We just finished a bit of a deep dive into King Ahaz in Judah, now the Blue Letter Bible Bible Chronological reading list is having us read about King Hoshea in Israel before we return to Isaiah.
Verse 1 tells us that Ahaz had been king in Judah for 12 years when Hoshea took leadership in Israel. (732 B.C.) He reigned 9 years.
Verse 2 is very intriguing. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, only not as the kings of Israel who ruled before him. Interesting. Mixing it up with new sins.
Verses 3 and 4 tells us that the king of Assyria, Shalmaneser, son of Tiglath-pileser, came up against Hoshea and Hoshea became his servant, paying him tribute. Verse 4 continues the story that Hoshea didn't make a tribute payment and instead, was caught sending messages to the king of Egypt, So. For this conspiracy, he was bound and thrown in prison.
Verse 5 describes that now the king of Assyria invades all of Israel and besieges it for 3 years.
And the long-awaited, much predicted end of Israel- in verse 6- in the 9th year of Hoshea, the Assyrian king captured Samaria and carried them into exile to Assyria.
The Sins of Israel
Starting in verse 7- explains that this exile happened because
- Israel sinned and feared other gods
- walked in the custom of those God drove out of the Promised Land to make room for the Jews
- followed after the kings of Israel who bastardized the faith for their own gain
- did things in secret against the Lord
- built high places
- set pillars of Asherim
- burned incense on these high places
- provoked the Lord
- served idols despite clear prohibitions
Verse 13 pauses the list to remind us that the Lord warned Israel and Judah and sent prophets and seers to exhort them.
- They did not listen
- They "stiffened their necks", like their fathers
- who did not believe in the Lord, their God.
- they rejected His statutes and covenants
- they followed vanity and became vain
- copied the nations around them
- forsook the Lord's commandments
- Molten images
- sacrificed their children to Molech
- divination enchantments
- sold themselves to do evil
- provoked the Lord
So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; none was left except the Tribe of Judah.II Kings 17:18
Verse 19 adds that Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord and walked in the customs started by Israel.
Verse 20 states that the Lord rejected all of the descendants of Israel, afflicting them at the hand of the plunderers, and removing them from His sight.
Verses 21-23 takes a long lens and looks back at the entire sequence from the Lord tearing them away from the house of David, to them making Jeroboam their king, to his leading them to sin and continue to sin until the end. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria to this day.
The Resettlement of Israel
Verse 24: Assyrian sent settlers in to claim the land of Israel. They didn't fear the Lord so he sent in lions to attack some of them.
So they sent word to the king of Assyrian that, because they did not know the customs of the local god, the god was having them attacks by lions. So the king of Assyrian has one of the exiled priest send back to Bethel to teach them the ways of the Lord.
Fascinating that this comes back to Bethel.
Abram (Abraham before his name change) made an alter at Bethel and returned to Bethel after his journey to Egypt. Jacob had his dream at Bethel. the Ark of the covenant stayed at Bethel after the Spirit of the Lord was gone; but before David returned it to Jerusalem. Many of the prophets were sent to Bethel.
And now, in another transition in the Lord's relationship and man; as Israel's time in the Promise Land ends; the Lord never changes. He is still going to make His name known. He's not going to give up this land completely to men who don't fear Him. He seemingly orchestrates a priest to be brought back and instruct the new people on the ways of the Lord.
It ends when the Lord's customs and the pagan religions get bastardized into the Samaritans and King Josiah of Judah ends it as part of his religious reforms.
But God didn't let that part of His nation go completely. That's God's character. He makes a way. There's always hope when the Lord is in it; even when He's been provoked and made very angry.
Verses 29-31 tells us that the people from the different nations still made their own gods and worshiped them on high places; including burning their children. They also feared the Lord. So they all tried for a combo pack of gods. This is what lead to the bastardized religion of the Samaritans.
Verse 32-41 repeats all of the mistakes made at the end; everything the Lord had repeatedly warned them about from the beginning; and how the era ends with a wimper for the northern tribes of Israel.