N. Prayer of Manasseh 33:1-20
Manasseh was one of the few examples of an evil Judean king who became good. Nevertheless his many years of wickedness made captivity inevitable for Judah ( 2 Kings 23:26; Jeremiah 15:4).
"Manasseh"s acts are ... a calculated attempt to throw off the lordship of Yahweh, to claim independence from the Covenant, to drive him from the land which he had given Israel." [Note: McConville, p250.]
"If Manasseh had searched the Scriptures for practices that would most anger the Lord and then intentionally committed them, he could not have achieved that result any more effectively than he did." [Note: Thompson, p368.]
The Babylonians captured Manasseh but released him after he turned back to Yahweh. The Assyrian king in view ( 2 Chronicles 33:11) was Ashurbanipal. [Note: Cf. Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, p435.]
His experience would have been an encouragement to the returned exiles who first read Chronicles. If God had shown mercy to Manasseh and had reestablished him in the land, He could do the same for them (cf. 2 Chronicles 7:14). The writer emphasized the results of the king"s repentance. He magnified the grace of God rather than the rebellion of the sinner.
". . . in terms of the experience of an individual, Manasseh furnishes the most explicit and dramatic example of the efficacy of repentance in the whole of the Chronicler"s work." [Note: Williamson, 1,2 . . ., p389. ]
On a larger scale, the reigns of Ahaz (ch28) and Hezekiah (chs29-32) illustrate the same thing: prefiguring exile (Ahaz) and restoration (Hezekiah).
"Manasseh"s sin is repeated, in essence, whenever man uses or manipulates his fellow-men for some supposedly higher good than their own welfare-or, indeed, uses any part of God"s creation for purposes other than those which God intends." [Note: Wilcock, p257.]
"The Chronicler is as concerned as his predecessor [the writer of Kings] was to point out the effects of sin. Both historians note the moral consequences of the actions of men. But the Chronicler regularly deals in immediate consequences: "the soul that sins shall die" ( Ezekiel 18:4; Ezekiel 18:20). Though it is true that one man"s sin can cause others to suffer sixty years after he is dead and gone, this is not the kind of lesson which Chronicles as a whole aims to teach ... What Manasseh"s sin leads to is not the fall of Jerusalem long after his death, as Samuel/Kings say, but "distress" for him himself [sic], as he is taken by Assyrian forces "with hooks ... and fetters of bronze" to Babylon ( 2 Chronicles 33:11-12)." [Note: Ibid, p258.]
In spite of Manasseh"s repentance, the people still sacrificed at the high places, though only to Yahweh ( 2 Chronicles 33:17).
"A half century of paganism could not be overcome by a half-dozen years of reform." [Note: Payne, "Second Chronicles," p417]
Amon was an evil king, as Manasseh was, but he did not repent as his father had done. Consequently, rather than experiencing forgiveness and restoration, he died prematurely. He represented the other alternative the returned exiles could take. His fate would have been, and Isaiah, a warning to seek the Lord.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/
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