2 Chronicles 33

CHAPTER XXXIII

Manasseh reigns fifty-five years, and restores idolatry,

pollutes the temple, and practises all kinds of abominations,

1-9.

He and the people are warned in vain, 10.

He is delivered into the hands of the Assyrians, bound with

fetters, and carried to Babylon, 11.

He humbles himself, and is restored, 12, 13.

He destroys idolatry, and restores the worship of God, 14-16.

The people keep the high places, but sacrifice to the Lord on

them, 17.

His acts, prayer, and death, 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,

21-24.

The people rise up, and slay his murderers, and make Josiah his

son king in his stead, 25.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXIII

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,

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 2Ki 21:1-17.

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 honours.

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 2Ki 21:19.

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, 2Ch 23:3,

See Clarke on 2Ki 21:26.

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:-

"O Lord, Almighty God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

and of their righteous seed, who hast made heaven and earth, with

all the ornament thereof; who hast bound the sea by the word of

thy commandment; who hast shut up the deep, and sealed it by thy

terrible and glorious name; whom all men fear, and tremble before

thy power; for the majesty of thy glory cannot be borne, and thine

angry threatening towards sinners is insupportable; but thy

merciful promise is unmeasurable and unsearchable; for thou art

the most high Lord, of great compassion, long-suffering, very

merciful, and repentest of the evils of men. Thou, O Lord,

according to thy great goodness, hast promised repentance and

forgiveness to them that have sinned against thee, and of thine

infinite mercies hast appointed repentance unto sinners, that they

may be saved. Thou, therefore, O Lord, that art the God of the

just, has not appointed repentance to the just, as to Abraham, and

Isaac, and Jacob, which have not sinned against thee; but thou

hast appointed repentance unto me that am a sinner: for I have

sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. My

transgressions, O Lord, are multiplied; my transgressions are

multiplied; and I am not worthy to behold and see the height of

heaven for the multitude of mine iniquities. I am bowed down with

many iron bands, that I cannot lift up mine head, neither have any

release; for I have provoked thy wrath, and done evil before thee.

I did not thy will, neither kept I thy commandments. I have set up

abominations, and have multiplied offences. Now therefore I bow

the knee of mine heart, beseeching thee of grace. I have sinned, O

Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge mine iniquities: wherefore

I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me, and destroy

me not in mine iniquities. Be not angry with me for ever, by

reserving evil for me; neither condemn me into the lower parts of

the earth. For thou art the God, the God of them that repent; and

in me thou wilt show all thy goodness: for thou wilt save me, that

am unworthy, according to thy great mercy. Therefore I will praise

thee for ever all the days of my life: for all the powers of the

heavens do praise thee, and thine is the glory for ever and

ever.-Amen.

The above translation, which is that in our common Bibles, might

be mended; but the piece is scarcely worth the pains.

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