Israel Carried Captive to Assyria

A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice, the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.? “But your son does n … More

Justice

Elisha tells Ahab that there will be no rain in the land except by his word (v. 1). Then the Lord to go and hide himself near the brook Cherith (vv. 2-3). Elishia did as the Lord told him and a drought came and the Lord fed him till the brook dried up (vv. 4-6). The last king to reign in Israel was Hoshea who gained the throne by conspiracy (15:30). He was an evil king, but he did not rank with his predecessors. He reigned for nine years until Samaria fell to Assyria. Meanwhile, Tiglath-pileser III died and his son, Shalmaneser, became the king of Assyria to which Hoshea paid a tax. After six years of paying these taxes he stopped and sought help from Egypt. It is ironic that Hoshea, the last king of Israel, sought help from Egypt when 724 years earlier they had finally escaped from Egypt.

This was a foolish mistake because Egypt did not and apparently could not help Hoshea. When Shalmaneser discovered Hoshea’s plan to revolt he marched on Israel, and took him prisoner. Then while Israel was without a functioning king, the Assyrians came through the land, taking the smaller cities first and finally they took Samaria and Israel fell permanently.

In this passage we not only review Israel’s history, but also list the many reasons why Israel deserved the judgement she received (vv. 7-23). Israel did not fall to Assyria because God was helpless to rescue her. God graciously sent prophets repeatedly to warn Israel to turn from her idolatry and return to God. The judgement of God was inevitable for Judah if she did not repent.

Application

God’s patience and mercy are beyond my ability to understand. He will pursue me until I either respond to Him or by my own choice make myself unreachable.

 

II Kings 17:1-23 (English Standard Version)

In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger, and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, "You shall not do this." Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets." But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them. And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only. Judah also did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight. When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD and made them commit great sin. The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.

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