2 Chronicles 33

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 33

Judah’s King Manasseh (33:1-20)

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “See 2 Kings 21:1-10; 17-18. Chronicles differs most markedly from Kings by including a section describing Manasseh’s imprisonment in Babylon and his religious reforms (2 Chron 33:11-17), and by omitting 2 Kings 21:11-15, where Manasseh is condemned as a primary cause of the exile…The reason for the difference lies in their respective aims: Kings presents Manasseh as the worst of Judah’s kings whose sins make the exile inevitable, while Chronicles uses him to illustrate the possibility of forgiveness and restoration, even for the ‘foremost of sinners’ (see 1 Tim 1:15). Both accounts are highly selective in their treatment of the longest reign in Judah’s history, and the additional material in Chronicles should not be considered fictional. The Chronicler would certainly agree with 2 Kings that Manasseh’s sins contributed to the final outcome of exile, just as the king’s own punishment (2 Chron 33:11) anticipates what will happen to the people. Manasseh’s repentance and reforms may also explain why the exile did not come in his day: they had the effect of postponing, but not entirely removing, the consequence of Israel’s unfaithfulness, on which God had pronounced judgment (v. 10).”

Idolatrous Abominations

      • Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king and he ruled for 55 years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes, in accordance with the detestable practices of the nations whom Yahweh had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father, Hezekiah, had torn down, and he erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He worshiped and served all the host of heaven. He built altars in the house of Yahweh, about which Yahweh had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” He built altars to all of the heavenly host in the two courtyards of Yahweh’s house. He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination, omen reading, and sorcery. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits and appointed magicians to supervise it. He did a great amount of evil in Yahweh’s eyes, and provoked Him to anger. He took the carved image that he had made in put in the house of God, about which God had said to David and his son Solomon, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever. And if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, and in accordance with all the law My servant Moses commanded them, then I will not again make the Israelites wander from the land that I gave to their ancestors.” But Manasseh led Judah and the residents of Jerusalem astray so that they did more evil than the nations Yahweh had destroyed ahead of the Israelites.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Manasseh ruled fifty-five years (697-642 BC), longer than any other king in Judah. The years of his reign included a co-regency with his father, Hezekiah, from 697-686 BC…”

        • Guzik adds, “This means that he was born in the last fifteen years of Hezekiah’s life, the additional fifteen years that Hezekiah prayed for (2 Kings 20:6). Those additional fifteen years brought Judah one of its worst kings…This was both a remarkably long and a remarkably evil reign. A long career or longevity is not necessarily evidence of the blessing and approval of God.”

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “These verses largely reproduce 2 Kings 21:2-9…Manasseh sets about reversing all the reforms his father had instituted, promoting idolatry and succumbing to the depravity of child sacrifice and sorcery.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible reminds us that the carved image Manasseh made and placed in Yahweh’s house, “was an image of Asherah (see 2 Kgs 21:7).”

        • For extensive explanation on my siding with the NET Bible’s rendering of a ritual pit for spirit conjuring, the interested reader may refer to the notes for 2 Kings 21.

Manasseh’s Repentance

      • Yahweh spoke to Manasseh and his people, but no one listened. So Yahweh brought the commanders of the Assyrian king’s army against them. They captured Manasseh, put hooks in his nose, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon. In his distress, Manasseh sought the favor of Yahweh his God and greatly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. When he prayed to Him, God was moved and listened to his petition, so he brought him back to Jerusalem and his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that Yahweh is the true God.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people alludes to 2 Kings 21:10 and is intended as a summary of the prophecy of judgment in 2 Kgs 21:11-15. But they paid no attention is based on 2 Kings 21:9a. In their rejection of God’s word, Manasseh and his people prefigure the last generation of the kingdom (2 Chron 36:15-16). Manasseh’s imprisonment in Babylon is not attested to outside the Bible. But this account is often associated with the widespread rebellion in 652-648 BC by Shamash-shum-ukin, king of Babylon against his younger brother and overlord Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria. Once he had taken Babylon, Ashurbanipal turned his attention to the western part of his empire and its vassal states, which included Judah. Manasseh may have joined in the rebellion, or at least have been suspected of supporting it. The description of Manasseh’s prayer and God’s response is strongly influenced by the thought and vocabulary of 7:14. Knew that the Lord was God is similar to a very common expression by Ezekiel, the prophet of the exile: ‘you/they will know that I am the Lord’ (e.g., Ezek 5:13; 7:27; 13:21).”

      • Afterward, he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David from the west of the Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel; he made it much higher. He stationed army commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah.

      • He removed the foreign gods and the idol from Yahweh’s house. He also removed all the altars he had built on the hill of the house of Yahweh and in Jerusalem. He threw them outside the city. He restored the altar of Yahweh and offered fellowship and thank offerings on it. He commanded Judah to serve Yahweh, the God of Israel. However, the people continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to Yahweh their God.

        • ESV Study Bible says, “Manasseh’s religious reform was directed at removing his earlier pagan innovations (vv. 3, 7). The reform centered on the temple, and little if any extended beyond Jerusalem. Verse 17 makes it clear that the people continued with their familiar ways. Manasseh removed the idols (v. 15), but it is not stated that he destroyed them, as Josiah did (34:4-7). Amon would later out them back to use.”

        • HCSB adds, “The people clearly did not understand the law, where sacrifices were only to be done at the temple. The language suggests Levites were not present, but that the people themselves were conducting the sacrifices. At best, the place and context of this ‘worship’ were inappropriate and ignorant of the law; at worst, it was deliberate syncretism.”

      • The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of Yahweh the God of Israel, are recorded in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” His prayer and how God was moved by his petition, all his sin and unfaithfulness, as well as the location of the sites where he built high places and put up Asherah poles and images before he humbled himself is recorded in the “Annals of the Seers.” Manasseh rested with his ancestors and he was buried in his own house. His son Amon succeeded him as king.

        • ESV Study Bible remarks, “The Chronicler has considerably expanded the concluding formula in 2 Kings 21:17-18 to emphasize that Manasseh’s prayer and humble repentance constitute the chief significance of his reign…”

Judah’s King Amon (33:21-25)

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “See 2 Kings 21:19-24. The Chronicler has added to the account of Amon’s brief reign (642-640 BC) the charge that, in contrast to his father, Amon did not humble himself, but rather incurred guilt more and more. His revival of Manasseh’s idolatry (2 Chron 33:22) contributed to God’s wrath against Judah (see 19:10; 24:18; 28:25; 36:16), as well as serving as a prelude to Josiah’s reform (ch. 34).”

    • Amon was 22 years old when he became king and he ruled for 2 years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon sacrificed to and served all the idols that his father Manasseh had made. He didn’t humble himself before Yahweh like his father, Manasseh, did. Instead, he sinned even more.

    • His servants conspired against him and assassinated him in his house. The people of the land killed all of those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place.

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