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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

2 Kings 17

 

 

Verses 1-41

End of the northern kingdom (17:1-41)

Some time after Shalmaneser V succeeded Tiglath-pileser III as king of Assyria, the Israelite king Hoshea tried to show himself independent of Assyria by refusing to pay the annual tribute. He thought that with Egyptian support his rebellion would be successful. Shalmaneser put an end to such hopes by invading Israel and besieging Samaria. After three years Israel's defence collapsed, and Shalmaneser's successor, Sargon II, captured Samaria and carried off the survivors into captivity (722 BC). This was the end of the northern kingdom (17:1-6).

The fact that Israel's nineteen kings were spread over nine dynasties is an indication of the instability that characterized the northern kingdom throughout its history.

At this point the writer comments at length on the reason for the fall of Israel, namely, the spiritual failure of the people as a whole. Though Jeroboam I was responsible for changing the official religious policy, the real cause of the failure lay with the common people, who readily copied local religious practices. This was open disobedience to God's covenant commands given by Moses and repeated by the prophets (7-17). In the end God punished the people by making them captives in a foreign land, as they had once been in Egypt. Only Judah was left, but it too was turning from God (18-23).

In accordance with their normal policy, the Assyrians resettled people from other parts of their Empire into cities of the northern kingdom (which was now known as Samaria). These settlers tried to avoid punishment from Israel's God by combining the worship of Yahweh with their own religion. They also intermarried with the Israelites left in the land. Their descendants, known as Samaritans, being of mixed blood and mixed religion, were despised by the Jews (24-33; cf. John 4:9; John 8:48). The presence of all these religions in the land God gave to Israel was in sharp contrast to God's plan, which was for Israel to worship him alone (34-41).

 


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Bibliography Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/2-kings-17.html. 2005.

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