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Adam Clarke Commentary

2 Chronicles 33

Introduction

Manasseh reigns fifty-five years, and restores idolatry, pollutes the temple, and practises all kinds of abominations, 2 Chronicles 33:1 -9. He and the people are warned in vain, 2 Chronicles 33:10 . He is delivered into the hands of the Assyrians, bound with fetters, and carried to Babylon, 2 Chronicles 33:11 . He humbles himself, and is restored, 2 Chronicles 33:12 , 2 Chronicles 33:13 . He destroys idolatry, and restores the worship of God, 2 Chronicles 33:14 -16. The people keep the high places, but sacrifice to the Lord on them, 2 Chronicles 33:17 . His acts, prayer, and death, 2 Chronicles 33:18 -20. His son Amon succeeds him; and after a wicked idolatrous reign of two years, is slain by his own servants in his own house, 2 Chronicles 33:21 -24. The people rise up, and slay his murderers, and make Josiah his son king in his stead, 2 Chronicles 33:25 .

Verse 1

Manasseh was twelve years old - We do not find that he had any godly director; his youth was therefore the more easily seduced. But surely he had a pious education; how then could the principles of it be so soon eradicated?

Verse 3

Altars for Baalim - The Sun and Moon. And made groves, אשרות Asheroth, Astarte, Venus; the host of heaven, all the Planets and Stars. These were the general objects of his devotion.

Verse 5

He built altars - See the principal facts in this chapter explained in the notes on 2 Kings 21:1-17 (note).

Verse 7

A carved image - "He set up an image, the likeness of himself, in the house of the sanctuary." The Targumist supposes he wished to procure himself Divine honors.

Verse 12

And when he was in affliction - Here is a very large addition in the Chaldee: "For the Chaldeans made a brazen mule, pierced full of small holes, and put him within it, and kindled fires all around it; and when he was in this misery, he sought help of all the idols which he had made, but obtained none, for their were of no use. He therefore repented, and prayed before the Lord his God, and was greatly humbled in the sight of the Lord God of his fathers."

Verse 13

And prayed unto him - "While he was thus praying, all the presiding angels went away to the gates of prayer in heaven; and shut all the gates of prayer, and all the windows and apertures in heaven, lest that his prayer should be heard. Immediately the compassions of the Creator of the world were moved, whose right hand is stretched out to receive sinners, who are converted to his fear, and break their hearts' concupiscence by repentance. He made therefore a window and opening in heaven, under the throne of his glory; and having heard his prayer, he favourably received his supplication. And when his Word had shaken the earth, the mule was burst and he escaped. Then the Spirit went out from between the wings of the cherubim; by which, being inspired through the decree of the Word of the Lord, he returned to his kingdom in Jerusalem. And then Manasseh knew that it was the Lord God who had done these miracles and signs; and he turned to the Lord with his whole heart, left all his idols, and never served them more." This long addition gives the Jewish account of those particulars which the sacred writer has passed by: it is curious, though in some sort trifling. The gates of prayer may be considered childish; but in most of those things the ancient rabbins purposely hid deep and important meanings.

Verse 14

He built a wall - This was probably a weak place that he fortified; or a part of the wall which the Assyrians had broken down, which he now rebuilt.

Verse 15

He took away the strange gods - He appears to have done every thing in his power to destroy the idolatry which he had set up, and to restore the pure worship of the true God. His repentance brought forth fruits meet for repentance. How long he was in captivity, and when or by whom he was delivered, we know not. The fact of his restoration is asserted; and we believe it on Divine testimony.

Verse 17

The people did sacrifice - "Nevertheless the people did sacrifice on the high places, but only to the name of the Word of the Lord their God." - Targum.

Verse 18

The words of the seers that spake to him - "Which were spoken to him in the name of the Word of the Lord God of Israel." - Targum.

Verse 19

His prayer also - What is called the Prayer of Manasseh, king of Judah, when he was holden captive in Babylon, being found among our apocryphal books, I have inserted it at the end of the chapter, without either asserting or thinking that it is the identical prayer which this penitent king used when a captive in Babylon. But, as I have observed in another place, there are many good sentiments in it; and some sinners may find it a proper echo of the distresses of their hearts; I therefore insert it.Written among the sayings of the seers - "They are written in the words of Chozai." - Targum. So says the Vulgate. The Syriac has Hunan the prophet; and the Arabic has Saphan the prophet.

Verse 21

Amon - reigned two years - See on 2 Kings 21:19 (note).

Verse 22

Sacrificed unto all the carved images - How astonishing is this! with his father's example before his eyes, he copies his father's vices, but not his repentance.

Verse 23

Trespassed more and more - He appears to have exceeded his father, and would take no warning.

Verse 24

His servants conspired against him - On what account we cannot tell.

Verse 25

The people of the land slew all them - His murder was not a popular act, for the people slew the regicides. They were as prone to idolatry as their king was. We may rest satisfied that idolatry was accompanied with great licentiousness and sensual gratifications else it never, as a mere religious system, could have had any sway in the world.For an explanation of the term groves, 2 Chronicles 23:3 , see the observations at the end of 2 Kings 21:26 (note).I have referred to the prayer attributed to Manasseh, and found in what is called the Apocrypha, just before the first book of Maccabees. It was anciently used as a form of confession in the Christian Church, and is still as such received by the Greek Church. It is as follows: - The above translation, which is that in our common Bibles, might be mended; but the piece is scarcely worth the pains.

2 Chronicles 33


  1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
  2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
  3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
  4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.
  5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
  6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
  7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
  8 Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.
  9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
  10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.
  11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.
  12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
  13 And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.
  14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.
  15 And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.
  16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
  17 Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only.
  18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.
  19 His prayer also, and how God was entreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.
  20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
  21 Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.
  22 But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them;
  23 And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.
  24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.
  25 But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

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