Lesson 27: Captivity and Dispersion of the Kingdom of Israel

Reading Preperation:
  • 2 Kings 9-10;13;15;17
Lesson Notes:
1. Jehoash (aks Joash) visits Elisha prior to his death
In keeping with the events of Chapter 26, and our focus upon Elisha and his mission, we will address the last days of Elisha and his final miracle.
Prior to Elisha’s death, Johoash or Joash, king in Israel, came to visit Elisha. [*Do not confuse him with Joash, a king in Judah.] The prior king of Israel, Jehoahez, is his father.
The LDS Bible Dictionary states,
Elisha had served for “more than fifty years… as a trusted advisor to the kings… during the reigns of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Joash” (Elisha. LDS Bible Dictionary. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1979, 664).
It is due to his position in the court that the king comes to Elisha seeking his direction (see 2 Kings 13:14).
The question to which the king is seeking an answer is would he and his army be delivered from the Syrians in the coming battle.
2 Kings 13:15-18
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the kings hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, the arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed the.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them…
How is it possible that by having the king shoot an arrow out of the window that Elisha would know that the army of Israel would be victorious over the Syrians and also the city where the victory would occur? The answer is that only one who receive revelation from heaven would be able make that determination. Elisha had from the time he was called by the Lord through Elijah to serve as his anointed servant sought to do the will of the Lord.
It appears to me that to this juncture, the king had by his obedience to Elisha’s direction exhibited sufficient faith to draw upon heaven’s power, however is seems that his humility began to falter.
2 Kings 13:18-19
18 … And he [Elisha] said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed [ceased, stopped].
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shall smite Syria but thrice.
I don’t believe Elisha would have been angry with the king had he continued to follow with exactness Elisha’s directions. When he failed to do so, Elisha knew that the lasting victory Israel could have gained, due to his faltering obedience, would not occur. Elisha’s anger was a manifestation of his disappointment in the kings disobedience and lack of faith.
2. Elisha’s Last miracle
While we noted that the miracle involving king Josh was the last miracle that Elisha performed, there is yet one more that occurred after Elisha’s death and burial.
2 Kings 13:20-21
20 And Elisha died, and they buried him…
21 And it came to pass, as they [bands of Moabites] were burying a man, that, behold they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
This final recorded miracle is phenomenal! To think that the power of healing yet remained within the bones after the prophet is dead borders on the unbelievable. The element of faith either by the individual themselves or by another is absent for it is unlikely that either the man who was bring buried or those who were burying him believed that the dead man could come to life. It is also doubtful that his comrades in arms would take the time to bury him, if they were not sure he was in fact dead. The only explanation I have to offer is that the Lord, in his mercy and omnipotent understanding, chose to restore this man who was dead to life. It’s location was one last honor given to his prophet who in life had done all that he had been asked to perform.
3. Prophecy regarding the decline of the Kingdom of Israel
We now turn our attention to the decline of the Kingdom of Israel. We will note both the prophetic warning that the kings received and the over-all effect the rule of Israel last kings had upon bring about Israel’s decline. It is of interest to note that decline of the northern kingdom of Israel occurred in 722 B.C while the demise of the southern kingdom of Judah did not occur until 587 B.C., approximately 135 years later.
Let us turn back to 1 Kings 14, to read of a prophesy given to Israel’s first king, Jeroboam I by Ahijah (see 1 Kings 14:2-5). This prophecy was a warning given to Israel which if they did not heed, would lead to their demise.
1 Kings 14:15-16
15 For the LORD shall smite Israel as a read is shaken in the water, and he 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.
16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
While there were initial periods of righteousness during the reign of the kings in Israel, the majority did evil in the sight of the Lord.
The LDS Bible Dictionary states,
Jehoash or Joash is noted as being “one of the best of the kings of Israel” (Joash. LDS Bible Dictionary. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1979, 713).
The unrighteous rule of the kings of Israel continues as we briefly note the kings who served #10 through #19.
4. Reign of Kings [10-19] in Israel
10. Jehu 841-814 B.C.
  • Annointed by Elisha.
  • Destroyed house of Ahab
  • Began righteous but did evil
11. Jehoahaz 814-798 B.C.
  • Jehoahaz, son of Jehu
  • Reigned seventeen years
  • Did that which was evil in sight of the Lord
12. Jehoash 798-782 B.C.
  • Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz; (*aka Joash)
  • Reigned sixteen years
  • One of the best of Israel’s kings (LDS Bible Dictionary, 713)
  • Sought direction from Elisha
13. Jeroboam II 793-753 B.C.
  • Jeroboam II, son of Joash
  • Reigned 41 years
  • He was the ablest of the kings of Israel, and the most successful in war
  • While his reign enjoyed great prosperity, he did evil in the sight of the Lord
14. Zachariah 753 B.C.
  • Zachariah, son of Jeroboam II
  • An evil king
  • Reigned six months
  • Slain by Shallum
15. Shallum 751 B.C
  • Shallum, son of Jabesh
  • An evil king
  • Reigned one month
  • Slain by Menahem
16. Menahem 752-742 B.C.
  • Menahem, son of Gadi
  • An evil king
  • Reigned ten years
  • Kept Pul (Tiglath-Pileser), king of Assyria, from conquering Israel by paying a tibute of 1,000 talents of silver.
17. Pekahiah 742-740 B.C.
  • Pekahiah, son of Menahem
  • Reigned for two years
  • An evil king
  • Slain by Pekah, son of Remaliah (Pekahiah’s captain)
18. Pekah 752-740 B.C.
  • Durng his reigh Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria, attacked Israel and carried the northern section (Galilee and above) into captivity.
  • He allied with Rezin, king of Syria, and they together attacked Judah in an effort to force Judah to ally itself with them against Assyria.
19. Hoshea 732-722 B.C.
  • Paid tribute and served as a puppet king under Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria.
  • Tried to form an alliance with Egypt to throw off Assyria.
  • Assyria learned of Hoshea’s alliance with Egypt and put him in prison.
  • Israel fell captive to Assyria after a three-day siege. The siege was begun by the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser V, who died during the siege. The conquest was completed by the Assyrian general, Sargon, who ascended to the throne of Assyria.
Reference: Kings of Judah / Kings of Israel Scriptural Accounts. Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, Second Edition, 43).
5. Sins of Jeroboam I
What is meant by the phrase “the sins of Jeroboam?”
This phrase is repeated eight times in the scriptures, each time in reference to the rule of one of Israel’s kings.
2 Kings 10:31 [Jehu]
31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 13:1-2 [Jehoahaz]
1 … Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and following the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
2 Kings 13:10-11 [Jehoash aka Joash]
10 … Jehoash the sons of Jehoahaz reign[ed] over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.
11 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.
2 Kings 14:23-24 [Jeroboam II]
23 … Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel begin to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.
24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 15:8-9 [Zachariah]
8 … Zachariah the son of Jeroboam[II] reign over Israel in Samaria six months.
9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 15:17-18 [Menahem]
17 … began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.
18 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 15:23-24 [Pekahiah]
23 … Pekahiah the son of Menaham began to reign over Israel in Samaria,and reigned two years.
24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
2 Kings 15:27-28 [Pekah]
27 … Pekah the son of Ramailiah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.
28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
We find this phrase “the sins of Jeroboam” defining the reign of all but two of the ten kings we have noted.
Andrew C. Skinner states,
“The sins that were initiated at the beginning of divided Israel during the reign of Jeroboam and perpetuated throughout its history included (1) the replacement of Jehovah worship with the worship of false gods (1 Kngs.12:28); (2) worship at the two golden calves, at Dan and Bethel (1 Kngs.12:27-30); (3) false feasts and sacrifice in imitation of those that were revealed to Moses [declared by man, not deity](1 Kngs.12:32), and (4) the rejection of the authorized priesthood of Jehovah and their replacement from the ‘lowest of the people’ (1 Kngs.13:33; 2 Chron. 11:13-17;13:7-9)… With the passing of each unrighteous king, one after another, Israel wallowed in sin, becoming ever more deeply entrenched in the ways of wickedness,… ” (“Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studient in Scripture 4. Edited Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 44).
The tragedy for Israel is that they were unable, in spite of the continual warning of the Lord’s prophets, to permanently rise above the initial tide of wickedness and evil initiated by Jeroboam. There were times when they were able to see the hand of the Lord as manifest through his prophets and to temporarily know the joy and happiness that comes through the true worship of the Lord. It seems however they, like some of us, always held something back that allowed Satan to have a “toehold” even during their periods of righteous. Eventually, the “toehold” grew and finally they were back to their evil ways once again. While I believe there were those who were righteous and did not become involved in the evil that surrounded them, the majority of Israel were wicked and their fate as a nation was doomed.
6. The Captivity and Dispersion of the Kingdom of Israel
*For this section of the chapter, I have chosen to quote extensively from Andrew C. Skinner. His meticulous research into this period of history and insight gained makes a valuable contribution to our understanding.
Andrew C. Skinner states,
“The Assyrians… became synonymous with terrifying military might. By perfecting the latest technology and techniques and pursuing to full advantage policies of terror, the Assyrians fashioned the most fiercely militaristic empire the Near East had ever known… They punctuated the records of their exploits with references to having flayed conquered chieftains, covered the walls of conquered cities with skins of the captured populace, impaled live victims on poles, cut off ears, noses, hands and legs of prisoners, spanned rivers with corpses to make bridges, mashed victims alive, and fed dead rebels to pigs and vultures. Under Ashurnasirpal and his successors, conquered peoples were put to work on massive building projects, including palaces and monuments. Over time, Nineveh became a huge metropolis” (“Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 40-41).
Andrew C. Skinner continues,
“During the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.), also referred to in the Bible as Pul (2 Kngs.15:19), the Assyrians began to incorporate conquered territories into their empire. At its peak, that empire would extend from Iran as far west as the Mediterranean Sea and as far south as Egypt (see Map 10, LDS Bible). Tiglath-pileser’s first serious encounter with Israel occurred during the reign or Menahem (745-737 B.C.), resulted in the payment of a huge sum of tribute money–one thousand talent of silver, or more than thirty-five tons (2Kngs.15:19-20)” (“Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 41).
Andrew C. Skinner notes the beginning of the deportation Israel’s population,
“Tiglath-pileser began… absorbing Israel during the reign of Irael’s King Pekah (736-732 B.C.)… As the Assyrians marched west, they imposed tribute on Judah, Ammon, Ashkelon, Edom, and Moab, and then took large numbers of people from the Galilee and Gilead areas of Israel into captivity (2 Kngs.15:29, see Map 9, LDS Bible). This began the deportation of the northern tribes of Israel and was a large part of the scattering that had been foretold by the prophets (Deut.4:25-27)” (Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studiens in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 42).
*The following quote is written as it might have been spoken by the great conqueror, Tibiath-Pileser himself.
Old Testament Part Two, Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement states,
“I am Tiglath-pileser III. I am the great conqueror, the father of the Assyrian Empire. I led campaigns into Syria and Canaan and began systematic absorption of peoples, deporting the local population and making Assyrian provinces out of their countries. I must admit that this was fairly effective in reducing smaller kingdoms to helpless subjugation.
“In my first campaign into Philistia in 734 B.C., I marched my armies south along the coast to Gaza and to the Brook of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish), the traditional boundary between Egypt and Canaan, in order to prevent Egypt’s interference with my plans. In 733 B.C., I swept through all of Galiee (Naphtali) and Gilead, now known as Transjordan. In 732 B.C. I onquered the mighty Syrian capital of Damascus” (Old Testament Part Two, Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, 76).
Andrew C. Skinner observes,
“With the death of Tiglath-pileser in 727 B.C.,[the new king] Shalmaneser V of Assyia (726-722 B.C.) found evidence that Hoshea, the last monarch of the kingdom of Israel, had been in communication with Egyptian authorities and had not sent his annual tribute payment… [King Shalmaneser V] attacked Israel and beseiged the capital city, Samaria (2 Kngs.17:4-5). Hoshea the king was captured outside the city before Samaria’s fall (2 Kngs.17:4)” (Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 42).
*The following quote is written as it might have been spoken by Syrian’s second leader, Shalmaneser V himself.
Old Testament Part Two, Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement states,
“I am Shalmaneser V. After Hoshea’s revolt, attempting to win the support of those feeble Egyptians, I carried on a three-year siege of Samaria. That occurred between 724 and 722 B.C. Unfortunately, I died before Samaria was actually captured, so I didn’t get to see those haughty Israelites punished for their rebellion” (Old Testament Part Two, Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, 76).
Andrew C. Skinner records,
“When Shalmaneser died unexpectedly during the three year siege of Samaria, his successor, Sargon II, (2 Kngs.17:6) boasted of completing the devastation of Israel and conquering the city (2 Kngs.17:4-6). In Sargon II own words we read:
“At the beginning of my royal rule….the town of the Samarians I besieged, conquered… I led away as prisoners 27,290 inhabitants of it… The town I rebuilt better than people from countries which I myself had conquered” (“Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 43).
*The following quote is written as it might have been spoken by the third Syrian General, Sargon II himself.
Old Testament Part Two, Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Supplement records,
“I saw those rebels bow the knee!…and I supervised the clean-up operations around Samaria. I had reliefs carved on my palace walls showing Israelite men driving carts loaded with grain, pulled by oxen, little chldren riding in them, and women and girls carrying sacks while plodding along wearily on foot to their new homes in northeast Mesopotamia (modern Turkey, Iran and northeast Syria). Later people called them ‘lost tribes.’ At my death Sennacherib rose to power. He threatened the little country of Judah, which by then was surrounded by my great Assyrian provinces” (Old Testament Part Two Gospel Doctrine Teaher’s Supplement. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, 76).
Andrew C. Skinner draws the following conclusions regarding Israel’s downfall,
“The destruction of Samaria in 721 B.C. was a most important event in scriptural history. It brought to an end the Northern Kingdom and resulted in the deportation of thousands of its inhabitants to other lands… The real cause of Israel’s captivity was not Assyrian imperialism or military might but rather decades of unmitigated idolatry and infidelity to Jehovah.
“Had Israel been humble and honored the true God who had brought them forth from Egypt (2 Kngs.17:36), he would have fought their every battle and rescued them from every enemy (2 Kngs.17:39). God delivers his people from their enemies when they obey or to their enemies when they disobey (see [2 Kings]10:32;13:3;17:20)” (“Israel and Judah in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries Before Christ” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 43, 45).
As Andrew C. Skinner has so clearly documented, the downfall of Israel, not unlike the forty years their forefathers had spent in the Sinai Deseret under Moses leadership need not have occurred if each group had listen to the words of their prophet and followed the commandments of the Lord. But neither group listened or obeyed for very long and each suffered the consequences of their choice to reject their Lord. Today, the question each of us must answer for ourselves is “Will I follow the Lord and his appointed prophets?” If our answer is “No,” then it really won’t matter what else we may choose, our ultimate consequences will be similar to those in the past who made the same choice! The Old Testament record is our witness.
7. The Lost Ten Tribes
Those dispersed to Syria at the time of the conquest of the Northern kingdom of Israel became known in history as the “Lost Ten tribes.” It is important to understand that this is a general term for we know that during the reign of Jeroboam, many members of the various tribes that had gone north, made the decision in part at least to return to the Southern kingdom of Judah.
2 Chronicles 11:14, 16
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possessions, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD.
16 And after them [Levites?] out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
We learn that not all members of the ten tribes remained in Israel, but that “members of all tribes of Israel” returned to the Southern kingdom after having originally moved to the Northern kingdom. While the number is not known, it is generally assumed that the greater number of each of the ten tribes did remain in the Northern kingdom.
We may ask, “Where are the lost ten tribes of Israel today?”
B/M 1 Nephi 22:4-5
4 … Yea, the more part of all the tribes of Israel have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whether they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away.
5 … wherefore they are scattered among all nations…
While the above scripture states that members of the lost ten tribes are scattered amongst “all the nations,” there is information to also suggest that a more concentrate number may be found in a specific location.
B/M 3 Nephi 17:4
4 But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost ten tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.
These words, spoken by Jesus Christ himself, were given to those who were gathered on the Western hemisphere. They had been taken to the Americas by divine guidance and kept from the knowledge of the known world until their record, The Book of Mormon, came forth in 1829.
We learn that the ten tribes were not lost unto the Father and that following the departure of Jesus Christ to his visit to the Americas, He was going to visit the lost ten tribes in person.
B/M 2 Nephi 29:13
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, [The Book of Mormon] and the Nephites shall have the word of the Jews [The Bible]; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.
In other words, this group of “the lost tribes of Israel,” shall, like both the Jews and the Nephites, write a record of the words of the prophets as revealed by the Lord to this people which will make up their scriptures! It is certain that the visit of the Lord to them will be recorded in their record.
Let me add one last piece of our original questions.
Doctrine and Covenants 133:26-27, 30
26 And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
27 And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
30 And they shall bring forth their rich treasures [scriptures?] unto the children of Ephraim, my servant.
The answer to where are the last ten tribes today may be twofold: (1) A large number have been scattered among the many nations of the earth, and (2) There is a large group who while they remain lost to the people of the earth, but they are known unto God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. It will the responsibility of the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to find scattered Israel amongst the nations of the earth who will be identified by linage, as will each members of the sons of Jacob, as they seek their patriarchal blessing.
It will be through revelation to the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, that the whereabouts of the remaining members of the ten tribes will be may known. Further speculation as to their specific location at this time would however be fruitless.
Andrew C. Skinner provides this insight,
“In the last days the tribe of Ephraim will be gathered first to the gospel covenant and then will bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Ephraim will preside over the gathering of Israel and administer the ordinances of salvation” (LDS Beliefs-A Doctrinal Reference. Et al. Millet, Olson, Skinner, and Top Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011, 641).
At the time the whereabouts of the lost ten tribes is identified, they will then be gathered to Zion where they will receive all the blessings promised to those who are faithful and obedient to the commandments of the Lord.
Doctrine and Covenants 133:32-34
32 And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
33 And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.
34 Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the riches blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.
Great will be the joy as all the tribes of Israel are once again united with the Lord as their Savior, to live again in peace and harmony.
8. The Samaritans
William Smith states,
“Strictly speaking, a Samaritan would be an inhabitant of the city of Samaria;… {Samaria retained its dignity as the capital of the ten tribes, and the name is given to the northern kingdom as well as to the city} but the term was applied to all the people of the kingdom of Israel” (Samaritans/Samaria. Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Nelson Reference and Electronic, 1986, 583, 582).
2 Kings 17:24
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.
William Smith continues,
“Thus the new Samaritans were Assyrians by birth or subjugation. These strangers, whom we will now assume to have been placed in “the cities of Samaria: by Esar-hadden, were of course idolaters, and worshipped a strange medley of divinities” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Nelson Reference and Electronic, 1986, 583).
The new Samaritans [combination of Assyrians and remaining Israelities] were able to get the attention of the king of Assyria regarding their desire for religious instruction.
2 Kings 17:27-29
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priest 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.
28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
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.
While it is clear from the record that the king of Assyria did appoint a priest to return to Samaria and to teach the inhabitants regarding the commandments of the Lord, idolatry continued to exist side-by-side in their cities.
2 Kings 17:33
33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
It was this cultural hodgepodge of intermarriage in combination with conflicting religious beliefs that would dominated the history of Samaria. It would be centuries later when the Savior would meet the woman at the well in Sychar, a city of Samaria, that their discussion would address this continuing question between the two factions as to where the true religion was being taught.
John 4:20-22
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain [Mount Gerizim]; [she stated] and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
The religious differences between these two groups will come to a head when the Samaritan will later express their desire to assist with the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and it is denied. We will address this matter in Chapter 40.
9. Conclusion
Moses was commanded by the Lord to tell the children of Israel that they were to become his peculiar treasure.
Exodus 19:5
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine;
How many of us are willing to purge every form of wickedness and rebellion from our lives? Are we only good to a certain point? Do we justify ourselves in keeping “almost all” of the commandments or doing a portion of our duty? Are we justified in our own eyes? If so, we will receive only a portion of the blessing reserved for the righteous. Like ancient Israel, the Lord will be merciful to us on the condition that we repent and turn our hearts to Him.
I believe that the most important lesson that we can learn from the fall of the kingdom of Israel is that she was not completely committed to keeping her covenant with the Lord and to be obedient to his commandments. Because of her disobedience, she lost the peace and protection that could have been hers. The same thing could happen to us through our own partial obedience. Will we procrastinate our day of complete repentance, even though we too have been warned, until the Lord finally,as noted in 2 Kings 17:23, “removed Israel our of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets?” If we do, we will not have learned the lessons so repeatedly taught by our ancestors of the Kingdom of Israel. We should not be surprised if we also reap the same fate.