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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Prayer of Manasseh - Introduction

This brief devotional piece conveys sincere repentance and deep religious feeling.

Manasseh, son of the good king Hezekiah, appears in 2 Kgs. 21.1–18 as a most wicked ruler who led Judah into gross idolatry, including human sacrifice, and perpetrated extensive violence. The Chronicler adds, however, that this evil king, after a very, very long reign, repented of his evil and called upon God for deliverance. Restored to his kingdom after being carried off to Babylon, he instituted partial reforms (2 Chr. 33.1–20 ).

Mention is made in 2 Chr. 33.19 of a prayer of Manasseh, but no prayer is given there. To fill this gap, some pious Jew composed a prayer such as Manasseh might have voiced.

The date and origin of the prayer are uncertain, but many place the composition in the second or first century B.C.E. and consider it originally written in Greek instead of Hebrew or Aramaic.

In Roman Catholic tradition, wherein the Apocrypha are regarded as canonical, this book is not so regarded.

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Oxford University Press

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