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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 21

 

 

Verse 1

2 Kings 21:1 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.

Ver. 1. Manasseh was twelve years old.] He was born three years after his father’s great recovery, [2 Kings 20:6] and about twenty-four years after the ruin of the kingdom of Israel, [2 Kings 18:2; 2 Kings 18:10] till at length Ephraim was utterly broken from being a people; [Isaiah 7:8 Ezra 4:2; Ezra 4:10] much about the time that Manasseh was taken among the thorns, and carried captive to Babylon. [2 Chronicles 33:11]

And reigned.] Hence some conclude that he was not long a prisoner, because no reckoning is made of his captivity, but he is said nevertheless to have reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.

Fifty and five years.] This is the longest reign we read of in the holy history. Length of days is no true rule of God’s favour.

And his mother’s name was Hephzibah.] (a) Who was daughter to the prophet Isaiah, say the Hebrews; but that is uncertain. She was a good woman, likely, because Hezekiah’s wife: and therefore Manasseh’s sin was the greater, because he came of so godly parents.


Verse 2

2 Kings 21:2 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.

Ver. 2. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord.] Drawn thereunto, likely, by his young courtiers and evil counsellors: as young lapwings are apt to be snatched up by every buzzard. Little did good Hezekiah - when he was so loath to die because he had no son to succeed him - think, what a son he should leave behind him. The Rabbis fable, that Isaiah, coming on a time to visit Hezekiah, told him that his son Manasseh there present should prove a great persecutor of the prophets, and of himself in particular: and that hereupon Hezekiah would have slain Manasseh, but that the prophet held and hindered him.


Verse 3

2 Kings 21:3 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.

Ver. 3. He built up again the high places, &c.] Which he, perhaps, was persuaded to believe to be the old religion, and therefore by all means to be restored. The Papist’s plea: τα γαρ καινα κενα..

And he reared up altars for Baal.] Like his grandfather Ahaz, [2 Chronicles 28:2] into whom Manasseh degenerateth; as if there had been no intervention of a Hezekiah. So we have seen the kernel of a well-fruited plant degenerate into that crab or willow which gave the original to his stock.

And made a grove.] Ahab-like, from whom, by wicked Athaliah, he was lineally descended. Sic partus sequitur ventrem.

And worshipped all the host of heaven.] Forgetting what had been done for his father by that host, when the sun, for his sake, went ten degrees backward: and so making good the import of his name Manasseh, which signifieth Forgetfulness.


Verse 4

2 Kings 21:4 And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.

Ver. 4. And he built altars in the house of the Lord.] Ahaz-like. [2 Kings 16:18] See on 2 Kings 21:3.


Verse 5

2 Kings 21:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

Ver. 5. In the two courts of the house of the Lord.] Both in the priests’ court, and in the people’s also, poured he forth his whoredoms: as being acted and agitated by a spirit of fornication, an impetus to idolatry. He was worse than his contemporary Numa, king of Romans, who filled the people’s heads with all sorts of superstitions, and so increased the number of the gods, that he left no room for himself to be placed amongst them, as Augustine saith wittily. (a)


Verse 6

2 Kings 21:6 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.

Ver. 6. And he made his son to pass through the fire.] Yea, more than one of his children. [2 Chronicles 21:6] See 2 Kings 16:3.

And observed times.] Vacabat arti ariolandi et auguriis, he was both a soothsayer and a sorcerer. By the position of stars and flying of birds, he took upon him to divine and to foretell future contingents. (a)

And dealt with familiar spirits.] He ordained that there should always be somebody possessed with such a kind of spirit as should give answers instead of an oracle.

To provoke him to anger.] Deliberately, as it were, and on set purpose, to vex the Lord.


Verse 7

2 Kings 21:7 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:

Ver. 7. And he set a graven image of the grove, &c:] An image with a carved grove about it, [2 Kings 23:6] that not God in the temple, but the devil in the grove, might there be worshipped.


Verse 8

2 Kings 21:8 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.

Ver. 8. According to all that I have commanded them,] viz., In the moral law: of which God might say, as once Joseph did to his brethren in another case, "Behold, your eyes see that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you," [Genesis 45:12] and as Paul to Philemon, [Philemon 1:19] "I," the Lord, "have written it with mine own hand."

And according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded.] The ceremonial and judicial laws.


Verse 9

2 Kings 21:9 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.

Ver. 9. But they hearkened not.] Nothing is more stupid than idolaters; they have ears but hear not, &c.

To do more evil than did the nations.] Whom they out-sinned: and were therefore worse than heathens, because they should have been better.


Verse 10

2 Kings 21:10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying,

Ver. 10. And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets.] Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Nahum, Micah, &c, one or other of whom Manasseh martyred every day, saith Josephus. (a) Isaiah he sawed asunder with a wooden saw, &c.


Verse 11

2 Kings 21:11 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:

Ver. 11. Above all that the Amorites did.] Noluit solita peccare, et puduit eum non esse impudentem. (a) Such a profligate wicked person was Julian the apostate called by some Idolian: and Pope John XII, of whom Luitprand writeth that he ordained ministers in a stable, drank a health to the devil, called to Jove, Venus, and other heathen deities for help at his dice playing, died in his harlot’s embracings, being struck to death by the devil, &c. (b)


Verse 12

2 Kings 21:12 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.

Ver. 12. Therefore thus saith the Lord.] God loveth to signify beforehand, saith the historian, and he therefore threateneth that he may not punish, saith a father.

Both his ears shall tingle.] He shall fall into a swoon through horror and dolor. See 1 Samuel 3:11.


Verse 13

2 Kings 21:13 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.

Ver. 13. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line.] A metaphor from carpenters, who with line and plummet do use to measure and mark out the wood that they intend to hew off or plane. See Isaiah 34:11.

I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish.] Gabatam, a porridge dish, Simili ab arte magirica. Well might God say, "I have also spoken by the prophets, I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes by the ministry of the prophets." [Hosea 12:10]

Wiping it, and turning it upside down.] So I "overturn, overturn, overturn" this whole state. [Ezekiel 21:27]


Verse 14

2 Kings 21:14 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;

Ver. 14. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance.] Which is now unto me "as a speckled bird: the birds round about are against her," &c. [Jeremiah 12:9]

And deliver them into the hand of their enemies.] When God once forsaketh a people, all evils come rushing in upon them, as by a sluice. Saul’s doleful complaint was, "God hath forsaken me, and the Philistines are upon me." [1 Samuel 28:15] See Hosea 9:12. {See Trapp on "Hosea 9:12"}


Verse 15

2 Kings 21:15 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.

Ver. 15. Since the day that their fathers, &c.] This hath been their custom from their youth. See it all along [Ezekiel 20:1-49]


Verse 16

2 Kings 21:16 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.

Ver. 16. Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very much.] This tiger laid hold with his teeth on all the excellent spirits of his time, as one (a) well saith of Tiberius Stimulatus est ab insurgente diabolo, saith an ancient, He was spurred on by that old man-slayer the devil, to murder the prophets and other godly people that disliked his sinful courses. Epiphanius saith that the prophet Isaiah suffered death under him; and the Rabbis tell us why: sc., because (1.) He said he had seen the Lord upon his throne; [Isaiah 6:1] and, (2.) Because he called the great ones of Judah princes of Sodom and rulers of Gomorrah. [Isaiah 1:10] (b) More likely it was for his bold inveighing against the sins of both the king and people, calling them {as Isaiah 57:3} witches’ children, and a bastardly brood; as "Esaias was very bold," saith St Paul. [Romans 10:20]

Till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.] A metaphor from vessels brim full: or from a flood that overfloweth all. And now "how was the faithful city become a harlot! it was full of judgment," sc., in good Hezekiah’s days "righteonsness lodged in it, but now murderers," Manasseh and his bloody assassins. [Isaiah 1:21]

Besides his sin.] His idolatry, whereto he first persuaded the people, and afterwards compelled them: so did Julian.


Verse 17

2 Kings 21:17 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?

Ver. 17. And his sin that he sinned.] Those prodigies of sins afore mentioned, and hardly to be matched in any man, unless it were Nero, that bloody monster: after all which, Manasseh is a convert. Affliction tamed this wild ass, and stopped him in his career; yea, brought him home to God. The viper, when he is lashed, casteth up his poison; the traitor, when he is racked, telleth the truth, which else he had never uttered, &c.


Verse 18

2 Kings 21:18 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.

Ver. 18. And was buried in the garden of his own house.] By his own appointment likely, in his last will and testament, (a) as holding himself unworthy, for his former abominations, to be buried in the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. This holy "indignation" and "revenge" is that poor piece of satisfaction which we can give to divine justice. The old interpreter (b) rendereth απολογιαν, [2 Corinthians 7:11] satisfaction. It may be he meant, saith Mr Bradford, martyr, a new life, to make amends thereby to the congregation offended.

In the garden of Uzzah.] That had formerly belonged to Uzzah, or that was planted in the place where Uzzah was smitten for touching the ark. [2 Samuel 6:7] Some think that Uzzah is here put for Uzziah, that leprous king, who was here buried, [2 Chronicles 26:23] and Manasseh would be buried with him.


Verse 19

2 Kings 21:19 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.

Ver. 19. And he reigned two years in Jerusalem.] He was soon cut off for his great wickedness. Some grievous sinners God soon punisheth, lest his providence - but not all, lest his patience and promise of judgment - should be called into question. (a) Glycas saith that Amon hardened himself in sin by his father’s example, who took his swing in sin, and yet at length repented. So, thought he, will I do; wherefore he was soon sent out of the world for his presumption, dying in his sins, as 2 Chronicles 33:23.


Verse 20

2 Kings 21:20 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

Ver. 20. As his father Manasseh did.] He imitated him in his sins, but not in his repentance. I have sinned with Peter, but not repented with Peter, said Stephen Gardiner, dying in despair. Amon humbled not himself as his father did, but increased the guilt. [2 Chronicles 33:23] The Hebrews say that unto all other his sins he added this, that he burnt the books of the law.


Verse 21

2 Kings 21:21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:

Ver. 21. And served the idols.] It was a fault in Manasseh that he had not burnt them.


Verse 22

2 Kings 21:22 And he forsook the LORD God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the LORD.

Ver. 22. And he forsook the Lord.] Though he had been better taught by his father, who had repented, likely, before Amon was born.


Verse 23

2 Kings 21:23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.

Ver. 23. And the servants of Amon conspired.] Probably these had corrupted him as another Joash. [2 Kings 12:20-21]


Verse 24

2 Kings 21:24 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.

Ver. 24. Made Josiah … king.] This was a blessed change; Josiah came as a fresh spring after a sharp winter.


Verse 26

2 Kings 21:26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

Ver. 26. And he was buried.] But not lamented, as his son Josiah afterwards was by all the people.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 21:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-21.html. 1865-1868.

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