2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 33
The Reign of Manasseh and of Amon.
MANASSEH’S WICKEDNESS. — V. 1. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem, including the time of his captivity; v. 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. Cp. 2 Kings 21, 1-16. V. 3. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah, his father, had broken down, his purpose being to make them sanctuaries of idolatry; and he reared up altars for Baalim, a great many of them, and made groves, erected the wooden pillars consecrated to the goddess Astarte, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them, thus introducing also the idolatry of the Chaldeans in addition to that of the Canaanites. V. 4. Also, he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall My name be forever. So he replaced the worship of Jehovah in the very house dedicated to His name with the abominations of idolatry. V. 5. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord, thus openly worshiping the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. V. 6. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, the Valley Ben-hinnom, southwest of Jerusalem, thus becoming guilty of the abominable practise of the Moabites. Also, he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, he made use of every form of sorcery and divination, even of that connected with the evil eye and with muttered and whispered charms, and dealt with a familiar spirit and with wizards, he actually appointed conjurors and soothsayers. He wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. V. 7. And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, probably an Asherah-pillar, 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 forever, Ps. 132, 14; v. 8. neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers, 2 Sam. 7, 10, so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, literally, “only that they observe,” for that was the condition under which the Lord would keep them in that land, according to the whole Law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. V. 9. So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, in leaving the right way which they had walked under pious Rezekiah, and to do worse than the heathen whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel. V. 10. And the Lord spake to Manasseh and to his people, namely, by the mouth of His faithful prophets, 2 Kings 21, 11-16; but they would not hearken, idolatry had quickly and effectively hardened their hearts once more. The same thing happens today when people who have been Christians deny the better knowledge and turn to the abominations of the children of the world. There are no greater enemies of Christianity than such as have denied its truths.
MANASSEH’S PUNISHMENT AND REPENTANCE. — V. 11. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, according to Assyrian monuments, King Assurbanipal (or Esar-haddon), which took Manasseh among the thorns, that is, in fetters, and bound him with fetters, with double brass chains, and carried him to Babylon, which at that time was under the jurisdiction of the king of Assyria, the capital of one of the tributary countries. V. 12. And when he was in affliction, in this shameful captivity, he besought the Lord, his God, in true sorrow over his apostasy, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, v. 13. and prayed unto Him, confessing his great sins and asking for mercy; and He was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. In restoring Manasseh to his kingdom, as a tributary monarch, the Assyrian king undoubtedly was influenced by political motives, principally that of making Judah a buffer state against Egypt, Assyria’s rival for supremacy. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord, He was God; he acknowledged Him as his Lord and Ruler, and followed His word. V. 14. Now, after this he built a wall without the City of David, probably the one on which Hezekiah had done some work, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in of the Fish Gate, this outer wall thus running from the northeast corner of Zion in a northerly direction and then crossing over the valley to make a junction with the main wall near the upper fort, in the place where the Temple might be most easily attacked, and compassed about Ophel, on the southern slope of the Temple mount, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah, veteran commanders. v. 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, v. 4. 5. 7, and cast them out of the city, he removed the worst abominations, though by no means all. V. 16. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, the altar of burnt offerings, and sacrificed thereon peace-offerings and thank offerings, in order to renew the covenant relation, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. V. 17. Nevertheless, the people did sacrifice still in the high places, the sanctuaries on the hills, yet unto the Lord, their God, only. This act did not always imply idolatry, but often led to the practice of it. V. 18. Now, the rest of the acts of Manasseh and his prayer unto his God, made at the time of his conversion while in captivity, 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, from which the inspired writer culled the information here offered. V. 19. His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves, Asherah-pillars, and graven images, before he was humbled, behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers, in the history of Hosai. In the latter part of his reign, Manasseh is an example of a person who turns to the Lord in true repentance and is accepted by the Lord. At the same time, his history contains a warning not to deny the faith and risk eternal rejection, for we do not know when God’s period of grace will be at an end.
THE REIGN OF AMON. — V. 20. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house, in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza, 2 Kings 21, 18; and Amon, his son, reigned in his stead. V. 21. Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. Cp. 2 Kings 21, 17-26. V. 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, having evidently restored them to their places of honor; v. 23. and humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh, his father, had humbled himself, he was addicted to idolatry all his life; but Amon trespassed more and more. V. 24. And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house, a fate which served as a punishment upon his idolatry. V. 25. But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against King Amon, for having interfered with the office of the king and endangered the welfare of the country by his assassination; and the people of the land made Josiah, his son, king in his stead. Assassinations and lynch justice are strictly against the will of the Lord, who is opposed to every form of anarchy and to every tendency in that direction.