Jewish kings from Hezekiah to Josiah


Hezekiah, reigned 29 years, 715-686BC

(co-regency with Asa 729-716)


Manasseh, reigned 55 years, 686-642BC


Amon, reigned 2 years, 642-640BC


Josiah, reigned 31 years, 640/639-609BC



Manasseh, king of Judah, son of Hezekiah,



We already covered king Hezekiah in conjunction with his favorable influence on much of Israel before they evaded Assyrian captivity,  while some went into captivity.  Now we come to Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh.  Manasseh may have been the only child of Hezekiah, and he was conceived late in the life of Hezekiah, just thirteen years before his death.  In those 12 years of his life, obviously king Hezekiah did not succeed in giving his son a love for the LORD.  Manasseh as we’ll read, brought Baal worship and all kinds of pagan demonic worship back into Judah.  He also had a long reign, 55 years, time for this Baal worship to really imbed itself into Judah.  2nd Chronicles 33:1-7, 9, “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.  But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.  For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshipped all the host of heaven and served them.  He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, ‘In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.’  And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.”  Now you don’t think a gutsy person like Isaiah would have sat around letting Manasseh do something like this in the house of the LORD, now do you?  No way.  But those that tell a king off don’t usually fare too well, and that is how Isaiah probably died at Manasseh’s hand.  Another saint bites the dust for preaching the truth of God.  There’s a cost to this job.  “Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists.”  Now here is Baalism at its worst, and what it’s all about, with all its related facets mentioned here. He only had one son that lived to maturity---Amon---because he killed the others, sacrificing them in the hot fires under the statue of Baal.  Nice guy.  But abortion and child pornography are no better in our day and age.  “He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.  He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God,…So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.”  Verses 10-17 of 2nd Chronicles show that the LORD spoke to Manasseh, warning him to stop these practices, but Manasseh ignored him.  So he had the king of Assyria come, put a hook through his jaw, and lead him away and lock him in a dungeon.  Manasseh repented in humility, and the LORD inspired Esarhaddon or Ashurbanipal to release him and send him back to Judah, where he resumed his reign, tore down all the pagan images and statutes, and stopped the Baal worship.  This event probably occurred later on in Manasseh’s life. Manasseh had one son which was not sacrificed to Baal and lived to maturity, Amon.  He is the next king of Judah to reign.


Amon, king of Judah, 642-640BC


Amon went right back to the pagan practices his father had instituted, including Baal worship.  Seeing that he was 22 when he started to reign, he had had plenty of time to absorb these pagan practices under his father.  This would indicate that his father had been taken to Assyria in captivity somewhat late in his life, and thus his repentance was somewhat late in his life as well.  Amon probably grew up and spent much of his childhood under these pagan influences.  This also meant these practices had plenty of time to take root in Judah’s culture and religious life.  The Jews had lived through what was a normal generational lifespan under Baal worship and all kinds of pagan practices.  Their children would grow up knowing and practicing these things more than knowing and practicing the worship of the true God, Yahweh, the LORD.  So at the end of Amon’s life, Judah is basically a Baal worshipping nation, just like Israel under Ahab and Jezebel---disconnected from the worship of the true God by at least one generation.  Remember this, because it sets the stage for the national religious-cultural situation in Judah when Amon’s son Josiah takes the throne with Jeremiah as his prophet.  (Amon would have had to have been 15 when he married, for Josiah his son to take over the reign of Judah when he was 8 years old, as Amon died when he was 24 years old.)  2nd Chronicles 33:21-25, “Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.  But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them.  And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.  Then his servants conspired against him, and killed him in his own house.  But the people of the land executed all those who had conspired against king Amon.  Then the people of the land made his son Josiah king in his place.”


The 2nd Scythian-Assyrian War: 624-621BC, time of Josiah, king of Judah (reigned 640 to 609BC)


Now we come to a very interesting part of history in this series about Kings and Chronicles, when factoring in all we’ve learned from secular history about where some of the northern tribes of Israel managed to go when they evaded Assyrian captivity.  First we go to a passage in Jeremiah, written, my guess, about 624BC.  Jeremiah 3:11-12, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.  Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause my anger to fall on you.  For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever...’”  This is addressed to the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites, the God-fearing ones that escaped captivity to the north beyond Armenia.  Jeremiah 51:5, “For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the LORD of hosts…”  As we have seen historically now, God has not forsaken the ten tribes of Israel, even the pagan ones taken into captivity.  They’re free of Assyrian captivity by now, and flexing their military muscles against their former captors.  This time it is the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites who will flex their military muscles against Assyria, and they will succeed.  In 624BC the Scythians launched a massive invasion southward, occupying all of Asia Minor, Syria, Media and Palestine, and much of Assyria.  They marched as far as the Egyptian border, and even exacted tribute from the Egyptians.  Werner Keller in his book The Bible as History said the Scythians “inundated the Assyrian Empire.”  The Encyclopedia Britannica had this to say about this invasion:


The Scythians penetrated into Assyria and made their way as far as the borders of Egypt.  Calah was burned, though the strong walls of Nineveh protected the relics of the Assyrian army which had taken refuge behind them.”


Calah (Kalakh) was the military headquarters city for the Assyrian Empire.  Notice the Scythians knew right where to attack in order to cripple the Assyrians militarily.  It’s almost as if they had inside information about how the Assyrian military was set up, and they would if the Scythians were descendants of the Israelites who either fled north to avoid capture, or also if they were part of the Israelites who had been captured.  My guess was that there was also communication between eastern and north-western Scythians.  Assyria limped on for some years, before the Eastern Scythians allied with the Babylonians, delivered the death-blow to their Empire in 612 BC, as the Encyclopedia Britannica says:


“the Scythian king of Ecbatana [a city east of Assyria]…came to the help of the Babylonians.  Nineveh was captured and destroyed by the Scythian army.” 


So you might say that the northern Black Sea Scythians dealt a deathblow to the Assyrian Empire in 624BC and the eastern Scythians along with the Babylonians delivered the ‘coup de grace’ on Nineveh in 612BC.  After that, Babylon was empire-building under Nebuchadnezzar and his father, having been freed up from Assyrian domination by the Scythians.  There are two basic reasons why the Scythians attacked, especially if they were the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel.  1. They had a score to settle with the Assyrians.  2.  They desired to reoccupy their ancient homeland in the “land of milk and honey” their grandparents must have been telling them about all the time.  Herodotus gives us a further proof these Scythians were indeed Israelites.  While the Scythians were busy waging war against the Assyrian Empire in Mesopotamia, Herodotus tells us that as the Scythians marched through Palestine to the Egyptian border:


“…the majority of the Scythians marched by, doing no harm to anyone.”


The Scythians never touched Jerusalem nor threatened it in any way.  Also in 616BC Nabopolassar (Nebuchadnezzar II’s father) felt strong enough to move the center of his military operations northward and launch at attack on Assyria itself.  In a few short years (616-612BC) that followed, Ashur, Nimrud, and Nineveh were besieged and destroyed with the help of the Medes and Scythians…Assyria was soon reduced to a rump state centered around its last capital city of Harran under its last king Ashur-uballit II, which was then destroyed by the Babylonians in 609BC.  The Scythian armies had essentially made the birth of the Babylonian Empire possible, but then withdrew after 28 short years from the area.  [see]


The Scythian occupation of the Mideast Lasted Only 28 Years


The Scythian occupation just happened to coincide, oddly enough, with the reign of king Josiah of Judah, from 640/639BC to 612/611BC.  Herodotus records:


“For twenty-eight years, then, the Scythians were masters of Asia…”


They actually pulled out of the Middle East and Asia Minor around 612/611BC, coinciding with the Eastern Scythian/Babylonian conquest of Nineveh.  Neither in the Old Testament histories found in 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles, nor in Isaiah or Jeremiah do you find the Scythians ever mentioned as having been in Palestine during this period of time, even though they occupied territory all the way to the Egyptian border.  Would the Bible ignore such a major event?  Not likely.  But if the Scythians were truly Israelite, the Bible would merely be calling them by their real names, by their various Israelite tribal names.  Do we find this in 2nd Kings and Chronicles?  Yes we do!  We find the Bible identifying the Black Sea Scythians for who they really were.  Let’s look and see.  In the 18th year of king Josiah’s reign (639 -18 = 621BC) he issued a decree to restore the Temple of God.  2nd Kings 22:3-7, “Now it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the scribe, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the house of the LORD, saying, ‘Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people.  And let them deliver it into the hand of those doing the work, who are overseers in the house of the LORD; let them give it to those who are in the house of the LORD doing the work, to repair the damages of the house---to carpenters and builders and masons---and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.  However there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand, because they deal faithfully.”  This was 621BC.  He also reestablished observance of God’s Holy Days of Leviticus 23, and held a special Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. 2nd Chronicles 35:17-18, “And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.  There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.”  Now wait a minute.  We were just reading how Hezekiah just kept a massive Passover, for a whole 14 days, not seven, and it was said there was none like it.  That must mean this Passover of Josiah, Hezekiah’s great grandson, eclipsed Hezekiah’s Passover.  How could there be more people attending this one than Hezekiah’s Passover?  Hold onto that thought, there is an answer.  Notice who kept these Holy Days with Josiah.  2nd Kings 17:18 states that all of Israel was “removed” by God from Palestine (circa 721BC).  It is obvious that the Israelites from the ten tribes “who were present” in Palestine observing these Holy Days with Josiah were the Black Sea Scythians.  But the Bible identifies them for who they really were, Israelites from six and a half to seven of the ten tribes.  Let’s backtrack a little bit from that Passover in his 18th year.  2nd Chronicles 34:3-9, “For in the eighth year of his reign [631BC], while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year [627BC] he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.  They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.  He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.  And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around with axes.  When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.  In the eighteenth year of his reign [621BC], when he had purged the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.  When they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites who kept the doors gathered from the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, from all the remnant of Israel, from all Judah and Benjamin, and which they had brought back to Jerusalem.”  Josiah was 16 years old (639 – 8 = 631BC).  Ten years later, in 621BC, he took up a collection to restore the Temple of God.  Look who was also contributing, verse 9, “When they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites who kept the doors had gathered from the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, from all the remnant of Israel, from all Judah and Benjamin, and which they had brought back to Jerusalem.”  Considering that these Israelite-Scythians had plenty of war booty, they were able to contribute far more than the Jews, as these Scythians had just conquered “all Asia.”  The tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, Naphthali, Simeon, Asher, Zebulon and Dan were present in their old tribal lands.  And they probably intended to reoccupy them as part of the Scythian Empire.  Jeremiah 3:10-11 states that “Israel”, the Black Sea Scythians, were genuinely obeying God’s laws, whereas the Jews were only giving them lip service.  2nd Kings 23:21-25, “Then the king commanded all the people, saying, ‘Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.’  Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.  But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah [621BC] this Passover was held before the LORD in Jerusalem.  Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.  Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, and all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.”  Now lets read more about this Passover.  Turn to 2nd Chronicles 35:1-19, “Now Josiah kept the Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month.  And he set the priests in their duties and encouraged them for the service of the house of the LORD.  Then he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to the LORD:  ‘Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built.  It shall no longer be a burden on your shoulders.  [Comment:  Now this would indicate the Ark of the Covenant was still in Judah, and didn’t get taken to Tanis in the time of Rehoboam.  Also notice it says Josiah encouraged the Levites “who taught all Israel.” If seven of the ten tribes were not in their old territory north of Judah, it would have said “who taught all Judah.”]  Now serve the LORD your God and his people Israel.  Prepare yourselves according to your fathers’ houses, according to your divisions, following the written instruction of David king of Israel and the written instruction of Solomon his son.  And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the father’s houses of your brethren the lay people, and according to the division of the father’s house of the Levites.  So slaughter the Passover offerings, consecrate yourselves, and prepare them for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.’  Then Josiah gave the lay people lambs and young goats from the flock, all for Passover offerings for all who were present, to the number of thirty thousand, as well as three thousand cattle:  these were from the king’s possessions.  [Comment:  Now let’s calculate the number of people present for this special Passover.  One Passover lamb was to be enough, in Exodus 12, according the rabbis, for 20 people maximum, one to two families.  Taking the large figure of 20, times 30,000, equals 600,000.  So between 300,000 and 600,000 people were attending this Passover.  And that is all the folks that didn’t have their own Passover lambs, which may have been those who had just arrived, from seven of the ten tribes of Israel, the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites, which the Bible will call by their real tribal name designations.] And his leaders gave willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites.  Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings two thousand six hundred from the flock, and three hundred cattle.  Also Conaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Naethanel, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave to the Levites for Passover offerings five thousand from the flock and five hundred cattle.  [Total Passover lambs is 607,600, and 3,800 cattle.  That’s just what the king and the other ‘royals and rulers’ contributed to what the ordinary people already had.] So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their places, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king’s command.  And they slaughtered the Passover offerings; and the priests sprinkled the blood with their hands, while the Levites skinned the animals.  Then they removed the burnt offerings that they might give them to the divisions of the fathers’ houses of the lay people, to offer to the LORD, as it is written in the Book of Moses.  And so they did with the cattle.  Also they roasted the Passover offerings with fire according to the ordinance; but the other holy offerings they boiled in pots, in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them quickly among all the lay people.  Then afterward they prepared portions for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were busy in offering burnt offerings and fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared portions for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron.  And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their places, according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer.  Also the gatekeepers were at each gate; they did not have to leave their position, because their brethren the Levites prepared portions for them.  So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of king Josiah.  And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days.  There was no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  [Now in verse 19, this whole event is dated, to 621BC as well see.]  In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.”  Jeremiah probably helped Josiah organize this Passover. 


The real force behind the short-lived revival of Josiah and Jeremiah


Considering the dates for the Black Sea Scythian conquest down through Assyria and Calah, and then on through liberating Palestine to the Egyptian border from the threat of Assyria, these Black Sea Scythian-Israelites were probably exerting an overwhelming, if not a bit of a frightening influence over these Jews who had for all practical purposes become Baal-worshippers.  This Scythian-Israelite influence was backing up Josiah’s and Jeremiah’s efforts by their very presence.  As a matter of fact, they probably made this immense Passover possible.  Don’t forget, this Scythian army was so huge that the Egyptians were paying tribute to it to avoid being invaded, and they had conquered all of the Middle
East, so they had tons of war-booty available to contribute. 


The Black Sea Scythians Depart Palestine and Asia Minor


Now we go forward in time to 612/611BC, and then to 609BC when Josiah dies in battle.  2nd Kings 23:29, “In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the river Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him.  And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him.”  This is my analysis:  When Josiah was killed by the Pharaoh who was passing through Megiddo on the way to battle the Babylonians (pre-emptive strike) in order to aid the ailing and dying Assyrian Empire, the Scythian armies had to be gone by then, or else the Egyptians with their chariot forces would never have crossed or stepped outside their border with Israel.  Herodotus says the Scythians only stayed in the Middle East for 28 years, 640BC – 28 years = 612/611BC.  Since the Eastern Scythians had been allied to the Babylonians against the Assyrians, and this Pharaoh Necho is moving north with a sizeable force to assist the king of Assyria, Josiah’s natural alliance is with the Scythian-Babylonian forces who may be endangered by Pharaoh Necho’s forces becoming combined with the remnants of the Assyrian Empire’s forces, what’s left of them, that is.  So Josiah tries to intercede at Megiddo, where Pharaoh Necho’s forces have to pass through on their way north.  He is killed in the battle.  The Black Sea Scythians had probably moved their families and forces north back out of their old homeland of Israel and Samaria, one to assist the Babylonians and Eastern Scythians against their old foes the Assyrians, who are attempting a resurgence, and two, Jeremiah probably told them Judah is a lost cause, so get outa Dodge, because God is going to use their Babylonian allies to punish Judah real soon.  Jeremiah probably told the Scythian-Israelites ‘That if they stayed, they’d have to choose between fighting with the Babylonians against Judah, or with Judah against Babylonia.’  He probably then told them ‘It’s not your fight, get outa here!’  Josiah probably tried to intercede to protect the Black Sea Scythian’s backsides after they had made their slow retreat back northward to Armenia and the Russian Steppes.  Jeremiah wasn’t just God’s mouthpiece uttering all these prophecies, he was very involved with the leaders and events taking place here, in all of Josiah’s reforms, and his instructions to the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites, which obviously didn’t get recorded down for posterity.  My guess, God has somewhat hidden the true identity of who are Israel, “the ten lost tribes” as the Jews call them, for reasons only known to him at this point.  I will not go further in tracing who Israel has become nationally, than what has been revealed here around 500BC, that’s not my aim.  It’s just my aim to show God hasn’t abandoned them, whoever they are now, nor did he back then after they left Palestine in 721BC.  It should be noted, that as long as the Black Sea Scythian-Israelites were around, the Jews in Judah paid God, Josiah and Jeremiah lip service, not true obedience.  Several reasons also lend themselves for the Scythian withdrawal, although I think God telling them through Jeremiah was the strongest reason.  Also their ancient homeland had become full of weeds and pagan foreigners, as the king of Assyria in 721 had deported what was left of Israel, and put in their place a bunch of pagans from around Assyria.  Also Palestine was way too small to hold all the Scythian-Israelite population, which had been mushrooming on the fertile Russian Steppes before they came south. 


Sources used:

King James Bible

“Israel’s Lost Empires” by Steven Collins, P.O. Box 88735, Sioux Falls, SD  57109-8735 ($25.oo including S&H)


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