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MANASSEH TO THE CAPTIVITY
MANASSEH AND AMON (2 Chronicles 33:0 )
The history of the first-named is divided into three parts: (1) the outline of his character and reign down to the crisis of his punishment (2 Chronicles 33:1-10 ); (2) his affliction and repentance in Babylon (2 Chronicles 33:11-13 ); and (3) his later career and death (2 Chronicles 33:14-20 ). The first part was considered in Kings. For the reference to “groves” and “the host of heaven,” compare Deuteronomy 16:21 ; Deuteronomy 17:3 . It was in such groves, and on the high hills, and under the trees, that the heathen were guilty of their idolatrous practices. As a comment on verse 6 see Deuteronomy 18:9 .
2 Chronicles 33:7 is a forerunner of what we read of the Antichrist in Daniel 7-9 (see also 1 Thessalonians 2:0; 1 Thessalonians 2:0 , Revelation 13:0 , etc.).
God is merciful and long-suffering, but without avail (2 Chronicles 33:10 ). The Assyrian king was Esarhaddon, son and successor to Sennacherib. “Among thorns” may mean that Manasseh was hiding in such a thicket, but some versions have another Hebrew expression translated “among the living,” as intended to show only that he was taken alive. His condition was humiliating indeed, hands manacled and ankles fastened together with rings and a bar.
Observe the process of his repentance affliction, supplication, humility, mercy, spiritual apprehension, restoration, reformation, zeal, prosperity, (2 Chronicles 33:12-16 ). Here is a good outline for an expository discourse. It was some political motive that induced the Assyrian to restore him to his kingdom, perhaps to use him as an ally against Egypt, “but God overruled the measure for higher purposes.”
The story of Amon calls for no comment.
JOSIAH (2 Chronicles 34-35)
The first ten years of this reign (2 Chronicles 34:1-7 ) are distinguished by a reformation and revival more thorough than that of Manasseh, and suggesting the one
under Hezekiah. The exact chronological order is not followed but the great facts are the same as in Kings. That a king of Judah should have such influence among the tribes of Israel, is explained by the fact that the captivity of the latter had taken place, and the remnant remaining in the land kept in touch with Judah as their protector (2 Chronicles 34:6 ). “Mattocks” has been translated “deserts” and may mean the deserted localities or suburbs of these tribes.
The remainder of this chapter has been alluded to sufficiently in Kings. The first half of 35 is the account of the great passover, the origin of which was treated in Exodus 12:0 , but a few features call for attention here. For example, “the holy place” in this case (2 Chronicles 35:5 ) means the court of the priests where the animals were sacrificed, and the people admitted according to their families, several households at a time. The Levites stood in rows from the slaughtering places to the altar, passing the blood and fat from one of the officiating priests to another. The Levites, both here and at Hezekiah’s passover, did more than the law authorized them to do, but the peculiar conditions in each case justified the liberty. The singers (2 Chronicles 35:15 ) were chanting Psalms 113-118, and doubtless repeating them over and over as each group entered the holy place. The comparison with Samuel’s passover (2 Chronicles 35:18 ) suggests that of Hezekiah’s and Solomon’s (30:26), the distinction being found in the terms on which the comparisons are based. One perhaps on the grandeur of the ceremonies, and the other on the ardor of the people.
In the story of Josiah’s death (2 Chronicles 35:20-27 ), we repeat what was said in Kings. Egypt and Assyria are rivals for world power, and Palestine is the buffer between them. Judah is Assyria’s vassal, and it is Josiah’s duty to oppose her enemy’s advances. The valley of Megiddo is identical with the plain of Esdraelon of which we shall hear later. Necho’s reference to God’s command (2 Chronicles 35:21 ) may not mean Jehovah, but some false god of Egypt, and yet 2 Chronicles 35:22 raises a doubt about it. For this reason, some think Jeremiah, who was a contemporaneous prophet in Judah, may have communicated such a revelation to the Egyptian king. If so, it adds a new cause for Josiah’s death, for if the prophet revealed it to Necho, he would hardly have kept it a secret from Josiah.
Jeremiah’s lamentation is not recorded (2 Chronicles 35:25 ) except as it may be found unidentified in his book of Lamentations. The event is thought to be again referred to in Zechariah 12:11 .
JEHOAHAZ (2 Chronicles 36:1-4 )
This was the popular choice to succeed Josiah, but being his younger son, there was a question of its legitimacy, which may explain, in part, his removal by the king of Egypt and the substitution of his older brother. His reign was short, and as we learn from 2 Kings 23:32 , it was also wicked.
JEHOIAKIM (2 Chronicles 36:5-8 )
His brother was no improvement (compare Jeremiah 22:13-19 ). At first the vassal of Egypt, he subsequently sustained the same relationship to Babylon, which had now become the head of the Assyrian empire, and had finally driven the Egyptians out of Asia. Rebelling against Babylon later on, the latter punished him (2 Chronicles 36:6-7 ). Daniel was taken captive at this time (Daniel 1:1-6 ). Jehoiakim himself was not taken prisoner however, although that seems to have been Nebuchadnezzar’s original intention. (Compare with 2 Chronicles 36:6 , 2 Kings 24:2-7 , Jeremiah as above, and also 2 Chron. 36:30.)
JEHOIACHIN (2 Chronicles 36:9-10 )
This king is “Coniah” and “Jeconiah” in Jeremiah (chaps. 22-23), and according to 2 Kings 24:8 , was eighteen years old instead of eight when he began to reign. This age seems corroborated by what our lesson says of him (2 Chronicles 36:9 ). Compare also Ezekiel 19:1-9 . “When the year was expired” (2 Chronicles 36:10 ), means when the spring had come, and its opportunity for military campaigning.
ZEDEKIAH (2 Chronicles 36:11-21 )
As we know from Kings, Zedekiah was not the brother, but the uncle of his predecessor. He was called brother in accordance with Hebrew latitude in speaking of family relationships. Note the distinction given a prophet of God, implying both inspiration and authority (2 Chronicles 36:12 ). Note carefully 2 Chronicles 36:21 . We learned in the Pentateuch that the land was to lie fallow every seventh year in Israel as a sacred rest unto the Lord. But the greedy people had disregarded this law. Now they were to pay the penalty, per Leviticus 26:33-35 . Judah, providentially, was not colonized by other peoples, as was Israel, so that at the close of seventy years there might be a return (Jeremiah 25:12-13 ).
This book concludes with an account of that return (2 Chronicles 36:22-23 ), showing it was written after that event. The story of the return is detailed in Ezra.
1. Outline Manasseh’s history.
2. How does he become a type of the Antichrist?
3. Who succeeded Sennacherib in Assyria?
4. How do you explain Josiah’s influence in Israel as well as Judah?
5. What are the Passover psalms?
6. Name four great passovers of the people after entering Canaan.
7. What testifies to the people’s love for Josiah?
8. Name Judah’s kings, and give their relationship, from Manasseh to the captivity.
9. What hint is given in this book that it was written after that event?
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Gray, James. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 36". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany