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2 Chronicles 33


(LXX versing)
Manasseh Succeeds Hezekiah in Judah Manasseh Reigns in Judah The Bad Beginning of Manasseh; His Punishment and Repentance King Manasseh of Judah Manasseh Undoes the Work of Hezekiah
33:1-9 33:1-9 33:1-9 33:1-9 33:1-2
Manasseh's Idolatry Rebuked Manasseh Restored After Repentance Manasseh Repents
33:10-13 33:10-13 33:10-13 33:10-13 Manasseh's Captivity and Conversion
33:14-17 33:14-17 33:14-17 33:14-17 33:14
Death of Manasseh The End of Manasseh's Reign
33:18-20 33:18-20 33:18-20 33:18-20 33:18-20
Amon Becomes King in Judah Amon's Reign and Death The Evil Reign of Amon King Amon of Judah The Obduracy of Amon
33:21-25 33:21-25 33:21-25 33:21-23 33:21-25

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2He did evil in the sight of the Lord according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel. 3For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he also erected altars for the Baals and made Asherim, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4He built altars in the house of the Lord of which the Lord had said, "My name shall be in Jerusalem forever." 5For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger. 7Then he put the carved image of the idol 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 from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; 8and I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land which I have appointed for your fathers, if only they will observe to do all that I have commanded them according to all the law, the statutes and the ordinances given through Moses." 9Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.

33:1 "Manasseh" One wonders if Hezekiah named his son after a northern tribe in an attempt to unify the tribes.

Manasseh was the longest reigning Judean king and one of the most wicked (cf. 2 Kings 21). Hezekiah's prayer for healing resulted in the birth of this evil son.

However, like no other, Manasseh shows the character of YHWH's mercy and the power of prayer and repentance!

Josephus, Antiq. 10.3.1., mentions his mother's name as "Hephzibah of Jerusalem," following 2 Kgs. 21:1. In Isa. 67:4 this name, "my delight is in her," becomes the new name of restored Jerusalem.

33:2-7 "all the abominations of the nations" See SPECIAL TOPIC: ABOMINATION (OT).

What a list of pagan gods and superstitions (cf. Lev. 19:26,31; 20:6; Deut. 18:9-12; 2 Kgs. 21:3-7; Jer. 7:30-31)!

  1. rebuilt the high places (Canaanite)
    1. altars for the Ba'als (male god)
    2. made Asherim (female god)
  2. worshiped the host of heaven (Assyrian, Babylonian, i.e., sun, moon, constellations), 2 Chr. 33:5; the "host of heaven" can refer to angels, cf.1 Kgs. 22:19, but here to astral deities, cf. Deut. 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kgs. 12:16; 21:3; 23:4; Jer. 8:2
  3. worshiped Molech (cf. Lev. 18:21; 20:2-4; Deut. 18:10; Jer. 7:31; 32:35), 2 Chr. 33:6
  4. practiced witchcraft (cf. Deut. 18:10; see article in Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, p. 957), 2 Chr. 33:6
  5. used divination (cf. Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10; Jer. 27:9; NIDOTTE, vol. 3, pp. 945-951), 2 Chr. 33:6
  6. practices sorcery (cf. Exod. 22:18; Lev. 19:26; Jer. 27:9; NIDOTTE, vol. 2, pp. 735-738), 2 Chr. 33:6
  7. dealt with mediums (cf. Lev. 19:31; 20:6,27; Deut. 18:11; Isa. 8:19; 19:3), 2 Chr. 33:6
  8. dealt with spiritists (cf. Lev. 19:31; 20:6,27; Deut. 18:11; Isa. 8:19; 19:3; NIDOTTE, vol. 1, pp. 303-304), 2 Chr. 33:6

He even put some of these pagan altars in the temple, 2 Chr. 33:4,7,15.





See full notes at Deut. 18:10-11.

33:5 "the two courts" See 2 Chronicles 4:9.

33:6 "the valley of Ben-hinnom" See SPECIAL TOPIC: WHERE ARE THE DEAD? (Gehenna, II. D).

33:7 YHWH chose Jerusalem as the permanent site of His temple. Below is an excerpt from my exegetical commentary on Deut. 12:5.

"the place which the Lord your God shall choose" God chose (BDB 103, KB 119, Qal IMPERFECT, cf. vv. 11,14,18,21,26; 14:25; 15:20; 16:2,6,11,15; 17:8,10; 18:6; 26:2; 31:11) the worship site (cf. Exod. 20:24).

The tabernacle (ark) traveled with Israel:

  1. Gilgal, Josh. 4:19; 10:6,15
  2. Shechem, Josh 8:33
  3. Shiloh, Josh 18:1; Jdgs. 18:31; 1 Sam. 1:3
  4. Bethel, (possibly) Jdgs. 20:18,26-28; 21:2
  5. Kiriath-jearim, ark, 1 Sam. 6:21; 7:1-2 (priests at Nob, cf. 1 Samuel 21-22)
  6. Jerusalem
    1. David captures the citadel of Jebus (cf. 2 Sam. 5:1-10)
    2. David brings the ark to Jerusalem (cf. 2 Samuel 6)
    3. David purchases the site of the temple (2 Sam. 24:15-25; 2 Chr. 3:1)

Many modern scholars have tried to assert that Deuteronomy was written late to accommodate Hezekiah and Josiah's reforms of centralizing Israel's worship. However, Deuteronomy does not name Jerusalem as the specific site that YHWH will choose. In context the theological contrast is between:

  1. the local Ba'al shrines and the one shrine of Israel
  2. the monotheism of Israel versus the polytheism of Canaan (and the rest of the ancient Near East)

33:8 "remove the foot of Israel" This is idiomatic for Israel's occupation of Canaan. This promise of a land goes back initially to Gen. 12:9


"if" New Testament believers must recognize the difference between the conditional, performance-based OT (i.e., the cursing and blessing, Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; also known as "the two ways, cf. Deuteronomy 30) and the conditional, grace covenant of the NT. The character of YHWH does not change but His way of salvation does (i.e., "the new covenant," cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-36).



"the law, the statutes and the ordinances" See SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION.

33:9 What a shocking verse (cf. 2 Kgs. 21:9)! It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 5:1. Even people identified with Jewish/Christian faith do terrible things. This is a good place to remind all of us of Matt. 7:13-27!

10The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11Therefore the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. 12When he was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

33:10 This verse is alluding to YHWH's sending His prophets to speak for Him (2 Chr. 33:18; 2 Kgs. 21:10, whom he killed, see Josephus, Antiq. 10.3.1.) to His people, but they would not (i.e., Matt. 5:12; 23:37).


33:11-19 These are found only in Chronicles. Nothing of this (i.e., captivity or repentance and restoration) is found in 2 Kings.

33:11 "the Lord brought. . .Assyria" This is clearly seen in Isa. 10:5 and 8:5-10; as He will use Babylon (cf. Jer. 51:20-23 and Isa. 41:15-16; even later, Media-Persia, Cyrus II, cf. Isa. 44:28-45:1).

"hooks. . .bronze chains" Assyria was a cruel nation. If nations submitted to their control, Assyria gave them some local autonomy but if they resisted, Assyria ravaged the population.

  1. killed the very young and old
  2. skinned the leadership publicly
  3. deported/exiled large segments of the population by hooking them together (i.e., hook in the nose or lip; this imagery is used of YHWH's defeat of Sennacherib before Jerusalem, cf. 2 Kgs. 19:28)

Manasseh was humiliated in this way. It is surprising that he was taken to "Babylon" (2 Chr. 33:11) and not Assyria (see R. K. Harrison, Old Testament Times, pp. 238-239). Josephus, Antiq. 10.1.2., asserts YHWH sent "the king of Babylon and Chaldea" against Judah. There were several revolts in the early years of the new Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (i.e., Egypt and Babylon).

33:12 This may be the most powerful affirmation of the spiritual effectiveness of

  1. prayer
  2. repentance

There is an apocryphal, non-canonical Jewish book called Prayer of Manasseh, which, though not inspired, surely catches the essence of Manasseh's repentance. See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 1255-1258.

Just imagine, the most wicked king of Judah, who knew better (i.e., Hezekiah's son) yet led Israel into terrible idolatry (cf. 2 Chr. 33:2-7), was forgiven and brought back to Jerusalem (v. 13) by the merciful YHWH. Yes, obedience is crucial but repentance unleashes divine mercy! This reminds me of the companion of Deut. 5:9 (i.e., third and fourth) with Deut. 5:10; 7:9 (i.e., to the thousandth). Judgment is YHWH's strange work (cf. Isa. 28:21c; Lam. 3:33).

14Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah. 15He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LordLord, as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. 16He set up the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it; and he ordered Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. 17Nevertheless the people still sacrificed in the high places, although only to the Lord their God.

33:14-17 These verses document the acts of Manasseh after his repentance and divine return to Jerusalem.

  1. physical building projects
    1. fortified the outer wall of Jerusalem
    2. encircled Ophel with a high wall
    3. stationed soldiers into the other fortified cities of Judah
  2. spiritual reforms
    1. removed the pagan idols
    2. removed the pagan altars
    3. set up (LXX, Vulgate, "fixed") the altar of the Lord
      (1) sacrificed peace offerings
      (2) sacrificed thank offerings
    4. ordered Judah to serve only YHWH

33:17 The residual effect of Manasseh's sin continued among the population of Judah. Manasseh set in motion the idolatry and disobedience that resulted in the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and the deportation of her population several times (cf. 2 Kgs. 21:10-15,16; 23:26; 24:3; Jer. 15:4).

18Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh even his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel. 19His prayer also and how God was entreated by him, and all his sin, his unfaithfulness, and the sites on which he built high places and erected the Asherim and the carved images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the records of the Hozai. 20So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house. And Amon his son became king in his place.

33:18-20 This is the summary of Manasseh's reign. It highlights both his sin (2 Chr. 33:19) and faith (vv. 18-19a).

33:20 "they buried him in his own house" It means, "not in the royal tombs," but somewhere on the palace grounds. In 2 Kgs. 21:8, it has "in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza." The LXX puts the first part of this phrase here (see REB). This is followed by the Vulgate, but the Peshitta has the same as the MT.

21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22He did evil in the sight of the Lord as Manasseh his father had done, and Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and he served them. 23Moreover, he did not humble himself before the Lord as his father Manasseh had done, but Amon multiplied guilt. 24Finally his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. 25But the people of the land killed all the conspirators against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place.

33:21-25 This is a brief account of the short reign of Amon (cf. 2 Kgs. 21:19-24). He tried to restore the pagan worship of his father. He would not listen to the seers and would not humble himself before YHWH.

He was assassinated by his servants in his palace. These servants were killed by the people of Jerusalem, who then coronated Josiah.

33:25 "the people of the land" This phrase has different meanings in different parts of the OT.

  1. local non-Israelite people ‒ Gen. 23:7,12,13; Ezra 9:1,11; 10:2,11
  2. poor farmers or herdsmen ‒ 2 Kgs. 24:14; 25:12
  3. land owners and leaders ‒ 2 Kgs. 11:14,18,19,20; 21:24; 23:30,35; 2 Chr. 23:20-21; 26:21; 33:25; 36:1; Jer. 1:18; 34:19; 37:2; 44:2

In Chronicles, #3 is meant.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. List the idolatries of Manasseh.
  2. Who are "the host of heaven "?
  3. Who is Molech?
  4. What is the significance of the "if" in 2 Chr. 33:8?
  5. Why is 2 Chr. 33:12-13 so significant?
  6. Is 2 Chr. 33:17 a positive or negative statement?

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