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READING: 2 Kings 17 – End of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Beginning of Samaritans 


The Kingdom of Israel lasted 209 years, from the rebellion by Jeroboam in 931 b.c. until the end of the three-year siege of Samaria in 722 b.c. Hoshea was the last of 19 Kings of Israel; he was vassal to the Assyrian Kings and was in an Assyrian jail the last years of his reign. “He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not like the kings of Israel who were before him.” 

Every king of the Northern Kingdom was an idolater. All the people in Samaria were relocated to beyond Babylon where they joined earlier captives from the beyond the Jordan tribes. The northern tribes were melting away, and the eastern tribes had been taken captive by Assyria. They were down to the immediate neighborhood of Samaria itself. Only 27,280 families were taken, never to return. 

What happened to these captives? Amos 9:9 gives us a clue. Amos wrote, “For lo, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the ground.” No pebble meant no unified group of Israel remained. Two verses later is the passage James quoted at the Jerusalem conference to justify admitting Gentiles into the church. As James quoted Amos, “After this, I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; from its ruins, I will rebuild it, and I will set it up, so that all other peoples may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called.” For these tribes to return, they would be intermingled with Gentiles so completely that they have no individual existence as Israel. Their return will be as Gentiles come into the church.  

This captivity was because the people of Israel sinned against the LORD who had brought them out of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and walked in the ways of the nations whom the LORD drove out before Israel, and in the ways the Kings of Israel introduced. They built high places with sacred poles on every hill and under every green tree. They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire as sacrifices to the various gods they served. “They went after false idols and became false,” which is the opposite of Truth (cf. John 14:6).  

Approximately 50 or 60 years later, the Assyrians repopulated the area with captives from other wars. The country around Samaria had become fallow, and lions roamed it. The LORD sent lions that killed some of them. The King of Assyria was told he needed to send a priest to teach the newly repopulated people the laws of the God of the land. So, he sent a priest who had come from there to teach the people about the LORD. What irony! Priests who had served at Jeroboam’s golden calves would teach the Samaritans about the LORD? 

Serving false gods makes one false. Truth is what we need. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

PRAY FOR YOURSELF 

Holy Father, I, like David, hate every false way. But, like Paul, I find that while I want to do things Your way, I find myself doing them my way. Draw me with Your Spirit within me to be closer to You! This, I pray, in the sweet name of Jesus, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (AND FOR MYSELF) 

Oh Lord, in this world there are idols all around us, and we are tempted to pick one or more idols to guide our lives. Yet, we know that serving false idols will make us false while You desire Truth in our inner being. Guide us with Your Spirit within us that we may be wrapped up in Your love for us and the Truth of Your Word that became flesh and lived among us until He gave Himself to be Savior to all who believe. Lord, I believe; help my Unbelief. It is in the precious name of Jesus that I pray for myself and all readers, AMEN! 

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