Manasseh

MANASSEH (mă-năs’sĕ, Heb. menashsheh, one who forgets)

1. The older son of Joseph, born in Egypt (Gen.41.51). Jacob claimed him and his younger brother Ephraim for his own sons, and when he blessed them he predicted Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh (Gen.48.5, Gen.48.19). Manasseh had a son named Makir, and his descendants made up the tribe of Manasseh. According to 1Chr.7.14 Manasseh also had another son, Asriel. But in Num.26.30 Asriel and his descendants are listed with the sons of Gilead, son of Makir. So probably 1Chr.7.14 means Asriel was Manasseh’s grandson.

2. King of Judah and son of Hezekiah. He was only twelve years old when he came to the throne in 687 b.c. Evidently after the death of his father the orthodox party was considerably weakened. The group in power around the new king were doing away with the religious reforms Hezekiah had made. Manasseh was too young to hinder them. He went along with them. No doubt the people had resented being deprived of the high places, and they rebuilt them the first chance they had after Hezekiah’s death. But Manasseh went way beyond this restoration. Judah was a vassal of Assyria and paid tribute every year. The young king must have been much more impressed by the power of Assyria than by the power of God. He became a fanatical idolater, bringing a whole host of heathen practices into his realm. He built altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole. He worshiped and served the host of heaven—sun, moon, stars, and planets. He built altars to them in the courts of the temple. He also put a heathen altar in the temple and later moved the Asherah pole into this building, which had been dedicated to the true God of Israel (2Kgs.21.1-2Kgs.21.7). He also had horses and chariots dedicated to the sun (2Kgs.23.11).

Much of this idolatry came from Assyria and Babylon, where there was widespread worship of the heavenly bodies. Heathen practices expressly forbidden were introduced into Judah by Manasseh. He made his son pass through the fire, which probably means he sacrificed him to Molech the god of the Ammonites; he practiced soothsaying; he used enchantments or observed omens; he indulged in sorcery; he sponsored ghosts and familiar spirits, that is, persons in touch with the spirit world (2Kgs.21.6; 2Chr.33.6). He persecuted the pious people who were faithful to the Lord, the true God (2Kgs.21.6). Jewish tradition says he sawed the prophet Isaiah in two. All this evil influence set loose in Judah sealed her fate. The subsequent reformation of Josiah could not bring the people back to true worship. Manasseh brought his country to ruin (Jer.15.4).

As a vassal of Assyria this king must have been suspected of disloyalty because he was taken captive by the king of Assyria and carried to Babylon. After a time he repented of his sins and was returned to his throne in Jerusalem, where he tried to undo his evil work (2Chr.33.10-2Chr.33.13, 2Chr.33.15-2Chr.33.17). He also did some building (2Chr.33.14).

Many critics refuse to believe that this episode in the life of Manasseh could be true. If he actually had been taken captive to Babylon, he would never have been sent back, and someone else would have reigned in his place. But in the Assyrian records is a report of Neco, an Egyptian king who was carried captive to Nineveh and later sent back to his throne by Ashurbanipal. This incident, which all critics accept, is almost a parallel case to Manasseh’s experience. The Assyrian king could find no one else to take his place and made him swear to remain loyal to Assyria. Other Assyrian inscriptions prove Judah paid tribute to Assyria during Manasseh’s reign. He is mentioned by name in them. All these inscriptions mentioned are translated in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament.

3. A priest of an idol at Dan (Judg.18.30 kjv, nasb; niv and rsv read “Moses”). The difference in Hebrew between Manasseh and Moses is one letter between the first two consonants of Moses. Some say that since it was thought a disgrace for one with so honored a name as Moses to be guilty of such sacrilege, someone changed the name to Manasseh.

4. One of those who married a foreign woman (Ezra.10.30).

5. Another of those who married a foreign woman (Ezra.10.33).


b



The territory occupied by Manasseh lay on both banks of the Jordan River. On the E bank its territory was farthest N adjacent to Syria and esp. adapted for the raising of cattle. On the W bank it was on the northern and most fruitful area of the mountain of Ephraim. The boundaries of the two sections of Manasseh cannot be drawn with exactness. Eastern Manasseh seems to have extended from the Jabbok to Mount Hermon in the N, and western Manasseh lay N of Ephraim extending to the slopes of Mount Carmel (cf. Josh 17:15). Thirteen cities in the eastern area of Manasseh were assigned to the Levites, and ten in the western section (21:5, 6). Golan, a city of refuge, was in the eastern area of Manasseh. Although Manasseh was larger numerically than Ephraim about the time of the conquest of Canaan, in later times Ephraim surpassed Manasseh in population, wealth, and power. Western Manasseh apparently was never able to dominate completely the Canaanites in its area (17:12; Judg 1:27). See Location of Tribes.


Manasseh eventually lost its identity in becoming assimilated with the people of the new environment after the destruction of the northern kingdom whose gods the Manassites came to worship. The Biblical account emphasizes that the children of Manasseh “transgressed against the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land” (1 Chron 5:25).

In Psalms 4:7 and 108:8 Manasseh is called a most precious possession of God. Ezekiel has a place for the tribe of Manasseh in his picture of the future (Ezek 48:4) and John includes the tribe in his vision described in Revelation 7:6.

3. A king of Judah who reigned from c. 696 b.c. to 641 b.c., a reign of fifty-five years (2 Kings 21:1; 2 Chron 33:1). He was the son and successor of Hezekiah and only twelve years of age at the time of his father’s death. His reign of fifty-five years was the longest in Judah’s history and its events are recorded in 2 Kings 21:1-18 and 2 Chronicles 33:1-20. Judah, during practically the entire reign of Manasseh, was a tribute-paying province of the Assyrians. This situation began under Tiglath-pileser III when the Assyrian came to the help of Ahaz against Pekah of the northern kingdom and Rezin of Syria, and continued so on through the reign of Esarhaddon (c. 681-669 b.c.) and Ashurbanipal (c. 669-630 b.c.). In the Assyrian inscrs. of these kings Manasseh is specifically referred to as a vassal king. Each of these kings invaded and plundered Egypt and Manasseh sent a contingent of troops to aid their armies in these campaigns.

2 Chronicles 33:10-13 describes the arrest of Manasseh and his deportation to Babylon in chains by “the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria.” The Chronicler declares that from the prophetic point of view Manasseh’s arrest and deportation was the result of the judgment of God upon the king’s wickedness (2 Chron 33:9-11). Scholars disagree as to why the Assyrians forced Manasseh to go to Babylon. It may not necessarily have been because of Manasseh’s rebellion against Assyria for which there is no clear evidence. It may have been the way by which the Assyrians forced the Judean king to demonstrate his loyalty as a vassal. This procedure apparently was an Assyrian policy toward vassals whose loyalty was in doubt. Assyrian inscrs. give no specific suspicious act of Manasseh as the reason for his arrest. In Ashurbanipal’s record of his first campaign against Egypt he lists twenty-two vassal kings among whom is Manasseh. A rebellion of serious proportions erupted in 652 b.c. against Ashurbanipal led by his brother Shamash-shumukin of Babylon. The civil war raged for four years and ended with the defeat of Babylon. If Manasseh had been interested in throwing off the yoke of Ashurbanipal this would have been his time for action.

Some scholars find no problem in Manasseh’s journey by coercion to Babylon, followed by his restoration to his throne. The Assyrian records report the parallel case of Pharaoh Necho I who was also one of the royal prisoners of Ashurbanipal and then restored to Egypt.

The Assyrian kings of this period spent much of their time in Babylon. In the course of his imprisonment Manasseh repented of his sins and was restored to his kingdom (2 Chron 33:12, 13). A penitential psalm attributed to Manasseh is included in the apocryphal “Prayer of Manasseh,” prob. from the Maccabean period. It is an attempt to give expression to Manasseh’s repentance and faith at the time of his arrest by the Assyrians. His religious reforms when he was restored were superficial as he did not remove the high places of paganism (2 Chron 33:17). Upon his return from Babylon, Manasseh gave himself to a program of building, measures of defense, and administration besides the religious reforms. Considering his fifty-five year reign very little is known of these activities. His reign was a period of great material prosperity due to his coöperation with the Assyrians. Assyrian records list Manasseh along with other subjects who paid tribute (2 Chron 33:12-19).

The reign of Manasseh is distinguished by his personal responsibility for the religious syncretism of his time which gained him the reputation of being the typical evil king of Judah. According to the account in 2 Kings 23:26, 27 his was the most immoral reign of all the kings and was the reason for the ultimate collapse of the southern kingdom. He was greatly influenced by Assyria, and inscrs. excavated at Gezer disclose Assyrian presence there and the use of the Assyrian language and methods of dating. Manasseh’s active leadership in the promotion of pagan practices was perhaps prompted by interests that were more political than religious. There was a great surge of paganism involving the spread of the various cults with their mythologies emanating from the great population and culture centers of the Assyrian empire. The resulting religious syncretism as it involved Judah is referred to by Isaiah (Isa 2:6-8). The popular religion of Judah became a medley of Assyrio-Babylonian cults, Canaanite fertility cult Baalism, and Yahwism. Ezekiel’s picture of the situation is quite vivid (Ezek 8). The most degraded aspects of this pagan cultus was human sacrifice, and like Ahaz before him Manasseh “burned his sons as an offering in the valley of the sons of Hinnom” (2 Chron 33:6).

The record in 2 Kings 21:1-18; 24:3, 4 emphasizes three degrading aspects of the regime of Manasseh: upon his accession to the throne he led in a reaction against the reforms instituted by his father Hezekiah; he accelerated the development of heathenism in the country; he instituted a bitter persecution of the prophetic party which opposed the popular syncretism led by the king. He “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood” (2 Kings 24:4), and the prophets were put to the sword (Jer 2:30). Rabbinical lit. places emphasis upon the idea that Manasseh was even more evil than Ahaz, and that he killed Isaiah, who had fled and hid in a tree, by sawing him asunder. When Manasseh’s immediate successor, Josiah, came to the throne the supreme need was religious revival (2 Kings 23:26). Jeremiah said that Manasseh’s sin had yet to be expiated (Jer 15:4; cf. 2 Kings 23:26).

4. The name given for the grandfather of Jonathan in KJV of Judges 18:30 based upon the Heb. text. The RSV has Moses because it is generally presumed that the reading in the MT is an intentional misspelling because the man referred to is said to be a priest of the idolatrous shrine of Micah and of the tribe of Dan. Because the priest’s name was Moses his name was changed to Manasseh to avoid stigmatizing the revered name and sparing Moses the humiliation of having an idolatrous descendant. The change was accomplished by merely inserting a small nun (n) between the first two letters of the name for Moses. This not only removed the stigma but also gave to the man a name familiar to the Hebrews as an idolater. Hubert Grimme’s attempt to equate the names Moses and Manasseh on the basis of the Sinai inscrs. has been generally rejected by scholars.

5. A son of Hashum (Ezra 10:33), the Manasses of 1 Esdras 9:33 who is said to have put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:44).

6. A son of Pahath-moab (10:30) who is called Manasseas in 1 Esdras 9:31 and, who with others, put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:44).

7. This Manasseh is referred to in Nehemiah 13:28 as “one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest,” and “the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite” but not mentioned by name. He is named by Josephus who says (Antiq. xi. 7:2) that he married Nicaso, daughter of Sanballat and was consequently deposed from the priesthood by Nehemiah. Josephus describes how the high priest Jaddua, Manasseh’s brother, expressing the feeling of the people of Jerusalem, presented Manasseh with the alternative of putting away his wife or leaving the priesthood. Manasseh went to Sanballat and told him that although he loved his wife he could not leave the priesthood. Upon Sanballat’s promise that he would build with the approval of the king a temple on Mount Gerizim where Manasseh should be the high priest, Manasseh stayed with his wife and father-in-law (Antiq. xi. 8.2-4), and thus became the high priest of the schismatic temple.

Bibliography

J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts (1955); G. E. Wright, Biblical Archaeology (1960); W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra (1963); J. Gray, Archaeology and the nodetitle World (1965).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(menashsheh, "causing to forget"; compare Ge 41:51; Man(n)asse):

(1) The firstborn of Joseph by Asenath, daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. See next article.

(2) The tribe named from Manasseh, half of which, with Gad and Reuben, occupied the East of Jordan (Nu 27:1, etc.). See next article.

(3) The "Manasseh" of Jud 18:30,31 the King James Version is really an intentional mistake for the name Moses. A small nun ("n"), a Hebrew letter, has been inserted over and between the first and second Hebrew letters in the word Moses, thus maNesheh for mosheh. The reason for this is that the individual in question is mentioned as priest of a brazen image at Dan. His proper name was Moses. It was felt to be a disgrace that such a one bearing that honored name should keep it intact. The insertion of the nun hides the disgrace and, moreover, gives to the person a name already too familiar with idolatrous practices; for King Manasseh’s 55 years of sovereignty were thus disgraced.

(4) King of Judah. See separate article.

(5) Son of PAHATH-MOAB (which see), who had married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:30). Manaseas in 1 Esdras 9:31.

(6) The Manasses of 1 Esdras 9:33. A layman of the family of Hashum, who put away his foreign wife at Ezra’s order (Ezr 10:33).

In the Revised Version (British and American) of Mt 1:10 and Re 7:6 the spelling "Manasseh" is given for the King James Version "Manasses." The latter is the spelling of the husband of Judith (Judith 8:2,7; 10:3; 16:22,23,24); of a person named in the last words of Tobit and otherwise unknown (Tobit 14:10), and also the name given to a remarkable prayer probably referred to in 2Ch 33:18, which Manasseh (4) is said to have uttered at the end of his long, unsatisfactory life. See The Prayer of Manasses. In Jud 12:4, the Revised Version (British and American) reads "Manasseh" for the King James Version "Manassites."

Henry Wallace


1. Son of Joseph:

Following the Biblical account of Manasseh (patriarch, tribe, and territory) we find that he was the eider of Joseph’s two sons by Asenath, the daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On (Ge 41:51). The birth of a son marked the climax of Joseph’s happiness after the long bitterness of his experience. In the joy of the moment, the dark years past could be forgotten; therefore he called the name of the firstborn Manasseh ("causing to forget"), for, said he, God hath made me to forget all my toil. When Jacob was near his end, Joseph brought his two sons to his father who blessed them. Himself the younger son who had received the blessing of the firstborn, Jacob preferred Ephraim, the second son of Joseph, to Manasseh his elder brother, thus indicating the relative positions of their descendants (Ge 48). Before Joseph died he saw the children of Machir the son of Manasseh (Ge 50:23). Machir was born to Manasseh by his concubine, an Aramitess (1Ch 7:14). Whether he married Maacah before leaving for Egypt is not said. She was the sister of Huppim and Shuppim. Of Manasseh’s personal life no details are recorded in Scripture. Acccording to Jewish tradition he became steward of his father’s house, and acted as interpreter between Joseph and his brethren.

2. The Tribes in the Wilderness and Portion in Palestine:


The possession of Ephraim and Manasseh West of the Jordan appears to have been undivided at first (Jos 17:16 ). The portion which ultimately fell to Manasseh marched with Ephraim on the South, with Asher and Issachar on the North, running out to the sea on the West, and falling into the Jordan valley on the East (Jos 17:7 ). The long dwindling slopes to westward and the fiat reaches of the plain included much excellent soil. Within the territory of Issachar and Asher, Beth-shean, Ibleam, Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, with their villages, were assigned to Manasseh. Perhaps the men of the West lacked the energy and enterprise of their eastern brethren. They failed, in any case, to expel the Canaanites from these cities, and for long this grim chain of fortresses seemed to mock the strength of Israel (Jos 17:11 )

Ten cities West of the Jordan, in the portion of Manasseh, were given to the Levites, and 13 in the eastern portion (Jos 21:5,6).

Manasseh took part in the glorious conflict with the host of Sisera (Jud 5:14). Two famous judges, Gideon and Jephthah, belonged to this tribe. The men of the half-tribe East of Jordan were noted for skill and valor as warriors (1Ch 5:18,23 f). Some men of Manasseh had joined David before the battle of Gilboa (1Ch 12:19).

3. Its Place in Later History:

Others, all mighty men of valor, and captains in the host, fell to him on the way to Ziklag, and helped him against the band of rovers (1Ch 12:20 ). From the half-tribe West of the Jordan 18,000 men, expressed by name, came to David at Hebron to make him king (1Ch 12:31); while those who came from the East numbered, along with the men of Reuben and Gad, 120,000 (1Ch 12:37). David organized the eastern tribes under 2,700 overseers for every matter pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king (1Ch 26:32). The rulers of Manasseh were, in the West, Joel, son of Pedaiah, and in the East, Iddo, son of Zechariah (1Ch 27:20,21). Divers of Manasseh humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem at the invitation of Hezekiah to celebrate the Passover (2Ch 30:11). Although not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary, they ate the Passover. Pardon was successfully sought for them by the king, because they set their hearts to seek God (2Ch 30:18 ).

Of the eastern half-tribe it is said that they went a-whoring after the gods of the land, and in consequence they were overwhelmed and expatriated by Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria (1Ch 5:25 f). Reference to the idolatries of the western half-tribe are also found in 2Ch 31:1; 34:6.

There is a portion for Manasseh in Ezekiel’s ideal picture (Eze 48:4), and the tribe appears in the list in Re (7:6). The genealogies in Jos 17:1 ff; Nu 26:28-34; 1Ch 2:21-23; 7:14-19 have fallen into confusion. As they stand, they are mutually contradictory, and it is impossible to harmonize them.

The theories of certain modern scholars who reject the Biblical account are themselves beset with difficulties: e.g. the name is derived from the Arabic, nasa, "to injure a tendon of the leg." Manasseh, the Piel part., would thus be the name of a supernatural being, of whom the infliction of such an injury was characteristic. It is not clear which of the wrestlers at the Jabbok suffered the injury. As Jacob is said to have prevailed with gods and men, the suggestion is that it was his antagonist who was lamed. "It would appear therefore that in the original story the epithet Manasseh was a fitting title of Jacob himself, which might be borne by his worshippers, as in the case of Gad" (EB, under the word, par. 4).

It is assumed that the mention of Machir in Jud 5:14 definitely locates the Manassites at that time on the West of the Jordan. The raids by members of the tribe on Eastern Palestine must therefore have taken place long after the days of Moses. The reasoning is precarious. After the mention of Reuben (5:15,16), Gilead (5:17) may refer to Gad. It would be strange if this warlike tribe were passed over (Guthe). Machir, then probably the strongest clan, stands for the whole tribe, and may be supposed to indicate particularly the noted fighters of the eastern half.

In dealing with the genealogies, "the difficult name" Zelophehad must be got rid of. Among the suggestions made is one by Dr. Cheyne, which first supposes the existence of a name Salhad, and then makes Zelophehad a corruption of this.

The genealogies certainly present difficulties, but otherwise the narrative is intelligible and self-consistent without resort to such questionable expedients as those referred to above.


A king of Judah, son and successor of Hezekiah; reigned 55 years (2Ki 21:1; 2Ch 33:1), from circa 685 onward. His was one of the few royal names not compounded with the name of Yahweh (his son Amon’s was the only other if, as an Assyrian inscription gives it, the full name of Ahaz was Jehoahaz or Ahaziah); but it was no heathen name like Amon, but identical with that of the elder son of Joseph. Born within Hezekiah’s added 15 years, years of trembling faith and tender hope (compare Isa 38:15 f), his name may perhaps memorialize the father’s sacred feelings; the name of his mother Hephzibah too was used long afterward as the symbol of the happy union of the land with its loyal sons (Isa 62:4). All this, however, was long forgotten in the memory of Manasseh’s apostate career.

I. Sources of His Life.

The history (2Ki 1-18) refers for "the rest of his acts" to "the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah," but the body of the account, instead of reading like state annals, is almost entirely a censure of his idolatrous reign in the spirit of the prophets and of the Deuteronomic strain of literature. The parallel history (2Ch 33:1-20) puts "the rest of his acts" "among the acts of the kings of Israel," and mentions his prayer (a prayer ascribed to him is in the Apocrypha) and "the words of the seers that spoke to him in the name of Yahweh." This history of Chronicles mentions his captive journey to Babylon and his repentance (2Ch 33:10-13), also his building operations in Jerusalem and his resumption of Yahweh-worship (2Ch 33:14-17), which the earlier source lacks. From these sources, which it is not the business of this article either to verify or question, the estimate of his reign is to be deduced.

II. Character of His Reign.

1. Political Situation:

During his reign, Assyria, principally under Esar-haddon and Assur-banipal, was at the height of its arrogance and power; and his long reign was the peaceful and uneventful life of a willing vassal, contented to count as tributary king in an illustrious world-empire, hospitable to all its religious and cultural ideas, and ready to take his part in its military and other enterprises. The two mentions of his name in Assyrian inscriptions (see G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 182) both represent him in this tributary light. His journey to Babylon mentioned in 2Ch 33:11 need not have been the penalty of rebellion; more likely it was such an enforced act of allegiance as was perhaps imposed on all provincial rulers who had incurred or would avert suspicion of disloyalty. Nor was his fortification of Jerusalem after his return less necessary against domestic than foreign aggression; the more so, indeed, as in so long and undisturbed a reign his capital, which was now practically synonymous with his realm (Esar-haddon calls him "king of the city of Judah"), became increasingly an important center of wealth and commercial prosperity. Of the specific events of his reign, however, other than religious, less is known than of almost any other.

2. Reactionary Idolatry:

That the wholesale idolatry by which his reign is mainly distinguished was of a reactionary and indeed conservative nature may be understood alike from what it sought to maintain and from what it had to react against. On the one side was the tremendous wave of ritual and mechanical heathen cults which, proceeding from the world-centers of culture and civilization (compare Isa 2:6-8), was drawing all the tributary lands, Judah with the rest, into its almost irresistible sweep. Manasseh, it would seem, met this not in the temper of an amateur, as had his grandfather Ahaz, but in the temper of a fanatic. Everything old and new that came to his purview was of momentous religious value--except only the simple and austere demands of prophetic insight. He restored the debasing cults of the aboriginal Nature-worship which his father had suppressed, thus making Judah revert to the sterile Baal-cults of Ahab; but his blind credence in the black arts so prevalent in all the surrounding nations, imported the elaborate worship of the heavenly bodies from Babylon, invading even the temple-courts with its numerous rites and altars; even went to the horrid extreme of human sacrifice, making an institution of what Ahaz had tried as a desperate expedient. All this, which to the matured prophetic sense was headlong wickedness, was the mark of a desperately earnest soul, seeking blindly in this wholesale way to propitiate the mysterious Divine powers, his nation’s God among them, who seemed so to have the world’s affairs in their inscrutable control. On the other side, there confronted him the prophetic voice of a religion which decried all insincere ritual (`wickedness and worship,’ Isa 1:13), made straight demands on heart and conscience, and had already vindicated itself in the faith which had wrought the deliverance of 701. It was the fight of the decadent formal against the uprising spiritual; and, as in all such struggles, it would grasp at any expedient save the one plain duty of yielding the heart to repentance and trust.

3. Persecution:

Meanwhile, the saving intelligence and integrity of Israel, though still the secret of the lowly, was making itself felt in the spiritual movement that Isaiah had labored to promote; through the permeating influence of literature and education the "remnant" was becoming a power to be reckoned with. It is in the nature of things that such an innovating movement must encounter persecution; the significant thing is that already there was so much to persecute. Persecution is as truly the offspring of fear as of fanaticism. Manasseh’s persecution of the prophets and their adherents (tradition has it that the aged Isaiah was one of his victims) was from their point of view an enormity of wickedness. To us the analysis is not quite so simple; it looks also like the antipathy of an inveterate formal order to a vital movement that it cannot understand. The vested interests of almost universal heathenism must needs die hard, and "much innocent blood" was its desperate price before it would yield the upper hand. To say this of Manasseh’s murderous zeal is not to justify it; it is merely to concede its sadly mistaken sincerity. It may well have seemed to him that a nation’s piety was at stake, as if a world’s religious culture were in peril.

4. Return to Better Mind:

The Chronicler, less austere in tone than the earlier historian, preserves for us the story that, like Saul of Tarsus after him, Manasseh got his eyes open to the truer meaning of things; that after his humiliation and repentance in Babylon he "knew that Yahweh he was God" (2Ch 33:10-13). He had the opportunity to see a despotic idolatry, its evils with its splendors, in its own home; a first-fruit of the thing that the Hebrew exiles were afterward to realize. On his return, accordingly, he removed the altars that had encroached upon the sacred precincts of the temple, and restored the ritual of the Yahweh-service, without, however, removing the high places. It would seem to have been merely the concession of Yahweh’s right to a specific cult of His own, with perhaps a mitigation of the more offensive extremes of exotic worship, while the toleration of the various fashionable forms remained much as before. But this in itself was something, was much; it gave Yahweh His chance, so to say, among rivals; and the growing spiritual fiber of the heart of Israel could be trusted to do the rest. It helps us also the better to understand the situation when, only two years after Manasseh’s death, Josiah came to the throne, and to understand why he and his people were so ready to accept the religious sanity of the Deuteronomic law. He did not succeed, after all, in committing his nation to the wholesale sway of heathenism. Manasseh’s reactionary reign was indeed not without its good fruits; the crisis of religious syncretism and externalism was met and passed.