2 Chronicles 33 Study Notes

33:1-6 Since Manasseh was only twelve years old when he came to the throne, he would not have been alive at the time of the miraculous victory over the Assyrians. Furthermore, much of his early life was during the time when Hezekiah’s pride stood in the way of full devotion to the Lord, thus setting a negative example for Manasseh. Finally, when we consider that Manasseh reigned for fifty-five years, we can get away from the idea that the complete reversal, which we associate with his reign, occurred almost all at once. Nevertheless, this king not only undid everything good that Hezekiah had done, but he brought the entire kingdom to a new low in idolatry and disobedience. He rebuilt all the sites for idol worship; he burned his sons as pagan sacrifices; he immersed himself in the occult; and ultimately he brought the entire nation down with him.

33:1 Manasseh: Thirteenth king of Judah; son of Hezekiah; extreme idol worshiper; repented while in exile in Assyria; promoted worship of God upon return to Jerusalem.

33:7-10 Manasseh even brought idols into the temple. The summary statement that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites is a horrifying assessment. When God made a covenant with David and Solomon, he made a three-way connection between his dwelling in the temple in Jerusalem, the people dwelling in the promised land, and the people’s obedience to the law. If Manasseh led the people in disobedience and displaced God from his temple, then they would be dispossessed from the promised land, just like the Canaanites before them.

33:11-13 The ultimate punishment that God had always held out as a possibility now came to pass. Manasseh was captured and carried off to Babylon by the king of Assyria. The parallel passage in 2Kg 21 does not mention this exile and humiliation, nor does it say that he repented and returned to the Lord. It was a sincere repentance that God honored, so Manasseh was able to return to Jerusalem and take up his duties as king once again.

33:14-17 Manasseh attempted to undo all the damage he had caused. He repaired the destruction that had been wrought by the Assyrian invasion; he purified the temple; he removed the idols; he reinstituted regular sacrifices; and he instructed the people to serve the Lord. They did restrict their worship to Yahweh, but did not return to legitimate worship at the temple.

33:18-20 Manasseh’s death notice includes references to the sources for the events that are related in 2 Kings as well as for this particular record of his repentance. He was not buried in the area reserved for kings but was laid to rest in his own house.

33:21-24 Amon: Fifteenth king of Judah; son of Manasseh; idol worshiper; assassinated by his officials. Whatever repentance or reform Manasseh attempted did not carry over to his son and successor, Amon. He picked up where his father had left off before his repentance, going back into idolatry. But with Amon there was no mid-life repentance. His servants assassinated him after he had reigned for two years. The people were probably outraged by the assassination, so they had Amon’s assassins killed.

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