Made his son pass through the fire - Consecrated him to Moloch.
Observed times - ועונן veonen ; he practiced divination by the clouds; by observing their course at particular times, their different kinds, contrary directions, etc., etc.
Used enchantments - ונחש venichesh ; he used incantations, spells, and charms.
Dealt with familiar spirits - אוב ועשה veasah ob ; he was a necromancer; was a raiser of spirits, whom he endeavored to press into his service; he had a Python.
And wizards - וידענים veyiddeonim ; the knowing ones, the white witches, and such like; see on Leviticus 19:26-31; (note), where most of these terms are particularly explained and illustrated.
To “observe times” was forbidden in the Law (marginal references), and was no doubt among the modes of divination practiced by the Canaanite nations. It has been explained as,
(1) Predicting from the state of the clouds and atmosphere;
(2) Fascination with the eye;
(3) Watching and catching at chance words as ominous.
Dealt with familiar spirits - This practice was forbidden by Moses Leviticus 19:31 under the penalty of death Leviticus 20:27. Its nature is best learned from Saul‘s visit to the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:7, etc.).
Wizards - “Wizards” - literally, “wise men” - are always joined with those who have familiar spirits. Probably they were a sort of necromancers.
Because the people of God had confused ideas of the ceremonial sacrificial offerings, and had heathen traditions confounded with their ceremonial worship, God condescended to give them definite directions, that they might understand the true import of those sacrifices which were to last only till the Lamb of God should be slain, who was the great antitype of all their sacrificial offerings. 3SG 304.1Read in context »
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 »