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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Chronicles 33

2 Chronicles 33:1-10 agree almost verbally with 2 Kings 21:1-9, where see notes. 2 Chronicles 33:11-19 are additional and supplementary to Kings, informing us of Manasseh’s captivity in Babylon, and his consequent humiliation, restoration to his kingdom, and reforms.

Verse 11

11. The captains of the host of the king of Assyria This king of Assyria was Esar-haddon, the son and successor of Sennacherib. This we learn from the statement that they carried him to Babylon, for Esar-haddon was the only Assyrian monarch, so far as we can find, who had a palace and held his court at Babylon. Also, in an inscription now in the British Museum, Esar-haddon says: “I transported into Assyria men and women innumerable. I counted among the vassals of my realm twelve kings of Syria, beyond the mountains, Balou, king of Tyre, Minasi, king of Judah,” etc. The king himself seems not to have been present in person at the capture of Manasseh, but left it to the management of the captains of his host.

Took Manasseh among the thorns Rather, took him with hooks; an ignominious and humiliating mode of dealing with a distinguished and offensive captive, which prevailed among the Assyrians. See 2 Kings 19:28, note.

Bound him with fetters Hebrew, with double brass. See note on Judges 16:21. It was this bitter treatment that speedily led the captive king to humble himself before God, and repent of his sins.

Verse 13

13. Brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom Ewald suggests that this restoration of Manasseh was done by Esar-haddon’s successor, as an act of clemency at the beginning of his reign; just as Evil-merodach signalized the beginning of his reign with an act of kindness to the captive Jehoiachin. 2 Kings 25:27-30. But whether restored by Esar-haddon or his successor, Manasseh was so effectually humiliated that the king anticipated from him no further trouble.

Verse 14

14. He built a wall without the city of David A wall on the north side of the city, (as we infer from the description that follows,) where besieging armies pitched their camps, and where, accordingly, there was need of the strongest possible fortifications. Whether this was a new wall, first built by Manasseh, or the repair and strengthening of an older one, cannot be positively determined, but the expression built a wall, points rather to the erection of a new wall.

On the west side of Gihon Rather, westward to Gihon, in the valley. The description seems to begin from the centre of the northern wall, and pass first westward to the valley, (either of Gihon, which was the northern part of the Hinnom valley, or of that branch of the Tyropoeon which begins near the modern Yaffa gate,) and then eastward even to the entering in at the fish gate, which was near the northeast corner of the ancient city. Nehemiah 3:3, note.

Compassed about Ophel The southern slope of Moriah, on whose wall Jotham had “built much.” See note on 2 Chronicles 27:8. Manasseh strengthened and completed this work of his great-grandfather.

Raised it up a very great height This wall, as exposed by modern excavations at Jerusalem, is found at present to be over seventy feet in height. “Upward of fifty shafts,” says Captain Warren, “were sunk about Ophel in search of the wall. Eight of these shafts were in connexion with the line of wall which is now found to extend as far as seven hundred feet from the first tower in a southeasterly direction along the eastern ridge of Ophel.”

Verse 18

18. His prayer unto his God This seems to have been a memorable document, and worthy of record in the royal annals, but it has not been preserved. The apocryphal “Prayer of Manasseh” is later and spurious.

The words of the seers The warnings and rebukes which certain unnamed seers or prophets of his time uttered against the king. A specimen is given in 2 Kings 21:10-15.

Verse 19

19. His prayer also The same prayer referred to in the previous verse. The writer simply adds in this verse that the prayer and other things concerning Manasseh were also written among the sayings of the seers Our translators took this to be a general reference to several well-known prophetical works which contained accounts of Manasseh’s reign, for the Hebrew word is the same as that rendered seers in the preceding verse. But the form of the word is different, and to sustain the common version we must assume a textual error, and read החזים instead of חוזי . For this there is no external authority, and we have no other instance of such a general reference to written authorities. Whenever the chronicler refers to a written document he always mentions its author. Hence most modern critics take חוזי as a proper name, Chozai, (or Hosai, as in the margin,) and understand that the acts of Manasseh were written by one named Hozai, of whom, however, we have no other mention.

2 Chronicles 33:21-25 describe the reign of Amon, but add nothing of importance to the account in 2 Kings 21:19-26, where see notes.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 33". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-chronicles-33.html. 1874-1909.