06 August 2006

Ancient story

King Manasseh

He grew up to be the most wicked of all of Judah’s kings. His reign began with such great promise. He married Meshullemeth, and begot Amon, the crown-prince. The breakup of his marriage put an end to the honeymoon the country was having with their popular young king. Manasseh grew into a fanatical idolater. He introduced a secular constitution to the state, separating temple [church] and state, and allowed the practice of all pagan religions of every heathen ethnic group represented in the kingdom. The old Canaanite/Palestinian paganism was revived, the altars to foreign pagan deities were set back up, and he even removed The “Ark” and in its place set up a pagan idol statute in the inner sanctum of the Temple (2 Chr 33:7). The state-religion of Yahweh/Jehovah-worship was disestablished and even forbidden; and the temple priests were executed along with the prophets. This apostasy did not go un-rebuked by the prophets, whom King Manasseh endeavored to silence by the fiercest persecution recorded in the country’s annals. Legend says that the prophet Isaiah was among King Manasseh’s victims. The prophet Isaiah was placed inside an hollowed-out tree trunk and sawn in half by King Manasseh's executioners. The Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, as well as the Philistines, who had been his father’s tributaries revolted against King Manasseh and gained their independence. The great blow came from Assyria, which captured Jerusalem, took King Manasseh prisoner, and humiliated him by having him walk to Nineveh, the Assyrian capital Babylon naked with a ring in his nose onto which was fastened a chain held by his captors, and brought into an audience with the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, to give an account for his rebellion. Manasseh’s name actually appears on two Assyrian lists of tributary kings, one telling how he was one of a group summoned to Nineveh to hear their overlord’s demands, and the other telling the story of his captivity by the Assyrian king. There, at Nineveh, King Manasseh was held a prisoner for several years. Manasseh came to repentance while a prisoner in a cell in a dank, deep, dark dungeon; and later was restored to his kingdom, but under Assyria’s vassalage. King Manasseh first acts on his restoration were to destroy all the idols and pagan altars, cleanse and re-open the temple, place The "Ark" back into the temple's "inner sanctum", restore Yahweh/Jehovah-worship, and all its services. The country enjoyed peace and renewed prosperity during King Manasseh’s restoration.

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