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Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical Lange's Commentary
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lcc/ 2-chronicles-33.html. 1857-84.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/
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o. Manasseh and Amon.—Ch. 33
α. Manasseh: 2 Chronicles 33:1-20
2 Chronicles 33:1.Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned 2fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, like the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had 3cast out before the sons of Israel. And he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had pulled down, and reared up altars for Baalim, and 4made asheroth, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord, although the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for e2 Chronicles 2 Chronicles 33:5 And he built altars to all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6And he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practised sorcery, and divination, and enchantment, and appointed conjurors and soothsayers: he wrought much evil in the eyes of the Lord to provoke Him. 7And he set the carving of the image which he had made 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 out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name 8for ever. And I will no more remove the foot of Israel from the soil which I have appointed for your fathers,1 if only they will hold on to do all that I have commanded them, in all the law and the statutes and the judgments 9given by Moses. And Manasseh led astray Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed 10before the sons of Israel. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people; but they did not attend.
11And the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, and they took Manasseh in fetters, and bound him with chains, and carried him to Babel. 12And when he was in affliction, he besought the grace of the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13And prayed unto Him; and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom: and 14Manasseh knew that the Lord He is God. And after this he built the outer wall of the city of David, to the west of Gihon, in the valley, and at the entrance of the fish gate, and encompassed Ophel, and made it very high, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. 15And he took away the strange gods and the image 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, 16and cast them out of the city. And he built2 the altar of the Lord, and offered on it sacrifices of peace and thanksgiving, and commanded Judah to 17serve the Lord God of Israel. But the people still sacrificed in the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
18And the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the Lord God of 19Israel, behold, they are written in the history of the kings of Israel. And his prayer, and his being heard, and all his sin, and his apostasy, and the places in which he built high places, and set up asherim and carved images, before 20he was humbled, behold, they are written in the history of Hozai.3 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.
β. Amon: 2 Chronicles 33:21-25
21Amon was twenty and two years old when he became king, and he reigned 22two years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done; and Amon sacrificed unto all the 23carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them. And he humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father humbled himself; for he, Amon, multiplied trespass. 24And his servants conspired against 25him, and slew him in his own house. And the people of the land smote all the conspirators against King Amon: and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
The idolatrous proceedings in the beginning of Manasseh’s reign are depicted by our author, 2 Chronicles 33:1-10, mostly in verbal agreement with 2 Kings 21:1-10. Instead of the summary report there following (2 Chronicles 33:11-16) of the threatening words of the prophets addressed to him, he appends the narrative of Manasseh’s removal to Babel, his repentance and conversion, 2 Chronicles 33:11-17, for which the book of Kings has no parallel. The closing notices of Manasseh’s reign (2 Chronicles 33:18-20), and that which relates to Amon (2 Chronicles 33:21-25), are again in close agreement with 2 Kings 21:1 ff., 2 Kings 21:19 ff.
1. Idolatrous Proceedings at the Beginning of Manasseh’s Reign: 2 Chronicles 33:1-10; comp. Bähr on the parallel.—Manasseh was twelve years old. For the occurrence of this king’s name (in the form of Minasi) on the Assyrian inscriptions, see Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 2.—And he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem, 696–641 b. c. (according to the usual chronology, which can scarcely be disputed). Against the length of the reign of Manasseh, as our report states it in harmony with 2 Kings, Scheuchzer (Phul und Nabonassar, Zürich 1850) and v. Gumpach (Die Zeitrechnung der Assyrer und Babylonier, 1852, p. 98 ff.) have raised objections, and attempted to reduce it to thirty-five years. Bertheau (Komment. p. 406) concurs with them in this; and Neteler endeavours to confine at least the independent reign of Manasseh approximately to the same narrow measure, as he makes him reign fourteen years (say 692–678) in common with Hezekiah, and then forty or forty-one years (678–638) alone. On the contrary, Schrader (pp. 225 ff., 238 ff.) shows that no reduction whatever of the fifty-five years is requisite, as the Assyrian monuments bear no testimony against a reign of more than half a century for this king.
2 Chronicles 33:3. And reared up altars for Baalim. In 2 Kings stands the sing.: “for Baal”; as also in the following words: “made an asherah.” The phrase of the Chronist appears here to be rhetorically generalizing and climactic; comp., moreover, 2 Chronicles 14:2, 2 Chronicles 28:2, 2 Chronicles 31:1
2 Chronicles 33:6. And he caused his sons to pass through the fire. According to 2 Kings, this happened only to one son (בְּנוֹ for בָּנָיו), precisely the same difference as above in Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:3; comp 2 Kings 16:3); see on 2 Chronicles 28:3. The Chronist alone states that this horrid human sacrifice took place in the valley of Ben-hinnom; in 2 Kings this note is wanting.—And he practised sorcery and divination, etc., “bewitched with an evil eye (עוֹנֵן connected with עַיִן), and divined (נִחֵשׁ, properly, watched serpents), and muttered” (כִּשֵּׁף, whispered charms; comp. Deuteronomy 18:10). The third of these phrases is wanting in 2 Kings; whereas the following words: “appointed conjurors and soothsayers” (literally, “made a conjuror and a wizard”), agree again verbally with that text.
2 Chronicles 33:7. And he set the carving of the image . . . in the house of God. In 2 Kings, “the carving (פֶּסֶל, as here, ‘carved image,’ as distinguished from מַסֵּכה, ‘molten image,’ 2 Chronicles 28:2; comp. 2 Chronicles 34:3) of the asherah.” The term סֶמֶל “idol, image, “arising perhaps from Deuteronomy 4:16, appears here and 2 Chronicles 33:15, as in Ezekiel 8:3, to be a contemptuous and abhorrent designation of the asherah.—Will I put my name for ever;לְעֵילוֹם only here for לְעוֹלָם.
2 Chronicles 33:8. Which I have appointed for your fathers, “fixed,” as in 2 Chronicles 30:5. Instead of “your,” perhaps “their” is the original reading; see Crit. Note.
2 Chronicles 33:10. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, by the mouth of His prophets, whose speech in the parallel text, 2 Kings 21:11-16, is also given in a summary form; whereas our author omits these words (words of the seer, 2 Chronicles 33:18), though not without adding a reference to them (see under 2 Chronicles 33:18), as contained in the “history of the kings of Israel.”
2. Manasseh’s Captivity and Conversion: 2 Chronicles 33:11-17.—The Lord brought upon them. According to the Assyrian monuments, this took place about 647, under King Assurbanipal, the Sardanapalus of the Greek historians.—Took Manasseh in fetters, scarcely in nets or hooks (חוֹחַ synonymous with חָח, 2 Kings 19:28; Ezekiel 19:4; comp. also Job 40:26), as if Manasseh were to be represented as an untamed wild beast, Psalms 32:9 (Keil). Rather is חֹחִים to be taken simply as a synonym of the following נְחֻשְׁתַּיִם, “brass fetters, double fetters” (comp. Judges 16:21; 2 Samuel 3:34; and also 2 Chronicles 36:6), as it is taken in this sense by the Sept. (δέσμοις), Vulg. (catenis), and several Rabbins. There is as little reason to think of a place, Hohim, where he was taken captive (Then.), as of a thorn hedge, into which (comp. 1 Samuel 13:6) he had rushed through fear (Starke and other ancients), or even of a tropical meaning of the phrase, according to which בַּחֹחִים should be: “with deceit, not in open conflict” (Cellarius, Disput. de Captivitate Babylonica, and others). For the question of the credibility of a carrying away of Manasseh in chains, and that to Babel, comp. the Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 3.
2 Chronicles 33:12. And when he was in affliction (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:22) he besought the grace of the Lord, literally, “stroked or smoothed” the face of the Lord; comp. Exo 32:11; 1 Samuel 13:11; 1 Kings 13:6; Daniel 9:13. The contents of this penitent prayer of the captive king were handed down to the Chronist by those old sources which he quotes 2 Chronicles 33:18 f., namely, the “history of the kings of Israel,” and the “history (words) of Hozai.” The “prayer of Manasses” in the Old Testament Apocrypha is scarcely identical with this older record, which lay before our author; it appears to have been composed-originally in Greek, is wanting in many older manuscripts of the Sept., and is first communicated from the Constit. Apostolicœ, ii. 22 (2d or 3d century), on which account the Council of Trent excluded it from the canon of the Romish Church. Yet recently, Jul. Fürst (Geschichte der bibl. Literatur, ii. 399 ff.) has defended the document as genuine (after the ancients; see J. A. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Grœca, ed. Harles, iii. 732 ff.).
2 Chronicles 33:13. And He was entreated of him. The Apocryphal accounts in the Targ. on our passage, in the Const. Ap. p. 9, in Johannes Damascen. ‛Iερὰ παραλλ. ii. 15, in Anastasius on Psalms 6:0, etc., contain all kinds of wonders concerning the way in which God delivered the penitent Manasseh (by sudden melting or sudden breaking of his chains, etc.). Comp. O. F. Fritzsche, in the Kurzgefassten exegetischen Handbuche zu den Apokryphen des Alten Bundes, i. p. 158, and Ew.Geschichte, iii. 1, p. 378.
2 Chronicles 33:14. And after this he built the outer wall, perhaps that on which Hezekiah had already built (2 Chronicles 32:5); בָּנָה stands, therefore, as often, for finishing a building (elevating). The absence of the article from חוֹמה, however, cannot constrain us at once (with Berth. and others) to translate “an outer wall,” as, on the other hand, the emendation proposed by Arnold (Art. “Zion,” in Herzog’s Realencycl. xviii. 634), הַחִיצוֹנָה הַחוֹמָה, is scarcely necessary.—Of the city of David (literally, “to the city”) to the west of Gihon in the valley, that is, in that valley between the city of David (Zion) and the lower city (Akra), which in its south-eastern outlet was afterwards (in Josephus, etc.) the cheesemakers’ valley, or the valley Tyropæon. These words first assign the direction of the wall towards the west, and the following words: “at the entrance of the fish gate,” denote, again, the direction towards the east; for the fish gate lay, according to Nehemiah 3:3, near the north-east corner of the lower city and the tower Hananeel.—And encompassed Ophel, with that outer wall which he carried from the fish gate and the north-east corner on to the south, and then round Ophel (see 2 Chronicles 27:3). So, no doubt correctly, Berth. and Kamph.; for against the assumption of Arnold (in p. 9) and Keil, that a special wall is here intended, distinct from the former, to enclose Ophel, is the following statement: וַיַּגְבִּיהֶהָ מְֹאד, “and made it very high,” which clearly refers to the former wall.—And put captains of war; comp.2Ch 18:2, 2 Chronicles 32:6.
2 Chronicles 33:15. Took away the strange gods; comp. 2 Chronicles 33:3-7. On the closing words: “and cast them out of the city,” 2 Chronicles 29:16 and 2 Chronicles 30:14 are to be compared. Moreover, according to 2 Kings 23:6; 2 Kings 23:12, this removal of the idols, and their altars, appears not to have been complete; for, according to these verses, much of this sort still remained for Josiah to remove (comp. also 2 Chronicles 33:17), which constrains us to assign either an incomplete, or at least a transitory and by no means permanent character to the reform of worship by Manasseh.
2 Chronicles 33:16. And he built the altar of the Lord, the altar of burnt-offering, of which, moreover, it is not to be assumed from this remark that Manasseh had before removed it from the temple court (as Ew.Geschichte, iii. 1. 367, holds). The building, at all events, is to be regarded as a repairing (comp. 2 Chronicles 24:4 ff.; 2 Chronicles 1:0 Kings 5:32); even if וַיִּכֶן were the original reading (see Crit. Note), the same sense of repairing would result.
3. Manasseh’s End; Amon: 2 Chronicles 33:18-25.—For 2 Chronicles 33:18-19, see above on 2 Chronicles 33:10; 2 Chronicles 33:13; and with regard to the history (words) of Hozai, Introd. § 5, ii. p. 20 (also Crit. Note on this passage).
2 Chronicles 33:20. And they buried him in his own house; more exactly, 2 Kings 21:18 : “in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza.” This garden of Uzza the Englishman Lewin believes he has found in the so-called Sakra, on the east side of the Haram. He affirms that there also the Maccabean King Alexander was buried, on which account the burying - place in question occurs in Josephus, de B. Jud., under the name of the grave of King Alexander (comp. Athenœum, 1871, March, pp. 278, 309).
2 Chronicles 33:21 ff.; comp. 2 Kings 21:19-26, and Bähr on this passage. The concise report of our passage says nothing of Amon’s mother (as also, 2 Chronicles 33:1, the mention of Manasseh’s mother is wanting), and at the close contains nothing of the burial of the king nor of the sources employed, but, on the contrary, appears enlarged by a parallel drawn between him and Manasseh, according to which he did not humble himself as his father had done (2 Chronicles 33:23).
evangelical and ethical reflections, homiletical and apologetic remarks, on 2 Chronicles 33:0
1. The evangelical import of the captivity and conversion of Manasseh consists mainly in this, that it is a pregnant type of the conversion of the ungodly by means of divine chastisement,—a significant confirmation and impressive exhibition of that truth, preached by all the prophets and men of God of the Old Testament, that God the Lord is found only of those who seek Him, that His call to repentance comes to no sinner too late (the nusquam conversio sera of Jerome, Comm. in Ezech. viii. 21; Ep. 16 ad Damasum, c. 1; Ep. 39 ad Paulam, 1; Ep. 42, 107, 147, etc.), that He “killeth and maketh alive, bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up” (1 Samuel 2:6; comp. Psalms 30:4; Psalms 86:13; Psalms 116:3), that always again His comforting “return” sounds anew in the ear of the penitent sinner (comp. Joel 2:12; Ezekiel 33:11). As a deeply impressive illustration and verification of the text: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,” Psalms 50:15, from the history of the Old Testament, the event forms at the same time a very significant parallel to the New Testament parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:0), as well as to those similar exemplifications of the evangelical process in the appropriation of salvation (as the woman that was a sinner, Zacchæus, the robber, etc.), of which that evangelist, who stands in the same relation, as supplementer to the other evangelists, as the Chronist to the older historians of the Old Testament, possesses an exceedingly precious treasure.
2. To this general evangelical importance of our history is to be added its special prefigurative relation to the judgment of the Babylonish captivity, which took place half a century after it. What was announced once in the reign of Hezekiah by the fearfully earnest warning of the destruction of the northern kingdom, and then also by the direct message of Isaiah addressed to the king, as the final doom of the Jewish people persisting in the way of unfaithfulness to God (Isa 36:6 f.; 2 Kings 20:17 f.), this appears to be here realized by the transportation of Manasseh to Babel already in literal truth and full extent. Through the grace of the Lord, moved by the entreaty of the penitent Manasseh, the worst and most terrible calamity—a long exile, with its dissolving and unsettling consequences for the whole state—is at once avented; and as once to Hezekiah, for his personal life and reign during fifteen years, so now to his son is granted a prolongation of nearly fifty years for the existence of the whole kingdom. Manasseh’s lot thus stands intermediate between that which Hezekiah and that which the last kings—Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah—experience, as the reform of the religious life attempted by him after his return from Babel, but unsatisfactory and by no means permanent, falls in the middle between the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah, with whose thorough energy and decision it certainly cannot be remotely compared.
3. From the absence of a parallel to our report in 2 Kings 21:0, the hypercriticism of our century has sought to refer to the region of unhistorical legend either the whole history of Manasseh (de Wette, Gramberg, Graf, Nöldecke; comp. Introd. § 6, p. 22, and § 7, p. 29), or at least that of his conversion and the reform of worship consequent upon it; comp. what is asserted in the latter respect by Movers (Chron. p. 328 ff.), Ewald (Gesch. iii. 1. 366 ff.), Berth. (Chron. p. 408), and Hitzig (Gesch. p. 230 f.). The mythifying of the whole history, and therefore of the account of the capture and deportation of Manasseh to Babel, appears in the present state of historical investigation to be a glaring anachronism. This has been also perceived by Hitzig, who, after he had declared (Begriff der Kritik, etc. p. 180 f.) the captivity of Manasseh to be an invention derived from the prophecy of Isaiah 39:6, has recently (Gesch. as quoted) acknowledged the historical validity of this fact; whereas Graf has in his last work (Die geschichtlichen Bücher des Alten Test. 1866, p. 174) adhered to his former (Studien und Krit. 1859, iii.) absolutely sceptical treatment of the whole narrative. In the face of the most recent Assyriologic investigations of Rawlinson, Oppert, Schrader, etc., a further persistence in such a position could only be regarded as an inveterate unscientific obstinacy. The assumption, indeed, which was at first thought to be confirmed by the Assyrian monuments, namely, that it was Esarhaddon who, on the occasion of his campaign against Phœnicia, about 677, took Manasseh captive and carried him to Babel (an assumption with which the report of Abydenus in Eusebius, Chron. i. p. 54, concerning a conquest of “Lower Syria” by Axerdis, that is, Esarhaddon, may very well combine), would scarcely be reconcilable with the most recent state of these investigations. The capture and Babylonish exile of Manasseh cannot be transferred to so early a time as the third or fourth year of Esarhaddon, who, according to Ptolemy and the inscriptions, reigned 681–668. For even if an inscription of this Assyrian king, in a list enumerating twenty - two names of tributary Syrian (“Chattite,” Hittite) kings, distinctly mentions a Minasi sar Yahudi, and thus, at all events, testifies that Manasseh belonged to the vassal-princes of that great king (comp. Schrader, pp. 227, 238), yet the same evidence reverts to a considerably younger inscription, wherein Asurbanipal (Sardanapalus), Esarhaddon’s successor, in a list of tributary Syro-Phœnician princes, along with the kings of Tyre, Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ascalon, Ekron, Gebal, Arvad, enumerates also between Tyre and Edom a sar Yahudi, “king of Judah,” who again, as is clear from the names of his contemporary neighbouring princes, can be no other than Manasseh. Accordingly Ms deportation, together with the attempt at revolt which no doubt occasioned it, may very well have taken place under this later sovereign; and that it did so is rendered highly probable by several circumstances, particularly this, that so long as Esarhaddon reigns we hear nothing, but under his successor Asurbanipal very much, of the disquiet and revolt of the vassals in Hither Asia against the Assyrian power. Hence the deportation of Manasseh by the Assyrian troops to Babel, and his short stay in captivity there, are to be placed under Asurbanipal about the year 648, when the Babylonish viceroy, Sammughes or Samul-sumukin, headed the western vassal-princes in an insurrection against the sovereign residing at Nineveh, and thereby occasioned a victorious expedition of the Assyrian army against them. The combination, keeping in view that point of time at the beginning of Esarhaddon’s reign, which has been adopted by Bertheau, Keil, and Neteler, after J. Cappellus, Ussher, des Vignoles, Prideaux, Calmet, Rambach, J. H. and J. D). Michaelis, and recently Ewald, Duncker (Gesch. des Alterthums, i. 697 ff., ii. 592, 3d ed.), Reinke (Beiträge zur Erklä-rung des A. T. viii. p. 127 f.), Hitzig (Gesch. as quoted), Thenius (on 2 Kings 21:0), must accordingly be corrected; see the searching and cogent proof by Schrader in the often quoted work (p. 238 ff.), with which also the not essentially different combination of J. Fürst (Gesch. der bibl. Literatur, ii. pp. 340, 372 f.) is to be compared, although the king Sarak there named as captor of Manasseh, as Schrader has proved, p. 233, is a later sovereign, different from Asurbanipal, the Asur - idil - ili of the inscriptions.4 And with regard to Babylon as the place of deportation, and to the mode of removal with chains and iron fetters, Schrader has produced the most satisfactory explanations and confirmatory parallels from the Assyrian monuments; since, with regard to the latter point, he shows from an inscription of Asurbanipal that even King Necho i. (Ni-ik-ku-u) suffered a “binding of the hands and feet with iron bands and chains when he was carried captive to Nineveh about this time,”5 and referring to this fact justly remarks: “But what might thus befall the king of Egypt might certainly as well be inflicted on a Jewish prince ” (p. 243). The final judgment of this distinguished Assyriologist concerning our fact runs thus: “There is nothing to cast suspicion on the notice of the Chronist, and his report is sufficiently intelligible from the state of things about 647 b.C.”
4. But even with respect to the history of Manasseh’s conversion and his subsequent reforms, the report of our author in 2 Chronicles 33:13-17 contains nothing to justify the suspicion of the above-named critics (with whom also Schrader in the main accords, so far as he assumes the legendary as well as the historical in the report). For—1. In close connection with this history is communicated, 2 Chronicles 33:14, a notice of the buildings and fortifications of Manasseh that resembles anything but a mere invention or fable, and the separation of which from the surrounding accounts, as if it only were historical and they were fabulous embellishment, is impossible (as the highly unfortunate attempt of Graf, as quoted, p. 174, proves). 2. The report also, 2 Chronicles 33:16, of the restoration of the altar of the Lord by Manasseh, is much too historically definite and concrete to be fairly taken for the product of a biassed imagination or a fabulous rumour. 3. The removal, noticed 2 Chronicles 33:15, of the strange gods, of the idol, that is, the figure of the asherah (2 Kings 21:7) and of the idol-altar, must by no means be thought necessarily connected with the complete annihilation of these monuments of idolatry, as if there were here a contradiction of 2 Kings 23:6; 2 Kings 23:12; rather the complete destroying, crushing, and reducing to powder there mentioned, which Josiah thought it necessary to inflict on these monuments, directly suggest the thought that Manasseh neglected that which was important, and proceeded with too much mildness and forbearance (towards the priests of this idolatrous worship). Even the phraseology employed is against the assumption that the Chronist reports anything contradictory of those passages of the second book of Kings; for our author knows very well how to distinguish between הֵסִיר, “remove” (or even הִשְׁלִיךְ, “cast out,” 2 Chronicles 33:15), and שִׁבַּר,הֵדק ,בָּרַת, and similar words, denoting the annihilation of the images or altars, according to such passages as 2 Chronicles 15:16, 2 Chronicles 31:1, 2 Chronicles 34:4 (comp. Keil, p. 365). 4. To the assumption that neither Manasseh’s reform of worship was truly thorough and radical, nor his conversion solid and permanent, there is not the least objection; on the contrary, 2 Chronicles 33:17 speaks expressly against the conception that he had swept away the monuments of idolatry as thoroughly as his father Hezekiah had done, or his grandson Josiah afterwards did; and the remainder of his reign and life, after his return from Babel (647–642 or 641), amounting perhaps to five years, left him quite time enough to relapse a second time partially or wholly into the idolatrous and immoral course of his earlier days. 5. If, accordingly, as is not merely possible, but probable, his return to the worship of the Lord was not a permanent change, but merely an episode in the long series of acts and events in his reign, it will be the less surprising if, in the judgment as well of the men of his day as of posterity regarding this sovereign, a division arose, so that only here and there express mention is made of the temporary repentance and better theocratic disposition wrought in him by the calamity of his exile; while he was otherwise, and perhaps usually, without any reference to this circumstance, reckoned among the sovereigns who were to be rejected from the theocratic stand-point. That accounts have been preserved to us in the canon by representatives of both of these views—that besides the present report, relatively favourable to Manasseh, the decidedly unfavourable account of the book of Kings, that uses the phrase “sins of Manasseh” several times (2 Kings 24:3; 2 Kings 23:26; comp. Jeremiah 15:4) almost as a proverb, has come down to us,—this can by no means be called more wonderful than, for example, the existence of two relations, a more idealizing and a more realistic (duly emphasizing the dark along with the light), concerning the transactions in the reign of a David, a Solomon, a Jehoshaphat, or than the very dimly coloured picture of the religious and moral conduct of the northern kingdom, as the indications of our author, obviously betraying a certain aversion and rooted antipathy, exhibit it, compared with the far more favourable delineations of the books of Kings. In abatement of that which the opponents have specially to allege from the last-quoted passages against the credibility of the account of Manasseh’s reforms, comp. also especially Keil, p. 366. If this be the case with the conversion of Manasseh, the passages 2 Kings 24:3; 2 Kings 23:26, Jeremiah 15:4, where it is said that the Lord removed Judah out of His sight on account of the sins of Manasseh, lose all significance for the opposite view. Manasseh is here presented as the man who by his ungodliness rendered the doom of Judah and Jerusalem inevitable, because he so corrupted Judah by his sins that he could no longer turn truly to the Lord, but fell back ever more into the sins of Manasseh. In like manner it is said, 2 Kings 17:21-22, of the ten tribes, that the Lord cast them off because they walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, and departe not from them.
For לַֽאַנוֹתֵיכֶם the Sept., Vulg., Syr., etc., read לַֽאֲבוֹתָם which is preferred by many moderns since Luther (Berth., Kamph., etc.).
 וַיִּבֶן is the Kethib in most mss. and editions; some mss. and many old editions, however, give וַיִּבֶן as the Kethib and ויבן as the Keri. At all events, וַיִּבֶן appears to be the original reading, for which also the Vulg. (restauravit) and Syr. testify.
For חוֹזַי the Sept. read הַהֹזִים (“words of the seers,” as in 2 Chronicles 33:18); comp. Introd. § 5, ii.
With respect also to the date (645 or a subsequent year), as well as some other circumstances, the combination of Fürst deviates from that of Schrader: among other things in this, that Fürst endeavours to prove historically a league of Manasseh, after his return from Babylon, with Psammetichus of Egypt (?), and so forth.
The words of the inscription. which are remarkable as parallel to 2 Chronicles 33:11 of this chapter, run thus: “The Sarludari (and) Necho they seized, then bound with iron bands and iron chains the hands and feet.” There also mention is made of a subsequent kindness to the captive Egyptian king in Nineveh and his return in company with royal “officers and governor” to Egypt. It was thus by no means an unheard of or extraordinary thing that befell Manasseh at this time; only in the manner of the divine decree and the restoration lies the difference.