Texts witnessed only in the Septuagint: Table of Contents

[Edited by Ellopos from Wikipedia articles.]

Prayer of Manasseh

The Prayer of Manasseh [full text in Greek and English in the next pages] is a short work of 15 verses of the penitential prayer of king Manasseh of Judah. The majority of scholars believe that the Prayer of Manasseh was written, in Greek [the original text is given in the next pages], in the first or second century BC. Another work by the same title, though written in Hebrew and containing distinctly different content, was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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.” In the Roman Rite Liturgy of the Hours; in the corpus of responsories sung with the readings from the books of Kings between Trinity Sunday and August, the seventh cites the Prayer of Manasseh, together with verses of Psalm 50, the penitential Psalm par excellence.

Peccavi super numerum arenae maris, et multiplicata sunt peccata mea, et non sum dignus videre altitudinem caeli prae multitudine iniquitatis meae: quoniam irritavi iram tuam, * Et malum coram te feci. V. Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et delictum meum contra me est semper, quia tibi soli peccavi. Et malum coram te feci.

My sins are more in number of the sands of the sea, and my sins are multiplied, and I am not worthy to look up the height of heaven, because of the multitude of my iniquity; for I have provoked thee to anger, * and done evil before Thee. V. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me, for the Thee only have I sinned, and done evil before Thee.

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.

The prayer appears in ancient Syriac, Old Slavonic, Ethiopic, and Armenian translations. In the Ethiopian Bible, the prayer is found in 2 Chronicles.

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