2 Chronicles 33 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of 2 Chronicles 33)
This chapter gives an account of the reign of Manasseh, of his idolatries and impieties, 2 Chronicles 33:1, of his captivity, humiliation, repentance, and reformation, 2 Chronicles 33:11 of his last end, death, and burial, 2 Chronicles 33:18 and of the wicked reign of Amon his son, and of his death by his servants, 2 Chronicles 33:21.

Verse 1. Manasseh was twelve years old,.... From hence to the end of 2 Chronicles 33:9 the same things are recorded, almost word for word, as in 2 Kings 21:1, see the notes there.
See Gill on "2Ki 21:1."

Verse 10. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people,.... By his servants the prophets, see 2 Kings 21:10, where what was said to them is recorded:

but they would not hearken; to what was said, to reproofs, admonitions, and exhortations to repent and reform.

Verse 11. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria,.... Who was Esarhaddon, the son and successor of Sennacherib; this, according to the Jewish chronology {f}, was in the twenty second year of Manasseh's reign:

which took Manasseh among the thorns; in a thicket of briers and thorns, where, upon his defeat, he had hid himself; a fit emblem of the afflictions and troubles his sins brought him into:

and bound him with fetters; hands and feet; with chains of brass, as the Targum, such as Zedekiah was bound with, 2 Kings 25:7, not chains of gold, with which Mark Antony bound a king of Armenia, for the sake of honour {g}:

and carried him to Babylon; for now the king of Assyria was become master of that city, and added it to his monarchy, and made it the seat of his residence; at least some times that and sometimes Nineveh, Merodachbaladan being dead, or conquered; though, according to Suidas {h}, it was he that took Manasseh; and by an Arabic writer {i}, he is said to be carried to Nineveh.

{f} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 24. p. 67. {g} Vell. Patercul. Hist. Roman. l. 2. {h} In voce manasshv. {i} Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 67. So Suidas, ib.

Verse 12. And when he was in affliction,.... In prison; however, in fetters; according to the Targum, the Chaldeans made an instrument of brass with holes in it, and put him in it, and fire about it, something like the brasen bull of Perillus; and the above Arabian writer {k} calls it a tower of brass:

he besought the Lord his God; by prayer and supplication:

and humbled himself greatly before the Lord God of his fathers; confessing his sins, expressing great sorrow and repentance for them.

{k} Abulph. & Suidas, ib. (Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 67.)

Verse 13. And prayed unto him,.... To have mercy on him, and forgive him his sins:

and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication; and granted his request, showed favour to him, and forgave him his sins:

and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom; so wrought upon the heart of the king of Assyria, as to give him his liberty, and restore him to his dominions; it is very probable his captivity was not long; for, being soon brought by his affliction to a sense and confession of his sins, by the overruling providence of God, he was quickly released:

then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God; and not the idols he had served; that he was a holy God, and hated sin, and a just God in afflicting him for it, and gracious and merciful in forgiving his sins, and bringing him out of his troubles.

Verse 14. Now after this he built a wall without the city of David,.... Which perhaps had been broken down by the Assyrian army, when it came and took him; Vitringa {l} thinks this is the wall of the pool of Siloah, Nehemiah 3:15 which seems to be the first and oldest wall, as Josephus {m}; for that turning to the north bent towards the pool of Siloam; an Arabic writer {n} calls it the southern wall:

on the west side of Gihon; on the west side of the city, towards Gihon; for that was to the west of it, 2 Chronicles 32:30,

in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate; through which the fish were brought from Joppa, and where, according to the Targum, they were sold:

and compassed about Ophel; the eastern part of Mount Zion; some say it was the holy of holies, 2 Chronicles 27:3,

and raised it up a very great height; built the wall very high there:

and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah; this he did to put his kingdom in a posture of defence, should it be attacked by the Assyrian army again.

{l} Comment. in Jesaiam, c. 22. 9. {m} De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 9. {n} Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 67.

Verse 15. And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord,.... Which he had set there, 2 Chronicles 33:7

and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem; see 2 Chronicles 33:4,

and cast them out of the city; perhaps into the brook Kidron; all this he did to show the sincerity of his repentance for his idolatry, and his abhorrence of it.

Verse 16. And he repaired the altar of the Lord,.... Which was fallen to ruin, being neglected and disused in his times of idolatry: or, according to the Keri, or marginal reading, and so the Targum, "he built it"; which perhaps he had before pulled down and destroyed:

and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings; to the Lord, for bringing him out of captivity, and restoring him to his kingdom; and especially for converting him from his idolatries, giving him repentance for them, and forgiveness of sins:

and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel; and him only; another instance of the truth of his repentance, in endeavouring to reform those whom he had misled, and restore the true worship of God among them, and bring them back to that.

Verse 17. Nevertheless, the people did sacrifice still in the high places,.... Not in those that were built for idols, at least did not sacrifice to them; for it follows:

yet unto the Lord their God only; the Targum is, "to the name of the Word of the Lord their God."

Verse 18. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh,.... Good and bad, what were done by him both before and after his conversion:

and his prayer unto his God; which it seems was taken and recorded, but now lost; for as for that which is among the apocryphal writings, there is no reason to believe it to be his, though it is thought to be so by many {o}:

and the words of the seers; or the prophets, as the Targum; and the prophets in his days, according to the Jewish chronology {p}, were Joel, Nahum, and Habakkuk:

that spake to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel; words of admonition and reproof before his humiliation, and words of comfort, advice, and instruction, after it; the Targum is, "that spake to him in the name of the Word of the Lord God of Israel:"

behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel; not in the canonical book so called, where none of the above things, namely, his prayer, and the speeches of the prophets, are to be found, at least not all; but in the annals of the kings of Israel, now lost.

{o} Vid. Fabritii Bibliothec. Graec. l. 3. c. 31. p. 738, 739. {p} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 20.

Verse 19. His prayer also,.... Was not only recorded in the above annals, but in the writings of another person after mentioned:

and how God was entreated of him; heard his prayer, and showed him favour both in a temporal and spiritual way; for though the Jews would not allow that he was saved, or had a part in the world to come, eternal life {q}, yet there appears no just reason why it should be so thought:

and all his sin, and his trespass; his impieties, idolatries, and murders: and the places wherein he built high places; see 2 Chronicles 33:3

and set up groves; statues in groves:

and graven images, before he was humbled; see 2 Chronicles 33:7,

behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers; or of Hosea, the name of a prophet who wrote the history of his own times; so the Targrim and Vulgate Latin version; and, according to the Jewish chronology {r}, there was a prophet of this name in the times of Amon the son of Manasseh.

{q} Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 2. {r} Seder Olam Zuta, p. 105. Ed. Meyer.

Verses 20-25. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house,.... That is, in the garden of his house, See Gill on "2Ki 21:18"; there; to which may be added, that the Jews {s} in later times buried in a garden; though it was the custom of the ancients, both Greeks {t} and Romans {u}, to bury the dead in their own houses; hence sprung the worship of the Lares and Penates, the household gods: from hence to the end of the chapter is the same with
2 Kings 21:18-26.

{s} Cippi Heb. p. 43. {t} Plato in Minoe. {u} Servius in Virgil. Aeneid. 5. "praeterea si nova," & in l. 6. "sedibus hunc refer," &c.