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MANASSEH, King of Judah, and Meshullemeth

HUSBAND:
MANASSEH. King of Judah. [CHART A7].
Hezekiah, King of Judah.

Manasseh of Judah was the king of Judah and only son and successor of Hezekiah. He was 12 years old when he began to reign[1]. William F. Albright dated his reign to 687 – 642 BC.[citation needed] Edwin Thiele placed the start of his coregency with Hezekiah in 697/696 BC, with his sole reign beginning in 687/686 and continuing until his death in 643/642 BC.[2]

Government

Though Manasseh reigned so long, comparatively little is known of this king.[citation needed] He reversed the reforms of his father Hezekiah, reinstating pagan worship in the Jerusalem temple, for which he is condemned by the author of Kings.[3] He built altars to false gods all over Israel. His reign may be described as reactionary in relation to his father's; Kings suggests that he may have executed supporters of his father's reforms (2 Kings 16:21).

Later years

A tradition recorded in Chronicles tells that Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon by the king of Assyria. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chronicles 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks" (compare 2 Kings 19:28). The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. According to the Biblical account, God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship HaShem, although there was no reformation.

After a lengthened reign of 55 years (for 10 of which he was co-regent with his father), the longest in the history of Judah, he died and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the City of David, among his ancestors.

Chronological notes

Thiele's dates for Menahem are tied to the dates for his grandson Josiah, who began to reign after the short two-year reign of Amon and reigned 31 years (2 Kings 21:19, 22:1). Josiah's death at the hands of Pharaoh Necho II occurred in the summer of 609 BC.[4] By Judean reckoning that began regnal years in the fall month of Tishri, this would be in the year 610/609 BC. Manasseh's last year, 33 years earlier, then calculates as 643/642 BC. For the length of reign (given as 55 years in 2 Kings 20:21), Thiele assumed non-accession reckoning, as he usually did for coregencies, making 54 "actual" years back to 697/696 BC, when the Hezekiah/Manasseh coregency began. Non-accession reckoning means that the first partial year of a king in office was counted twice, once for him and once for his predecessor, so that one year must be subtracted when measuring spans of time. An analysis of the data for Jeroboam II of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah, both of whom had coregencies, shows that their years were measured in this sense.

Regarding the Hezekiah/Manasseh coregency, Thiele observes Manasseh began his reign when he was 12 years old (2 Kings 21:1), and then comments, "A Hebrew lad when he reached the age of twelve was a "son of the law" and had become gadol. He had then passed from the days of childhood to youth and was considered old enough to concern himself with the serious work of life . . . "it is only to be expected that the king, facing the prospect of the termination of his reign within fifteen years [2 Kings 20:6], would at the earliest moment give the heir-presumptive every advantage of training in leadership."[5]

In other literature

In Rabbinic Literature he is credited with the death of Isaiah.

The deuterocanonical Prayer of Manasseh purports to be a penitential prayer spoken by Manasseh.

WIFE:
Meshullemeth


CHILDREN of Manasseh and Meshullemeth:
  1. Amon, King of Judah. [CHART A7].


SOURCES:

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