Prayer of Manasseh

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The Prayer of Manasseh is a short work of 15 verses of the penitential prayer of the Judean king Manasseh. Manasseh is recorded in the Bible as one of the most idolatrous (IV Kingdoms 21:1-18); however, after having been taken captive by the Assyrians, he prays for mercy (II Paraleipomenon 33:10-17) and turns from his idolatrous ways.

The Prayer of Manasseh is included in certain editions of the Greek Septuagint; for example, the fifth century Codex Alexandrinus includes the prayer among fourteen Odes appearing just after the Psalms. It was printed at the end of 2 Chronicles in the 1599 Geneva Bible and the Latin Vulgate; it also appears in the apocrypha of the King James Bible. Currently, it is considered apocryphal by Catholics, Jews and Protestants alike. Pope Clement VIII included the book in an appendix to the Vulgate stating that it should continue to be read "lest it perish entirely." In some editions of the Septuagint, it forms a part of the Book of Odes. It is accepted as a deuterocanonical book by some Orthodox, though it does not appear in Bibles printed in Greece. In the Ethiopian Bible, this text appears within II Paraleipomenon.

The book appears in ancient Syriac, Old Slavonic, Ethiopic, and Armenian translations.

The Prayer of Manasseh is chanted during the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic service of Great Compline.

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