2 Kings 17
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. and brought under tribute in the reign of Pekah, in approximately 740 B.C., and a twenty year series of deportations from the land began.
2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for completing the twenty-year series of deportations of Israel’s northern ten-tribe kingdom and the final deportations of Israel after a three year siege of Samaria at the revolt of Hoshea (2 Kings 17:4).
Hoshea becomes king over Israel.
This wicked king was engaged in secret idolatry and very many elders and leaders do the same thing today; not being what they appear to be, but being wolves creeping in to teach the people to sin. Jesus and the apostles warned us that this would be the situation in these latter days: Why do we not believe the scriptures?
2 Kings 17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. 17:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.
Israel then became the servant of Assyria, paying tribute to Assyria.
17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.
Then Hoshea of Israel sought to make a league with Egypt to rebel against Assyria.
17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year:
Assyria defeated Israel after a three year siege of Samaria; and deported many from Israel.
. . . therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
In 722 B.C., nearly twenty years after the initial deportations, the ruling city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Samaria, was finally taken by Sargon II after a three-year siege started by Shalmaneser V.
17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
Why? Because the God who later became flesh as Jesus Christ and who had brought them out of bondage in Egypt; finally ran out of patience with their continual idolatry.
Even so modern Spiritual Israel is at the very door of being vomited out of the body of Jesus Christ (Rev 3:15-22), into great tribulation for the sins of idolizing men, false traditions and organizations, exalting them above the Word of God.
Yes we fear the gods which we have ordained of men, more than we fear the Almighty!
17:7 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, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 17:8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
Today the Ekklesia presents an outward form [appearance] of godliness, while behind that appearance they reject any zeal to live by every Word of God.
17:9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
17:10 And they set them up images [idols] and groves [fertility symbols; worshiping increase as our idol] in every high hill, and under every green tree: 17:11 And there they burnt incense [worshiped] in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:
All of the above are forms of idol worship, and today’s Ekklesia also worships and obeys their idols of men above any zeal to live by every Word of God.
Today the brethren worship idols of men, false tradition and organizations, exalting them above any zeal for keeping the whole Word of God; and our leaders worship the god of pride, their own ways, and physical increase [the idols of numbers and money] above any zeal for the Word of God; and they twist the Word of God this way and that for their own purposes.
17:12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
Just as God sent his servants to warn ancient physical Israel, so he is warning today’s spiritual Ekklesia.
17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. 17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
We have rejected any zeal for the Word of Almighty God in order to do what is right in our own eyes just like ancient Israel did. We have made to ourselves golden calves of men and false traditions and have turned away from any zeal for the Word of our Mighty One.
17:15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
We exalt our idols of men and their deceitful words above the Mighty God of Eternity and above keeping God’s Word with righteous zeal; and we teach our children to do the same: Turning both ourselves and our children to tread the wide road to destruction.
Today’s Spiritual Ekklesia has led our sons and our daughters into the spiritual fire of wickedness and departing from the whole Word of God, into the way of sin that result in destruction and death.
17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
God removed the wicked of Israel [and later Judah] from before his sight; and he will also remove those who practice the same wickedness today; removing them from before him and casting them into great tribulation.
17:18 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.
Judah was also wicked but because of a few good kings the Eternal was patient with them a little longer.
17:19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
Unless they quickly and sincerely repent all of today’s wicked exalters of the idols of men in the Spiritual Ekklesia will be removed from before the Eternal and cast into the correction of Great Tribulation in the very near future.
17:20 And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
Jeroboam 1 led the people into idolatry and most of the people were glad to follow this man contrary to the Word of God: This is exactly the same situation in the Ekklesia today as most of the brethren are glad to follow their idols of men contrary to living by every Word of God.
17:21 For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.
Jesus Christ is going to remove all the people who have turned away from any zeal to live by every Word of God and have exalted their false traditions and idols of men above Almighty God and God’s Word: Out of his sight and cast them into powerful correction (Rev 3:14-22).
17:22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam [idolatry and departure from the Word of God] which he did; they departed not from them; 17:23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
Then the Assyrian king brought in men from Mesopotamia to inhabit Samaria and Israel, who were then called Samaritans by the Jews.
17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men 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: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. 17:25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them.
These men sent to the king of Assyria to learn of the God of the land.
17:26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.
Remember that Jeroboam 1 had set up the basest of men as priests in Israel and they had remained in control of the religion of Israel right up to and including the Assyrian captivity. The priests sent to Samaria by Assyria may well have been pagan priests of the idols of Jeroboam and not truly priests of God, for they taught a mixed religion of God and paganism; just like today’s Ekklesia teaches a mixture of lip-service to God and idolatry.
17:27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 17:28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
17:29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. 17:30 And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, 17:31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
It is not enough to fear God! We must also zealously do what God’s Word says!
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2 Kings 17:32 So they feared the LORD, 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.
This describes the latter day Spiritual Ekklesia precisely! They pay lip-service to God while they do as they please, serving their idols of men.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
12 Kings 7:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
Do you fear your elder: Fearing to take a stand to obey God and not false teachings? Then you sin! For you have made an idol out of the man and exalted him above the Eternal to fear man and not God!
It is a great sin to follow any person, above faithfully living by every Word of God
17:34 Unto this day [that this was written] they do after the former manners: they fear [obey] not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; 17:35 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
17:36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice. 17:37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. 17:38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.
17:39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. 17:40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.
Today’s called out Ekklesia pays lip-service to God, but serves idols of men, their own false traditions and their organizations exalting them above the Word of God.
17:41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
At the time that Israel was removed from the land, there were those who did serve the Eternal and believing the warnings, these relatively few fled south into Judah. They were then absorbed into Judah, intermarrying and slowly being assimilated into Judah.
Many Mesopotamians later called Samaritans mixed true religion with their own ways, creating an impure religion. Later the Romans destroyed the Mosaic Jews from Palestine, and in the eighth century Islam flooded the land. At that time most Samaritans accepted Islam and only a tiny example of the Samaritan religion remains today. Today the Palestinians are mainly the descendants of those Samaritans who adopted Islam from the eighth century.
2 Kings 18
Hezekiah’s righteous reign over Judah
Hezekiah turns Judah back to the Eternal and Satan rises up to attack through the king of Assyria.
This is an example for us that if we return to the LORD with all our hearts; Satan will attack us like pharaoh followed Israel into the wilderness to destroy them, and the Assyrians assayed to do to Judah.
It is very important for us to remember what God did to pharaoh and his army, and what God did to the Assyrians when they came up against the righteous. The Eternal will even deliver his faithful from the grave to everlasting life!
2 Kings 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
Hezekiah was righteous before God like David was. He even removed the high places where Judah worshiped instead of going to the temple.
Hezekiah destroyed their idols and we should turn from our idols of men. Judah had even begun to worship the brazen serpent set up by Moses to represent Christ taking our sins upon himself, instead of worshiping and living by every Word of God.
18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. [That thing of brass.]
The writer gives Hezekiah a momentous title; calling him the most godly physical king in the history of Judah: Even more godly than Solomon or David.
18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. 18:6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
Hezekiah of JUDAH, stopped paying tribute to the Assyrians, and drove the Philistines out of Judah back into Gaza.
18:7 And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. 18:8 He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
In the 4th year of Hezekiah king of Judah God brought Assyria up and besieged Samaria of ISRAEL for three years and took it, deporting Israel for their idolatry.
18:9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. 18:10 And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is in the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken.
This is a repeat history from 2 Kings 17
18:11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:
God removed the Ten Tribes of Israel from the promised land in those days, and all today who refuse to zealously live by every Word of God and make themselves idols of men in our time will also be corrected in great tribulation and captivity.
18:12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.
In the ninth year of Hezekiah king of Judah, Israel fell and was deported; and doubtless the few faithful in Israel fled south to righteous Judah at the warnings of the prophets and the unfolding of events.
Then in the 14th year of Hezekiah, because Hezekiah had also refused to pay tribute to Assyria, Assyria returned and took all of Judah except for Jerusalem: Showing that God will allow the righteous to suffer trials for their own good to help them to grow spiritually.
18:13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.
Then in a weak moment Hezekiah gave the Assyrians all that Judah had.
18:14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 18:15 And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house. 18:16 At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Then the king of Assyria sent his messengers to Hezekiah.
18:17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.
18:18 And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.
The Assyrian messenger mocked both Egypt and Judah, and declared that God would not save them.
18:19 And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest? 18:20 Thou sayest, (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? 18:21 Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him.
The Assyrians thought that the Eternal was just one of many local gods
18:22 But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away [No, these high places were not of God and indeed God had commanded them to be destroyed.], and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? 18:23 Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.
18:24 How then wilt thou turn away the face of one captain of the least of my master’s servants, and put thy trust on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?
18:25 Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.
Rabshakeh falsely claimed to be coming against Judah by the Word of God [to restore the high places of the gods] and Hezekiah’s servants feared that the people would hear these words and fear.
18:26 Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna, and Joah, unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, to thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and talk not with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.
18:27 But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?
18:28 Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: 18:29 Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand:
Then Rabshakeh reveals the truth that God had not sent him by telling the people not to trust in God.
18:30 Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
18:31 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:
The Assyrian’s then said that they would take all that Judah had and then deport them to a far country.
18:32 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.
The Assyrians then compared the Eternal to the false gods and idols of men.
18:33 Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? 18:35 Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? 18:36 But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not.
Then the servants of Hezekiah reported to Hezekiah all the words of the Assyrians.
18:37 Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh.