The Prayer of Manasses

Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics

The Prayer of Manasses

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This little prayer belongs with 2 Chr. 33: 11–13 and the story of how King Manasseh—legendary for his wickedness in the Bible—was deported to Babylon where he repented, and was restored to Jerusalem by YHWH. It purports to be the prayer of Manasseh on the occasion of his repentance: ‘Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness hast promised repentance and forgiveness to them that have sinned against thee: and of thine infinite mercies hast appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved. Thou therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the just, hast not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee; but thou hast appointed repentance unto me that am a sinner: for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea …’ It is a touching scene: the king uses far fewer words than Job used to reach the same point (Job 42: 6). In later rabbinic Judaism the theory and practice of repentance constituted a soteriological principle and the notion behind Manasseh's words was long remembered: ‘For thou art the God, even the God of them that repent … Therefore I will praise thee for ever all the days of my life: for all the powers of the heavens do praise thee, and thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ Repentance and doxology belong together.

Chapter.  244 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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