2 Kings, Chapter 17

- י י ל -

The Assyrians Destroy the Kingdom of Israel, Drive Its Residents Into Exile

Hoshea, king of Israel, forms an alliance with the Egyptians and stops paying taxes to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. The ramifications of this act are fatal-Shalmaneser imprisons Hoshea, conquers Samaria, and drives the Israelite residents into exile. The Bible tells us the reasons for this terrible outcome-the Israelites had indulged in idolatry, engaged in moral crimes, and abandoned the God of Israel. 

The Israelites’ sins did not begin in Hoshea’s days, but had rather been accumulating for generations. Their transgressions had become an obsession. The only tribes left in the land are those living in the Kingdom of Judah. The Assyrians settle foreign people in the conquered Israelite lands, who eventually also begin worshiping the God of Israel. The decline of the Kingdom of Israel is an opportunity for reflection and repentance. Following their terrible destruction, the Israelites must move past their losses, correct their ways, and build the second Temple in Jerusalem when the time is right.

 “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, … and had feared other gods” (Kings 2 17:7)

 “Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only” (2 Kings 17:18)

 “from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: …” (2 Kings 17:24)

When we restrict negative impulses, judgment becomes lovingkindness.