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MANASSEH (7th cent. B.C.)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 540 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MANASSEH (7th cent. B.C.), son of Hezekiah, and king of Judah (2 Kings xxi. 1–18). His reign of fifty-five years was marked by a reaction against the reforming policy of his father, and his persistent idolatry and bloodshed were subsequently regarded as the cause of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the dispersion of the people (2 Kings xxiii. 26 seq.; Jer. xv. 4). As a vassal of Assyria he was contemporary with Sennacherib, Esar-haddon (68r–668 B.C.) and Assur-bani-pal (668–626 B.C.), and his name (Me-na-si-e) appears among the tributaries of the two latter. Little is known of his history. The chronicler, however, relates that the Assyrian army took him in chains to Babylon, and that after his repentance he returned, and distinguished himself by his piety, by building operations in Jerusalem and by military organization (2 Chron, xxxiii. 10 sqq.). The story of his penitence referred to in xxxiii. 22, is untrustworthy, but the historical foundation may have been some share in the revolt of the Babylonian Samas-sum-ukin (648 B.C.), on which occasion he may have been summoned before Assurbani-pal with other rebels and subsequently reinstated. See further Driver, in Hogarth, Authority and Archaeology, pp. 114 sqq. Manasseh was succeeded by his son Amon, who after a brief reign of two years perished in a conspiracy, his place being taken by Amon's son (or brother) Josiah (q.v.). A lament formerly ascribed to Manasseh (cf. 2 Chron. xxxiii. 18) is preserved in the Apocrypha (see MANASSES, PRAYER OF; and APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE). On Judg. xviii. 30 (marg.), see JONATHAN.
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