execution. It seemed as if a devouring lion were let loose against them. From end to end of Jerusalem were to be seen traces of their blood. The nobles who took their part were thrown headlong from the rocky cliffs of Jerusalem" ('Lectures on the Jewish Church,' pt. 2. p. 492). The persecution has been compared to that of Anglicans under Mary Tudor. Till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another - i.e. "till he had filled it with blood and slaughter" (comp. 2 Kings 24:4) - beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord (see ver. 9).
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?
Verse 17. - Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh. Important additions to the history of Manasseh are made by the writer of Chronicles. From him we learn that, after prophetical warnings had been in vain addressed to him and to his people (2 Chronicles 33:10), he was visited with a Divine judgment, an Assyrian army under "captains" being sent against him, who took him prisoner, and carried him to Babylon - the city where Esarheddon, the successor of Sennacherib, and contemporary of Manasseh, ordinarily held his court. Here he remained for some considerable time "in affliction" (ver. 12), and, becoming convinced of sin and deeply penitent for his manifold transgressions, he turned to God in sincerity and truth, and being restored by the Assyrians to his kingdom, he put away the idolatrous practices and emblems which he had previously introduced, "repaired the altar of the Lord" which had gone to decay, and re-established, so far as he could, the worship of Jehovah (ver. 16). A special prophet, Hosai, seems to have chronicled his sins and his repentance in a work which survived the Captivity, and is twice quoted by the compiler of the Books of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 33:18, 19). The submission of Manasseh to Esarhaddon is noted in the latter's annals, about the year B.C. 680 (see 'Eponym Canon,' p. 139, line 13). Other "acts" of Manasseh were the fortification of Jerusalem "on the west side of Gihon in the valley" the strengthening of the defenses of Ophel, and the occupation with strong garrisons of the various fortresses within his dominions. He thus played his part of tributary ally to Assyria With zeal, placing the south-eastern frontier in an excellent condition to resist the assaults of Egypt. Manasseh outlived Esarhaddon, and was for many years contemporary with Asshur-bani-pal, his son, whose inscriptions, however, contain no mention of him. Most likely his name occurred on Cylinder C, line 3, which is now illegible (see G. Smith's' History of Asshur-bani-pal,' p. 31,line c). 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? The "sin which he sinned" is probably his persecution, which was viewed as his worst sin (see ver. 16; and comp. 2 Kings 24:4).
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.
Verse 18. - And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house. We have already seen reason for believing that the catacomb of David was full, and that Hezekiah was buried outside it, though in the neighborhood, on this account (see the comment on 2 Kings 20:21). Manasseh seems to have made a new family tomb in a garden belonging to his house (see ver. 26; and comp. 2 Kings 23:30). It is quite impossible to fix its site. In the garden of Uzza. Probably an addition to the old palace garden; perhaps a purchase made by Manasseh with the object of converting it into a burial-ground. "Uzza," or "Uzzah," was a common name among the Jews (2 Samuel 6:8; Ezra 2:49; Nehemiah 7:51; 1 Chronicles 6:29; 1 Chronicles 8:7; 1 Chronicles 13:7-11), and does not point to any definite individual. And Amen his son reigned in his stead. "Amon" in Hebrew means "Nursling," or "Darling," and it is quite possible that Manasseh gave his son the name in this sense. But it is also the ordinary Hebrew form of the term ("Amen," or "Amun") by which the Egyptians designated the great god of Thebes, whom the Greeks and Romans called "Ammon." It has therefore been thought by many that it was given by Manasseh to his son "in an idolatrous spirit." So Bishop Cotton in Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. 1. p. 61, and others.
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.
Verses 19-26. - REIGN OF AMON. The short reign of Amen, the son and successor of Manasseh, was distinguished by only two events:
(1) his restoration of all the idolatrous and wicked practices which his father had upheld during the earlier portion of his reign; and
(2) his untimely death, in consequence of a conspiracy which was formed against him among the officers of his court. The writer of Kings is therefore able to dispatch his history in eight verses. Verse 19. - Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign. So Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:4. § 1), and the author of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 33:21). He must have been born in B.C. 664, early in the reign of Asshur-bani-pal, probably in the year of that monarch's expedition against Tyro. And he reigned two years in Jerusalem. The "twelve years" assigned to Amen By the Duke of Manchester ('Times of Daniel') are wholly devoid of foundation, and would throw the entire chronology into confusion. As it is, there is a very exact accordance in this part of the history between the profane and the scriptural dates. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. Jotbah is probably the same city as the "Jotbath" of Deuteronomy 10:7, and the "Jotbathah" of Numbers 33:33, which was in the neighborhood of Ezion-geber, and therefore probably in the Arabah. Josephus, however, says that Jot-bah was "a city of Judah."
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.
Verse 20. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did (comp. 2 Chronicles 33:22, and Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:4. § 1).
And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:
Verse 21. - And he walked in all the way that his father walked in. There was not a single one among the early wickednesses of Manasseh which Amen did not imitate. The details of Josiah's reformation (2 Kings 23:4-24) show that under Amon
(1) the Asherah or "grove" maintained its place in the temple building;
(2) the two idolatrous altars stood in the two courts;
(3) the temple was the scene of the worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and the host of heaven;
(4) the unchaste priestesses of the Syrian goddess, with the male partners in their guilt, were lodged in houses close by the house of the Lord;
(5) chariots and horses dedicated to the sun were maintained at one of the temple gates;
(6) the fire of Tophet burnt continually in the valley of Hinnom, and children were there "passed through the fire to Moloch;"
(7) an idolatrous worship held possession of all the high places all ever Judaea and Samaria, and idolatrous priests, deriving their appointment from the king, burnt incense in the high places to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and all the host of heaven; and
(8) magic and necromancy were practiced openly under royal sanction throughout the length and breadth of the land. And served the idols that his father served - as Baal, Ashtoreth, Moloch, the Asherah, and others - and worshipped them.
And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.
Verse 22. - And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers. Other kings, as Ahaz, had made a sort of compromise between the worship of Jehovah and idolatry (2 Kings 16:10-15). Manasseh and Amen forsook the worship of Jehovah altogether. And walked not in the way of the Lord; i.e. did not even maintain an outward observance of the Law of Moses, but set it wholly aside.
And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
Verse 23. - And the servants of Amon - i.e. his attendants, the officers of his court - conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house. Conspiracies in the palace, frequent in Israel (see 1 Kings 16:9; 2 Kings 9:32-37; 2 Kings 11:10, 25, 30), were not unknown in Judah (see 2 Kings 12:21). They naturally arose from various causes, as insults, injuries, hopes of advantage, ambition, etc. Where, as in the present case, no clue is given, it is idle to conjecture the motives by which the conspirators were actuated. Religious motives can scarcely have come into play.
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.
Verse 24. - And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against King Amon. We certainly, therefore, cannot attribute Amon's murder to a popular reaction against his idolatries. Everything unites to prove that the foreign worships were in favor with the people at this period, and that the kings who patronized them were more generally popular than those who pursued the opposite course. And the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead. The prestige of the house of David was still strong. The conspirators may have intended a change of dynasty; but the mass of the people could not contemplate with equanimity the occupation of the throne by a stranger - one not of David's house. They there, in a tumultuary manner, having punished the conspirators with death, sought out the true heir, and, having found him, though he was a boy of but eight years of age, placed him upon his father's throne (comp. 2 Chronicles 33:25).
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?
Verse 25. - Now the rest of the acts of Amen which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? No other acts of Amen have come down to us. He was probably, during his short reign of two years, a submissive tributary of Asshur-bani-pal.
And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 26. - And he was buried in his sepulcher in the garden of Uzza - i.e. in the same place as his father (see ver. 18) - and Josiah his son reigned in his stead. So the writer of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 33:25), and Josephus (l.s.c.)