622 BCE — Josiah's Reformation The Old Testament and Jewish tradition tells us that the Books of Moses were both lost and completely forgotten for 50 years and only rediscovered by the Temple priests in the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah (2Ki 22:8; 2Chr 34:15). This was in 622 BCE. If The Law was lost for over 50 years, and if The Law was rediscovered in 622 BCE, then The Law was first lost before 672 BCE. The King of Judah at this time was Manasseh, noted for his sins so blasphemous that even Josiah's reforms 50 years later were unable to save Judah from subjugation to Babylon (2 Ki 21). So, what happened before 672 BCE? 687 BCE — Manasseh Ends the High Priesthood Upon His Succession The High Priest at the time of King Hezekiah's ascension to the throne (715 BCE) was Azariah III (2 Chr 31:10). The next High Priest was Azariah III's son Hoshaiah. The next High Priest after Hoshaiah was Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah III (1 Chr 6:11-12). This means that Shallum was the great great grandson of Azariah III. Thus, after Azariah III died, first his son, and then his great great grandson succeeded him to the High Priesthood. There is a gap between Hoshaiah and Shallum of fully three (3) generations — a time span of roughly 50 years (at 16 years per generation). This roughly 50 year break in the High Priesthood seems to be linked with the 50 year loss of The Law. How so? Shallum's son Hilkiah was the High Priest in 622 BCE when The Law was rediscovered in the Temple of Jerusalem (2 Ki 22:4). If an average generation spans roughly 16 years, then Shallum was High Priest around 640 BCE. And a 50 year gap before that points to 690 BCE. What happened at these times? In 687 BCE, King Hezekiah died and was succeeded by his then-errant son Manasseh. In 640 BCE, Manasseh's errant son Amon was killed in a coup after a brief reign of two (2) years marked by idolatry and depravity (2 Ki 21:18-26; 2 Chr 33:20-25). Thus, it appears that Manasseh — who worshipped pagan false-gods, sacrificed his son by fire, and "did more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel” (2 Ki 21:9) — halted the worship of YHWH-God soon after succeeding to the throne of Judah. In other words, Manasseh represented a "pagan counter-reformation" that opposed the God-fearing reforms of his father Hezekiah. Manasseh ended the High Priesthood of YHWH and rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem to pagan false-gods. Furthermore, it appears that when Amon began to pick up where his father had left off, the God-fearing Old Guard toppled Amon in a bloody coup and installed the young and impressionable Josiah in Amon's stead. In other words, Josiah represented a "God-fearing Reformation" that opposed the pagan depravities of his father Amon. Josiah restored the High Priesthood of YHWH and rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem back to YHWH. 671 BCE — Manasseh Reaps the Sin He Has Sown In 671 BCE, the Assyrian King Esarhaddon went to war against Pharaoh Taharqa of Egypt. Esarhaddon's army marched through Canaan on its way to Egypt, which was allied to Egypt and within her sphere of influence. Part of his army stayed behind to quash rebellions in Tyre and Ashkelon. The rest marched south to Rapihu in the Lands of the Philistines (modern Rafia, Gaza Strip). From there, the Assyrians invaded Egypt and conquered Memphis and the Nile Delta. Pharaoh Taharqa fled south into Upper Egypt. At this point in the reign of the Judean King Manasseh, the Old Testament tells us: “And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon” (2 Chronicles 33:10-11) The Assyrians often treated captured kings with great cruelty. The Assyrians ran hooks through the noses, lips, or jaws of their captives to pull them along and lead them before the Assyrian King. This explains the Scriptural reference to "hooks" above. Manasseh's harsh imprisonment taught him the lesson which his forefather, Solomon, had written: “... the way of the unfaithful is hard” (Proverbs 13:15): “Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13) If Manasseh was taken prisoner by Esarhaddon in 671 BCE, he may have spent a few years in captivity before being sent back to Jerusalem. For we know that his son Amon succeeded to the throne in 642 BCE at the age of 22. This means Amon was born in 664 BCE, and implies that Manasseh was back in Jerusalem with his wife by 665 BCE. Manasseh was truly repentant because of his chastisement by YHWH: "Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. And he took away the foreign gods and the idols from the House of YHWH, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the House of YHWH and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. He also restored the altar of YHWH and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve YHWH, the God of Israel." (2 Chr 33:14-16) Never-the-less, Manasseh was never able to completely atone for his sins. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth ... I will hand them over to trouble to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.’” (Jeremiah 15:1,4) Conclusion — Manasseh's Unforgiveable Sin was Ending the High Priesthood of YHWH in favor of pagan false-gods Manasseh's grievous and unforgiveable sin, the sin that ultimately doomed the Kingdom of Judah to subjugation by Babylon (Nebuchadrezzar, 587 BCE), was ending the High Priesthood of YHWH and rededicating the Temple of Jerusalem — the House of YHWH — to pagan false-gods.