|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
33:1-20 We have seen Manasseh's wickedness; here we have his repentance, and a memorable instance it is of the riches of God's pardoning mercy, and the power of his renewing grace. Deprived of his liberty, separated from his evil counsellors and companions, without any prospect but of ending his days in a wretched prison, Manasseh thought upon what had passed; he began to cry for mercy and deliverance. He confessed his sins, condemned himself, was humbled before God, loathing himself as a monster of impiety and wickedness. Yet he hoped to be pardoned through the abundant mercy of the Lord. Then Manasseh knew that Jehovah was God, able to deliver. He knew him as a God of salvation; he learned to fear, trust in, love, and obey him. From this time he bore a new character, and walked in newness of life. Who can tell what tortures of conscience, what pangs of grief, what fears of wrath, what agonizing remorse he endured, when he looked back on his many years of apostacy and rebellion against God; on his having led thousands into sin and perdition; and on his blood-guiltiness in the persecution of a number of God's children? And who can complain that the way of heaven is blocked up, when he sees such a sinner enter? Say the worst against thyself, here is one as bad who finds the way to repentance. Deny not to thyself that which God hath not denied to thee; it is not thy sin, but thy impenitence, that bars heaven against thee.
Verse 11. - The contents of this and the following six verses (to the seventeenth) are not in the parallel, though their place there is plain. That parallel, however, supplies in its ver. 16 a very forcible narration of the evil conduct of Manasseh in Jerusalem itself, so that he "filled" it with "innocent blood" from "one end to another." The King of Assyria; i.e. either Esarhaddon, B.C. 680, or (though it is not probable) his son, Assur-banipal, B.C. 667-647. Among the thorns; i.e. with hooks or rings (so 2 Kings 19:28, where the same word is used; as also in Exodus 35:22; Isaiah 37:29; Ezekiel 19:4, 9; Ezekiel 29:4; Ezekiel 38:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria,.... Who was Esarhaddon, the son and successor of Sennacherib; this, according to the Jewish chronology (f), was in the twenty second year of Manasseh's reign:
which took Manasseh among the thorns; in a thicket of briers and thorns, where, upon his defeat, he had hid himself; a fit emblem of the afflictions and troubles his sins brought him into:
and bound him with fetters; hands and feet; with chains of brass, as the Targum, such as Zedekiah was bound with, 2 Kings 25:7, not chains of gold, with which Mark Antony bound a king of Armenia, for the sake of honour (g):
and carried him to Babylon; for now the king of Assyria was become master of that city, and added it to his monarchy, and made it the seat of his residence; at least some times that and sometimes Nineveh, Merodachbaladan being dead, or conquered; though, according to Suidas (h), it was he that took Manasseh; and by an Arabic writer (i), he is said to be carried to Nineveh.
(f) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 24. p. 67. (g) Vell. Patercul. Hist. Roman. l. 2.((h) In voce (i) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 67. So Suidas, ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Ch 33:11-19. He Is Carried unto Babylon, Where He Humbles Himself before God, and Is Restored to His Kingdom.
11. the captains of the host of the king of Assyria—This king was Esar-haddon. After having devoted the first years of his reign to the consolidation of his government at home, he turned his attention to repair the loss of the tributary provinces west of the Euphrates, which, on the disaster and death of Sennacherib, had taken the opportunity of shaking off the Assyrian yoke. Having overrun Palestine and removed the remnant that were left in the kingdom of Israel, he despatched his generals, the chief of whom was Tartan (Isa 20:1), with a portion of his army for the reduction of Judah also. In a successful attack upon Jerusalem, they took multitudes of captives, and got a great prize, including the king himself, among the prisoners.
took Manasseh among the thorns—This may mean, as is commonly supposed, that he had hid himself among a thicket of briers and brambles. We know that the Hebrews sometimes took refuge from their enemies in thickets (1Sa 13:6). But, instead of the Hebrew, Bacochim, "among the thorns", some versions read Bechayim, "among the living", and so the passage would be "took him alive."
bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon—The Hebrew word rendered "fetters" denotes properly two chains of brass. The humiliating state in which Manasseh appeared before the Assyrian monarch may be judged of by a picture on a tablet in the Khorsabad palace, representing prisoners led bound into the king's presence. "The captives represented appear to be inhabitants of Palestine. Behind the prisoners stand four persons with inscriptions on the lower part of their tunics; the first two are bearded, and seem to be accusers; the remaining two are nearly defaced; but behind the last appears the eunuch, whose office it seems to be to usher into the presence of the king those who are permitted to appear before him. He is followed by another person of the same race as those under punishment; his hands are manacled, and on his ankles are strong rings fastened together by a heavy bar" [Nineveh and Its Palaces]. No name is given, and, therefore, no conclusion can be drawn that the figure represents Manasseh. But the people appear to be Hebrews, and this pictorial scene will enable us to imagine the manner in which the royal captive from Judah was received in the court of Babylon. Esar-haddon had established his residence there; for though from the many revolts that followed the death of his father, he succeeded at first only to the throne of Assyria, yet having some time previous to his conquest of Judah, recovered possession of Babylon, this enterprising king had united under his sway the two empires of Babylon and Chaldea and transferred the seat of his government to Babylon.
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