He set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house - Every one may see that Asherah here must signify an idol, and not a grove; and for the proof of this see the observations at the end of the chapter, 2 Kings 21:26; (note).
A graven image of the grove - Rather, “the carved work of the Asherah.” This Asherah which Manasseh placed in the very temple itself, from where it was afterward taken by Josiah to be destroyed 2 Kings 23:6. Such a profanation was beyond anything that had been done either by Athaliah 2 Kings 11:18, or by Ahaz 2 Kings 16:14-18; 2 Chronicles 29:5-7.
The kingdom of Judah, prosperous throughout the times of Hezekiah, was once more brought low during the long years of Manasseh's wicked reign, when paganism was revived, and many of the people were led into idolatry. “Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen.” 2 Chronicles 33:9. The glorious light of former generations was followed by the darkness of superstition and error. Gross evils sprang up and flourished—tyranny, oppression, hatred of all that is good. Justice was perverted; violence prevailed. PK 381.1
Yet those evil times were not without witnesses for God and the right. The trying experiences through which Judah had safely passed during Hezekiah's reign had developed, in the hearts of many, a sturdiness of character that now served as a bulwark against the prevailing iniquity. Their testimony in behalf of truth and righteousness aroused the anger of Manasseh and his associates in authority, who endeavored to establish themselves in evil-doing by silencing every voice of disapproval. “Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.” 2 Kings 21:16. PK 381.2Read in context »