2 Kings 17 – Fall of the Northern Kingdom

English: The capture of the city of Astartu by...

English: The capture of the city of Astartu by the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III about 730–727 B.C., as depicted on a palace relief now kept on display at the British Museum – detail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1 Kings 15:29-30, the Bible tells us that Pekah was king over Israel when Hoshea killed him, and took his place.  This was during the reign of the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser III, who captured much of Israel’s northern and eastern territory.  The Assyrian king’s son, Shalmaneser, succeeded him; and Hoshea became his vassal, paying him tribute.  But he reneged on this tribute and sought help from the king of Egypt; and Shalmaneser had Hoshea thrown in prison – and besieged and captured Samaria (verses 4-6) around 722 BC.  Verses 7-23 summarize in detail the many reasons why God brought this downfall upon them.  After God had delivered them from Egyptian bondage, he had brought them to the promised land to expel the wicked Canaanites that occupied it.  Now, the Israelites were just as bad, practicing idolatry of all kinds, and even performing the same types of child sacrifice (verse 17, 31) as the Canaanites had!

So after refusing to heed the warnings of one prophet after another, God’s judgment fell on them, and the northern kingdom of Israel was no more.  The people were taken captive into Assyria, and in verse 24, the king brought people in from Babylon and other places to take their place.  The intermarriage with these people would result in the Samaritan people, which we will see that the Jews in the New Testament scripture will despise (Jesus shocked both sides of this equation by venturing into Samaria, and even having fellowship with them – for such was simply not done – see John 4:1-9).  But God did not make life easy for these interlopers either (verse 25); and the Assyrian king had a Jewish priest brought in to teach them the law of “the god of the land” (verse 27).  So the worship to God himself was still further perverted and polluted by the pagan idol worship, as verse 41 summarizes.

Tiglath-Pileser III. Stone panel, Assyrian art...

Tiglath-Pileser III. Stone panel, Assyrian artwork, ca. 728 BC. From the Central Palace in Nimrud. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Side notes:

A seal was found, dating to the 8th century, with the inscription “Belonging to Abdi servant of Hoshea” – pictured in this link from Biblical Archaeology Review.  More information can be found in this article from Truth Magazine.

Some of the tablets found from Tiglath-pileser III are housed in the British Museum .  An inscription on one tablet has that king boasting credit for Hoshea becoming king.  The translation of the inscription reads:

“Pekah their king they had overthrown, I placed Hoshea over them. From him I received 10 talents of gold and 1000 talents of silver.”

This blog usually is hesitant to link to Wikipedia articles, but at the time of this writing, this one appears to be pretty true to the facts about this subject.

 Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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