2 KINGS 17

1 In the 20th year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel 9 years.

A period of eight years anarchy followed the conspiracy of Hoshea against Pekah (ch. 15:30), as the conclusion of which he subdued all opposition. *

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

Shalmaneser invades Israel

3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria [Melech Ashur]; and Hoshea became his servant [eved], and gave him presents [paid him minchah (tribute)].

Those who forget Yahweh may themselves expect to be forgotten. Those who try to imitate the world may expect to be swallowed up by the world. Hoshea conspired against Pekah, and ascended the throne with the connivance of Assyria (ch. 15:30). Thus he had to pay homage and tribute to the Assyrian Power. *

4 And the king of Assyria [Melech Ashur] found conspiracy [kesher] in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers [malachim] to So king of Egypt [Melech Mitzrayim], and brought no present to the king of Assyria [paid no minchah to Melech Ashur], as he had done year by year [shanah b'shanah]: therefore the king of Assyria [Melech Ashur] shut him up [took him in custody], and bound him in prison [bais keleh].

Having successfully conspired against Pekah, he also tried to double-cross Assyria, ignoring the warnings of the prophet (ch. 17:4; Hos. 8:14; 12:13-14), and brought destruction on himself and the nation.*

Israel's defeat and captivity

5 Then the king of Assyria [Melech Ashur] came up throughout all the land [kol HaAretz], and went up to Samaria [Shomron], and besieged it 3 years [shalosh shanim].

He was attacked by Shalmaneser V, who died unexpectedly during the siege. Sargon (Isa. 20:1), his successor, continued the attack. "In the first year of my reign," boasted Sargon in his annals, "I besieged and conquered Samaria." He claims to have led away into captivity 27,290 people. Sargon settled foreigners in Israel, and recorded:

"People of the lands, prisoners my hand had captured, I settled there. My officials I placed over them as governors. I imposed tribute and tax upon them as Assyrians."*

6 In the 9th year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria [Melech Ashur took Shomron], and carried Israel away into Assyria [Yisroel away to Ashur], and placed them in [Chalach] and in [ Chavor ] by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Proximately, Israel's calamities were of purely human origin: but how stands the case from the divine point of view? They were divine doings by human agency. This is testified so abundantly and emphatically that there can be no mistake about the matter. First by Moses God forewarned them when they came out of Egypt:

"If ye will not hearken unto Me and will not do all these commandments, . . . I will bring a sword against you that shall avenge the quarrel of My covenant, . . . and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you" (Leviticus 26: 14-25).

Then by the prophet Ahijah, in the reign of Jeroboam who first led the Ten Tribes astray, the following message was delivered:

"The Lord shall root up Israel out of this good land which He gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger" (1 Kings 14: 15).

And finally, the divine record of these prophecies fulfilled verses 18, 23).

Thus by perfectly natural means, a great work of God was done in the reign of Shalmaneser the king of Assyria, 2,500 years ago. It is written:

"He that scattered Israel will gather him."

The scattering was done by natural means, and so may the gathering be in its first stages. It is this which imparts such interest to the many schemes and motions abroad in the earth at the present time, touching the return of Israel to their own land.

Ways of Providence Ch 20.

The cause of the disgrace of defeat

7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their Elohim, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,

32 So they feared Yahweh, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

... there was a twisting of teaching and doctrine, instituted by pseudo-exponents of the Word: brethren who deliberately misquoted and misapplied the Word (see v. 32). There was a terrible perversion, in which the true religion was tainted by worldliness and tardiness in spiritual issues. Consequently "the nations feared Yahweh, and served their graven images" (v. 41).

There is a great need to remain constant and true to our high and holy calling today.*

33 They feared Yahweh, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

It was a sad time, with the sorrowful recapitulation of Israel's sin by Yahweh.* GEM