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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

2 Chronicles 33

Verses 1-9

See note on 2 Kings 21:1

Verse 10

See note on 2 Kings 21:10

Verses 11-17

Manasseh’s Conversion - 2 Chronicles 33:11-17

Only the Chronicles account gives this incident of the reign of Manasseh. It lacks many details which arouse the curiosity of the reader, such as the circumstances which led to his capture by the Assy`ans, how lie came to be released, the time of the occurrence, etc. It seems fairly safe to conclude that the adventure occurred in the rate life of Manasseh, judging by his deeds after his release. The statement that he was taken "among the thorns" does not seem to mean that he was found in a thicket of thorn bushes. Though some have conjectured that he was on a hunting trip and was surprised by the Assyrian patrol.

The Hebrew word translated "thorns" is sometimes also rendered "thistles." It probably means that his means of confinement was irritable as a thorn might be. Compare what is said of the Canaanite troublers of the disobedient Israelites (Joshua 23:13). The New American Standard Bible reads, "and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon."

Another question arises as to why Manasseh was carried to Babylon rather than Nineveh, which was the chief city of the Assyrians. Of course, the Assyrians still retained control of Babylon in the time of Manasseh, but they were soon to lose it. In fact, this may supply a clue as to why Manasseh was released. He may have won his freedom by a Babylonian overthrow of the Assyrian overlords. Certainly the Lord used it to chastise Manasseh and to bring him to his senses and to his knees.

Manasseh must have suffered considerably in his captivity, though it was a great blessing to him. He realized at last what he had done and that it was God only who could deliver him. He prayed humbly and importunately to the Lord, who heard his prayer, delivered him, and allowed him to return to his throne in Jerusalem. The apocrypha contains a short book called the Prayer of Manasseh. Of course it is not inspired, and is only traditional, but reveals the probable feeling of the repentant king at the time. It is worthwhile reading for the student.

How long was Manasseh is prison? No information is given concerning that, but it would have been a period of months at the very least. The state of affairs in the kingdom during the absence of the king are unknown. The people soon discovered a drastic change in Manasseh after his restoration. He began trying to undo some of the mistakes of his past. His works included building a wall around the strategic spring of Gihon to the fish gate, greatly strengthening of the fortress Ophel. and putting trained captains over garrisons in all of Judah’s fenced cities.

The pagan idols and altars he had erected in Jerusalem and in the temple were removed and cast out of the city. The altar of the Lord was repaired and restored, peace and thank offerings were offered on it, and Judah was commanded to serve the Lord. The high places-were not removed, but the people claimed to be worshipping the Lord in the high places. Of course this was contrary to the Lord’s will.

The life of King Manasseh provides a double example for the student. His conversion is a beautiful example of the longsuffering mercy and grace of God in saving such a wicked reprobate idolator as Manasseh. He was guilty of sacrificing his son on a pagan altar, of allowing pagan prostitution in the land, probably even in the temple, and was the cause of Judah’s irrevocable destruction, fast approaching. One can thank the Lord for his conversion. On the other hand Manasseh is the example of one who wastes his life by rejecting the Lord so long. Manasseh had encouraged false worship, contributing to the damnation of souls of many of his people. Though he was saved and tried to restore worship of the Lord no heed was paid to him, and the nation hurtled on to its impending doom. One can bewail the tragedy of this. Read Psalms 103:8-12 in connection.

Verses 18-25

See note on 2 Kings 21:17

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-chronicles-33.html. 1985.