Meta. The meaning of "Manasseh" is who makes to forget. The meaning of "Ephraim" is doubly fruitful. Manasseh represents understanding, and Ephraim stands for will. The understanding here denotes denial, the negative activity of mind. The will is the positive or affirmative quality, the affirmative attitude of mind.
Ephraim and Manasseh are brothers. When these two faculties express in harmony, divine order is established. Will and understanding have their centers of activity in the head and function through the front brain. When the understanding rules without the balancing force of will, Israel is led to worship false gods. Two of these false gods are "the Baalim and the Asheroth," which represent nature in its various sensuous aspects.
Man worships these false gods when he becomes so negative that he thinks that there are powers outside himself that regulate his life. He places his faith in the signs of the zodiac; believes in a "ruling planet"; trusts to "luck"; seeks guidance of "familiar spirits"; gives himself up to the influence of other minds, through hypnotism and suggestion; follows unquestioningly the advice given in the numerous sects and societies that have been set up for worship by man.
By this worship of false gods, man's mind is opened to the phenomenal and he places his faith in apparent powers outside his own spiritual consciousness. Thus he loses his I AM dominion. This is forgetfulness of the power of God within him, and it brings him into condemnation. It is then that the understanding, or ruling factor, is put "in chains," "bound. . . with fetters," and carried to Babylon, utter confusion.
The way of escape lies in the denial of the seeming (Manasseh "humbled himself"), and in seeking the real Source of wisdom and power, through prayer. When we open our mind to Spirit and declare the Truth, the understanding is established in harmony with divine standards. "Manasseh knew that Jehovah he was God" (II Chron. 33:1-13).
Manasseh's being twelve years of age when he began to reign (II Chron. 33:1) means that the negative mentality had involved all the twelve faculties. Hence all the thoughts were "evil in the sight of Jehovah."