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2 Kings 21:1-16

Manasseh’s Reign over Judah

21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 1  His mother 2  was Hephzibah. 21:2 He did evil in the sight of 3  the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations 4  whom the Lord drove out from before the Israelites. 21:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for Baal and made an Asherah pole just like King Ahab of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky 5  and worshiped 6  them. 21:4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my home.” 7  21:5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. 21:6 He passed his son 8  through the fire 9  and practiced divination and omen reading. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits, and appointed magicians to supervise it. 10  He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 11  21:7 He put an idol of Asherah he had made in the temple, about which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. 12  21:8 I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, 13  provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law my servant Moses ordered them to obey.” 21:9 But they did not obey, 14  and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites.

21:10 So the Lord announced through 15  his servants the prophets: 21:11 “King Manasseh of Judah has committed horrible sins. 16  He has sinned more than the Amorites before him and has encouraged Judah to sin by worshiping his disgusting idols. 17  21:12 So this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I am about to bring disaster on Jerusalem and Judah. The news will reverberate in the ears of those who hear about it. 18  21:13 I will destroy Jerusalem the same way I did Samaria 19  and the dynasty of Ahab. 20  I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a plate on both sides. 21  21:14 I will abandon this last remaining tribe among my people 22  and hand them over to their enemies; they will be plundered and robbed by all their enemies, 23  21:15 because they have done evil in my sight 24  and have angered me from the time their ancestors left Egypt right up to this very day!’”

21:16 Furthermore Manasseh killed so many innocent people, he stained Jerusalem with their blood from end to end, 25  in addition to encouraging Judah to sin by doing evil in the sight of the Lord. 26 

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

2 tn Heb “the name of his mother.”

3 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

4 tn Heb “like the abominable practices of the nations.”

5 sn See the note at 2 Kgs 17:16.

6 tn Or “served.”

7 tn Heb “In Jerusalem I will place my name.”

8 tc The LXX has the plural “his sons” here.

9 sn See the note at 2 Kgs 16:3.

10 tn Heb “and he set up a ritual pit, along with conjurers.” The Hebrew אוֹב (’ov), “ritual pit,” refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. In 1 Sam 28:7 the witch of Endor is called a בַעֲלַת אוֹב (baalatov), “owner of a ritual pit.” See H. Hoffner, “Second millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ’OñBù,” JBL 86 (1967), 385-401.

11 tc Heb “and he multiplied doing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord, angering.” The third masculine singular pronominal suffix (“him”) has been accidentally omitted in the MT by haplography (note the vav that immediately follows).

12 tn Heb “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I chose from all the tribes of Israel, I will place my name perpetually (or perhaps “forever”).”

13 tn Heb “I will not again make the feet of Israel wander from the land which I gave to their fathers.”

14 tn Heb “listen.”

15 tn Heb “spoke by the hand of.”

16 tn Heb “these horrible sins.”

17 sn See the note at 1 Kgs 15:12.

18 tn Heb “so that everyone who hears it, his two ears will quiver.”

19 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

20 tn Heb “I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab.” The measuring line and plumb line are normally used in building a structure, not tearing it down. But here they are used ironically as metaphors of judgment, emphasizing that he will give careful attention to the task of judgment.

21 tn Heb “just as one wipes a plate, wiping and turning [it] on its face.” The word picture emphasizes how thoroughly the Lord will judge the city.

22 tn Heb “the remnant of my inheritance.” In this context the Lord’s remnant is the tribe of Judah, which had been preserved when the Assyrians conquered and deported the northern tribes. See 17:18 and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 269.

23 tn Heb “they will become plunder and spoils of war for all their enemies.”

24 tn Heb “in my eyes.”

25 tn Heb “and also Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he filled Jerusalem from mouth to mouth.”

26 tn Heb “apart from his sin which he caused Judah to commit, by doing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

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