The Reign of King Manasseh of Judah   1 comment

Above:  King Manasseh of Judah

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART CIV

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2 Kings 21:1-18

2 Chronicles 33:1-20

The Prayer of Manasseh

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For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves…

“Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist,

and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.

Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes,

and let no flower of spring pass by us.

Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.

Let none of us fail to share in our revelry,

everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment,

because this is our portion, and this is our lot.

Let us oppress the righteous poor man;

let us not spare the widow 

nor regard the gray hairs of the aged.

But let our might be our law of right,

for what is weak proves itself to be useless.”

–Wisdom of Solomon 2:1, 6-11, Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002)

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King Hezekiah of Judah (Reigned 729/715-698/687 B.C.E.)

King Manasseh of Judah (Reigned 698/687-642 B.C.E.)

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The evaluation of King Manasseh in 2 Kings 21 is devastating and relentlessly negative.  We read of his idolatry.  We read of the willful idolatry of many subjects, under his leadership.  We read of King Manasseh ordering the executions of many innocent people, thereby, poetically, filling Jerusalem with blood from end to end.  We read more foreshadowing of the Babylonian Exile, too.

The account in 2 Chronicles is probably ahistorical.  The foreign incarceration, with repentance, of King Manasseh is improbable.  Ancient historical records reveal that he, as a vassal of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, may have had to visit Nineveh occasionally and swear loyalty to the new king, though.  The Apocryphal Prayer of Manasseh (most of which constitutes one my favorite canticles in Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979) takes its lead from 2 Chronicles 33:11-13.

My reading of much of the Old Testament convinces me that much of the populations of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah needed no encouragement to commit idolatry.  I recall accounts of pious kings who modeled proper religious behavior.  Those accounts mention that idolatry persisted.  This reality does not negate the criticisms of monarchs who modeled idolatry, of course.

Judah was marching toward its inevitable fate.  That fate was the one generations of subjects had chosen (by their deeds) for the kingdom.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

PROPER 27: THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, SCOTTISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JOHANN VON STAUPITZ, MARTIN LUTHER’S SPIRITUAL MENTOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN CASPAR MATTES, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PAMBO OF NITRIA, AMMONIUS OF SKETE, PALLADIUS OF GALATIA, MARCARIUS OF EGYPT, AND PISHOY, DESERT FATHERS; SAINT EVAGRIUS OF PONTUS, MONK AND SCHOLAR; SAINT MELANIA THE ELDER, DESERT MOTHER; SAINT RUFINUS OF AQUILEIA, MONK AND THEOLOGIAN; SAINT DIDYMUS THE BLIND, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR; SAINT JOHN II, BISHOP OF JERUSALEM; SAINT MELANIA THE YOUNGER; DESERT MOTHER; AND HER HUSBAND, SAINT PINIAN, MONK

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One response to “The Reign of King Manasseh of Judah

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  1. Pingback: Prayer That Does Not Work | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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