Manasseh in Chronicles and Kings

A Synopsis by Ralph W. Klein

© by Ralph W. Klein 2000, 2003, 2006

2 Chronicles 33

2 Kings 21

Vannutelli 219

33:1-10 Manasseh (697/6-642/641) became king at 12 and reigned for 55 years.

He did what was evil like the abominations of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed. He rebuilt high places that had been torn down by Hezekiah and established altars for the Baals. He made Asherahs and he bowed down to the whole host of heaven and served them. He built altars to the whole host of heaven in the two courts of the house of Yahweh. He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom (2 Kgs 23:10). Soothsaying, augury, sorcery, mediums, and wizards were used. Manasseh provoked Yahweh to anger. He put the carved image of the idol (lms) in the house of God, where God had promised to David and Solomon his son to put his name there forever. I will never remove the feet of Israel from the land which I appointed (LXX gave) for your ancestors as long as they are careful to do the law, statutes and ordinances given through Moses. Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom Yahweh destroyed before Israel.

Yahweh spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they did not heed..

21:1-10 Similar. Additions and changes:

Name of his mother was Hephzibah.


…destroyed by Hezekiah.

altars for Baal. …an Asherah (LXX Asherahs) just as Ahab the king of Israel had done.
v. 6 his son; LXX his sons

Lacks "in the valley of the son of Hinnom."
Lacks "sorcery."

The carved image of Asherah.

"…never cause the feet of Israel to wander"

land which I gave to their ancestors.
Lacks "statutes and ordinances"
My servant Moses. Plus: "They would not listen." Manasseh misled them.

Yahweh spoke by his servants the prophets
Lacks: "but they did not heed." (see above)


11-16 Because Manasseh did more evil than the Amorites and caused Judah to sin with idols, I am bringing ear-tingling evil.

Jerusalem and Judah will have the same fate as Samaria and Ahab. I will cast off the remnant of my heritage because they have provoked me to anger since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt up to now. Manasseh shed much innocent blood until he filled Jerusalem from one end to the other with it [martyrdom of Isaiah? No prophets are known during Manasseh’s long reign] in addition to the sin he caused Judah to sin.

11-17 Assyria took Manasseh captive and brought him to Babylon. He humbled himself (2 Chr 7:14) and prayed to the God of his ancestors. God heard him and restored him again to Jerusalem and his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that Yahweh was God.

He built an outer, high wall near the Fish Gate [in the north] and around Ophel (cf. 2 Chr 32:5). Put commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.

He removed foreign gods and the idol (lms)) from the house of Yahweh and the altars he had built on the mountain of house of Yahweh. He threw them out of the city. He restored the altar of Yahweh and sacrificed on it peace offerings and thanksgiving sacrifices. He commanded Judah to serve Yahweh God of Israel.

The people kept sacrificing on the high places (cf. 1 Kgs 15:14; 22:43) but only to Yahweh their God (high places defiled and broken by Josiah in 2 Kgs 23:8, not parallel to 2 Chr 34:3).

652-48 Shamash-shum-ukin, brother of Assurbanipal, rebelled.

Those kings who had repeatedly schemed, they brought alive to me to Nineveh. From all of them, I had only mercy upon Necho and granted him life….I returned to him Sais as residence where my own father had appointed him king. Rassam Cylinder of Ashurbanipal, ANET 295.



(2 Kgs 23:14 Josiah removed altars erected by Manasseh)

ANET 291 Manasseh among 22 kings of Hatti who transported building materials under terrible difficulties to Nineveh. Inscription of Esar-haddon (680-69). Cf. inscription of Assurbanipal (688-ca. 630), ANET 294, who lists kings, including Manasseh, who gave him gifts and helped him conquer Egypt.

Vannutelli 220

18-20 Rest of the acts of Manasseh and his prayer and the words of the seers are in the Annals of the kings of Israel.

His prayer and God’s answer, his sin and his faithlessness, the sites on which he built high places and set up the Asherim and the carved images before he humbled himself are written in the words of the his seers (emendation in BHS; MT Hozai; LXX seers ).

Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in [+ the garden of, LXX] his house, and Amon, his son, ruled in his place.

21:17-18 Rest of his acts and the sin which he sinned are written in the Annals of the kings of Judah.






He slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza (cf. 2 Kgs 21:25; an astral god or possibly the man after whom this garden is named is the one who touched the ark in 1 Chr 13:7-11; Amon also buried there, v. 26). Amon (642/641-640/639), his son, ruled in his place.

2 Par 35:19c-d. See Ralph W. Klein, "New Evidence for an Old Recension of Reigns," HTR 60 (1967):93-105.

Cf. Vannutelli 228, 23:26-27 Still [despite the excellence of Josiah] Yahweh did not turn from the fierceness of his wrath…because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him…I will remove Judah out of my sight.


Cf. Vannutelli 231, 24:3-4 First invasion of Nebuchadnezzar: This came at the command of Yahweh to remove them out of his sight because of the sins of Manasseh…and also for the innocent blood he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. Yahweh was not willing to pardon.


Cf. Jer 15:4 I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what King Manasseh son of Hezekiah did in Jerusalem.


Rabbi Ashi: Since you, Manasseh, were such a wise person, why did you worship idols? Manasseh: Had you lived at my time, you would have caught hold of the hem of my garment and sped after me!