Prayer of Manasseh
The Prayer of Manasseh is a short work of 15 verses of the penitential prayer of king Manasseh of Judah. Manasseh is recorded in the Bible as one of the most idolatrous kings of Judah (2 Kings 21:1–18; 2 Chronicles 33:1–9). Chronicles, but not Kings, records that Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians. (2 Chronicles 33:11–13) While a prisoner, Manasseh prayed for mercy, and upon being freed and restored to the throne turned from his idolatrous ways. (2 Chronicles 33:15–17) A reference to the prayer, but not the prayer itself, is made in 2 Chronicles 33:19, which says that the prayer is written in the "history of the seers."
The prayer is considered apocryphal by Jews, Catholics and Protestants. It was placed at the end of 2 Chronicles in the late 4th-century Vulgate. Over a millennium later, Martin Luther included the book in his 74-book translation of the Bible. It was part of the 1537 Matthew Bible, and the 1599 Geneva Bible. It also appears in the Apocrypha of the King James Bible. Pope Clement VIII included the prayer in an appendix to the Vulgate stating that it should continue to be read "lest it perish entirely."
The prayer is included in some editions of the Greek Septuagint. For example, the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus includes the prayer among fourteen Odes appearing just after the Psalms. It is accepted as a deuterocanonical book by some Orthodox Christians, though it does not appear in Bibles printed in Greece. The prayer is chanted during the Orthodox Christian and Byzantine Catholic service of Great Compline. It is used in the Roman Rite as part of the Responsory after the first reading in the Office of Readings on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (along with Psalm 51). It is used also as a canticle in the Daily Office of the 1979 U.S. Book of Common Prayer used by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
- NET Bible
- The shorter books of the Apocrypha: Tobit, Judith, Rest of Esther, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, additions to Daniel and Prayer of Manasseh. Commentary by J. C. Dancy, with contributions by W. J. Fuerst and R. J. Hammer. Cambridge [Eng.] University Press, 1972. ISBN 16230423
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