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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Narrative Context.

Verbal allusions to details of the 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles narratives indicate that the prayer was composed in the voice of Manasseh. A question rarely discussed or even mentioned is whether the prayer was composed as an integral part of the conflated narrative context in which it stands in the Didascalia and the Apostolic Constitutions or whether it is an independent composition that was later placed in that narrative context (see, however, APOT i. 613–14). Two factors may support the former alternative. All but one of the other compositions in the Odes are drawn from biblical contexts (Ode 14 is, however, an expansion of Lk 2:14 ). The prayer and the narrative share at least one detail (v. 10 ) that is missing in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Claiming to recount the story in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, the narrative begins with a compressed revision of 2 Kings (with a few details from 2 Chr). Turning to 2 Chronicles, it mentions Manasseh's exile, elaborates the Chronicler's account by detailing the terrible conditions of Manasseh's imprisonment, picks up the report of his prayer and recounts the prayer, describes how a fire miraculously melted his chains, returns to the Chronicler's account of Manasseh's return to Jerusalem, adds that he worshipped God wholeheartedly and ‘was reckoned righteous’, and concludes with a summary of the Chronicler's report of Manasseh's restoration of the Jerusalem cult. As a whole, the rewritten narrative emphasizes the severity of God's judgement, the sincerity of Manasseh's repentance, God's direct intervention and restoration of the covenantal relationship, and Manasseh's transformation from sinner to righteous, attested by his deeds.

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