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Dictionaries :: Manasseh

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Manasseh:

who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani), Gen 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons (Gen 48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1Ch 7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen 50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.

The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num 1:10,35; 2:20,21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to 52,700 (26:34,37), and it was at this time the most distinguished of all the tribes.

The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Jos 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the nine and a half tribes in the land of Palestine. It is sometimes called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.

The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic service (Jos 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED.)

On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the very centre of Palestine, an area of about 1,300 square miles, the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the north of that of Ephraim (Jos 16). Thus the western Manasseh defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes of the Hauran.

(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2Ki 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa 7:10; 2Ki 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2Ki 21:16; 24:3,4; Jer 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been called the "Nero of Palestine."

Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. 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 2Ch 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." (2Ki 19:28.)

The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2Ch 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2Ki 21:17,18; 2Ch 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.

In Jdg 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not "Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an idolatrous religion.

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

Manasseh:

forgetfulness; he that is forgotten

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Manasseh:

(forgetting)

(1.) the eldest son of Joseph (Genesis 41:51; 46:20) born 1715‐10 B.C. Both he and Ephraim were born before the commencement of the famine. He was placed after his younger brother, Ephraim, by his grandfather Jacob, when he adopted them into his own family, and made them heads of tribes. Whether the elder of the two sons was inferior in form or promise to the younger, or whether there was any external reason to justify the preference of Jacob, we are not told. In the division of the promised land half of the tribe of Manasseh settled east of the Jordan in the district embracing the hills of Gilead with their inaccessible heights and impassable ravines, and the almost impregnable tract of Argob (Joshua 13:29-33). Here they strove exceedingly, pushing their way northward over the rich plains of Jaulan and Jedur to the foot of Mount Hermon (1 Chronicles 5:23). But they gradually assimilated themselves with the old inhabitants of the country, and on them descended the punishment which was ordained to the inevitable consequence of such misdoing. They, first of all Israel, were carried away by Pul and Tiglath‐pileser, and settled in the Assyrian territories (1 Chronicles 5:25-26). The other half tribe settled to the west of the Jordan, north of Ephraim (Joshua 17:1). … For further particulars SEE [EPHRAIM, 1.].

(2.) The thirteenth king of Judah, son of Hezekiah (2 Kings 21:1) ascended the throne at the age of twelve, and reigned 55 years, from B.C. 608 to 642. His accession was the signal for an entire change in the religious administration of the kingdom. Idolatry was again established to such an extent that every faith was tolerated but the old faith of Israel. The Babylonian alliance which the king formed against Assyria resulted in his being made prisoner and carried off to Babylon in the twenty‐second year of his reign, according to a Jewish tradition. There his eyes were opened and he repented, and his prayer was heard and the Lord delivered him (2 Chronicles 33:12-13) and he returned after some uncertain interval of time to Jerusalem. The altar of the Lord was again restored, and peace offerings and thank offerings were sacrificed to Jehovah (2 Chronicles 38:15-16). But beyond this the reformation did not go. On his death, B.C. 642, he was buried as Ahaz had been, not with the burial of a king, in the sepulchres of the house of David, but in the garden of Uzza (2 Kings 21:26) and long afterward, in suite of his repentance, the Jews held his name in abhorrence.

(3.) One of the descendants of Pahathmoab, who in the days of Ezra had married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:30).

(4.) One of the laymen, of the family of Hashum who put away his foreign wife at Ezra command (Ezra 10:33).

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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