The prayer of Manasseh.
Counted among the apocrypha.
None on site.
HTML Bible: Manasseh
(Latin Vulgate only).
Humanities Text Initiative:
Prayer of Manasseh (English only).
Kata Pi LXX: Ode (Greek and English).
Manasseh (English only).
Ode (Greek only)
Prayer of Manasseh in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Apocryphal books in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
The prayer of Manasseh is counted among the apocryphal books
of the Old Testament. In some
editions of the Septuagint
(LXX) it is counted as one of the odes. The attribution of a prayer to
this figure obviously derives from 2 Chronicles 33.11-13.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the prayer of Manasseh:
The Prayer of Manasseh is not in the Jewish, Protestant, or Catholic
canons. But it was included in later manuscripts of the Vulgate in an appendix,
and it is counted among the "Apocrypha" in the King James Version
and Revised Standard Version. Some Orthodox churches accept it.
James King West writes: "In II Chronicles 33:10-20 we are given an account
of how the wicked king Manasseh, after being taken captive to Babylon by the
Assyrians, repented and was restored to his kingdom, where he proceeded to undo
much of the mischief he had done in his apostate days. Special mention is made
in verses 18 and 19 of Manasseh's prayer. Since the prayer. Since the prayer
was not recorded by the Chronicler, an unknown writer of uncommon skill and
piety has undertaken to supply the lack by means of this prayer." (Introduction
to the Old Testament, pp. 470-471)
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "What were the words of Manasseh's prayer?
Inquiring minds wanted to know. According to 2 Chronicles 33:18-19 the words
were preserved in 'the Annals of the Kings of Israel' and in 'the records of
the seers.' But neither of these books has been preserved. The Prayer of Manasseh
represents what an anonymous author imagined that Manasseh should have said
or would have said in his prayer. It was most likely composed in Greek and reflects
the language and style of the Septuagint. It is included in some Septuagint
manuscripts in a special section called 'Odes.' The most important versions
are in Latin and Syriac, and it is included in church manuals from the third
and fourth centuries C.E. (Apostolic Constitutions and Didaskalia).
The earliest evidence for the work's existence comes from the third century
C.E., so it could have originated at any time between the composition of 2 Chronicles
and then. It was probably written by a Greek-speaking Jew outside the land of
Israel, though Christian authorship is not impossible." (Invitation
to the Apocrypha, pp. 166-167)
Raymond E. Brown writes: "The piety is that of late Judaism, and the deuterocanonical
prayer of Azariah (Dn 3:24-90) offers some interesting parallels. The Prayer
of Manasseh was originally composed in Greek by a Jew in the 1st or 2nd
cent. AD. It was promptly translated from Greek into Syriac, and thus our earliest
extant form of the Prayer is in a 3rd-cent. Christian Syr work, the Didascalia.
Although the prayer did not appear in early Vg mss., it is found in medieval
mss. The Sixto-Clementine Vg printed it as a supplement (after Trent failed
to list it as canonical). Protestants count it as one of 'the Apocrypha.'"
(The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 541)
Daniel J. Harrington writes: "The Prayer of Manasseh purports to be the
prayer uttered by Manasseh according to 2 Chron. 33:12-13 and preserved in two
chronicles. Since the earliest evidence for the present text comes from the
third century A.D., and the prayer was probably composed in Greek, we are most
likely dealing with a pseudepigraphical work produced under Manasseh's name
many centuries after his death. Since there are no discernable Christian elements,
it was probably composed by a Greek-speaking Jew. It is not impossible, however,
that a Christian author putting himself in Manasseh's position could have written
this Jewish prayer. The author's use of phrases from the LXX suggests a date
for the original composition around the turn of the era, though there is no
further precision on this matter." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p.
David A. deSilva writes: "The petition for forgiveness (vv. 11-13) begins
with a beautiful image of humility of heart: 'I bend the knee of my heart.'
This stands in marked contrast with the hubris that Manasseh displayed in his
earlier disregard for God's prohibition of idolatry. Another acknowledgement
of sin, 'I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned,' is poetically balanced by the
supplication 'Forgive me, O Lord, forgive me' (vv. 12-13). The petition concludes
by identifying God as the 'God of those who repent' (v. 13), which is an original
way of describing God, a fine counterpoint to the 'God of the righteous' (v.
8) and an expression of the conviction that the God of all does not cease to
be God of those who fail to walk in God's way. As their Creator and as the One
who stands ready to forgive and restore those who humble themselves and turn
aside from sinful ways, God remains 'their God.'" (Introducing the Apocrypha,