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2 Chronicles 33:1-19

Context
Manasseh’s Reign

33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 1  33:2 He did evil in the sight of 2  the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations 3  whom the Lord drove out ahead of the Israelites. 33:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky 4  and worshiped 5  them. 33:4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my permanent home.” 6  33:5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. 33:6 He passed his sons through the fire 7  in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom and practiced divination, omen reading, and sorcery. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits and appointed magicians to supervise it. 8  He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord and angered him. 9  33:7 He put an idolatrous image he had made in God’s temple, about which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. 10  33:8 I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, 11  provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law, the rules and regulations given to Moses.” 33:9 But Manasseh misled the people of 12  Judah and the residents of Jerusalem so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed ahead of the Israelites.

33:10 The Lord confronted 13  Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 33:11 So the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria. They seized Manasseh, put hooks in his nose, 14  bound him with bronze chains, and carried him away to Babylon. 33:12 In his pain 15  Manasseh 16  asked the Lord his God for mercy 17  and truly 18  humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 19  33:13 When he prayed to the Lord, 20  the Lord 21  responded to him 22  and answered favorably 23  his cry for mercy. The Lord 24  brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.

33:14 After this Manasseh 25  built up the outer wall of the City of David 26  on the west side of the Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate and all around the terrace; he made it much higher. He placed army officers in all the fortified cities in Judah.

33:15 He removed the foreign gods and images from the Lord’s temple and all the altars he had built on the hill of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem; he threw them outside the city. 33:16 He erected the altar of the Lord and offered on it peace offerings and thank offerings. He told the people of 27  Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. 33:17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

33:18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the prophets 28  spoke to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, are recorded 29  in the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 33:19 The Annals of the Prophets include his prayer, give an account of how the Lord responded to it, record all his sins and unfaithful acts, and identify the sites where he built high places and erected Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself. 30 

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

2 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

3 tn Heb “like the abominable practices of the nations.”

4 tn The phrase כָל צְבָא הֲַשָּׁמַיִם (khol tsÿvahashamayim), traditionally translated “all the host of heaven,” refers to the heavenly lights, including stars and planets. In 1 Kgs 22:19 these heavenly bodies are pictured as members of the Lord’s royal court or assembly, but many other texts view them as the illegitimate objects of pagan and Israelite worship.

5 tn Or “served.”

6 tn Heb “In Jerusalem my name will be permanently.”

7 tn Or “he sacrificed his sons in the fire.” This may refer to child sacrifice, though some interpret it as a less drastic cultic practice (NEB, NASV “made his sons pass through the fire”; NIV “sacrificed his sons in the fire”; NRSV “made his sons pass through fire”). For discussion see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 266-67.

8 tn Heb “and he set up a ritual pit, along with a conjurer.” Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, “ritual pit”) refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. In 1 Sam 28:7 the witch of Endor is called a בַּעֲלַת אוֹב (baalatov, “owner of a ritual pit”). See H. Hoffner, “Second Millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ’OñBù,” JBL 86 (1967): 385-401.

9 tn Heb “and he multiplied doing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord, angering him.”

10 tn Heb “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I chose from all the tribes of Israel, I will place my name permanently” (or perhaps “forever”).

11 tn Heb “I will not again make the feet of Israel wander from the land which I established for their fathers.”

12 tn Heb “misled Judah.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” here by metonymy for the people of Judah.

13 tn Heb “spoke to.”

14 tn Heb “and they seized him with hooks.”

15 tn Or “distress.”

16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Manasseh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Heb “appeased the face of the Lord his God.”

18 tn Or “greatly.”

19 tn Heb “fathers.”

20 tn Heb “him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

22 tn Heb “was entreated by him,” or “allowed himself to be entreated by him.”

23 tn Heb “heard.”

24 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Manasseh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.

27 tn Heb “told Judah.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” here by metonymy for the people of Judah.

28 tn Or “seers.”

29 tn Heb “look, they are.”

30 tn Heb “and his prayer and being entreated by him, and all his sin and his unfaithfulness and the places where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself – behold, they are written on the words of his seers.”



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