Who was Hoshea and what happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during his reign?
Hoshea was the last king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:1). While he did evil in the sight of the Lord, he was not as wicked as the kings before him (2 Kings 17:2). He was a vassal of Shalmaneser V (the son of Tiglath-pileser III) king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:3).
He secretly turned to Egypt for help to get out from under Assyria’s thumb but was arrested and imprisoned by Shalmaneser when he learned of this conspiracy (2 Kings 17:4). Afterwards Shalmaneser invaded Israel and began a siege of Samaria that would last for three years (2 Kings 17:5) and would be completed by his brother and successor Sargon II. In the ninth year of Hoshea, Samaria fell to the Assyrians.
The Assyrians took the people of Israel into exile and dispersed them and repopulated the land with foreign peoples (2 Kings 17:6, 24) in 722 B.C. (see Deuteronomy 28:58-68). Someone noted, “God does not pay at the end of every day, but at the end – He pays.”
Practical Considerations: God will not keep His anger forever.
God gave the Northern Kingdom of Israel repeated opportunities to repent and return to Him. He sent His prophets and even used other nations to redemptively chastise His people in an effort to call them back to Himself. The leaders and people of Israel continually turned a deaf ear to God’s prophets and failed to learn from their national calamities. As a result, there was no recourse but to judge the nation. When the judgment of God finally came, the Northern Kingdom was carried away into exile and forever ceased to exist as a nation. Psalm 103:9 reminds us, “He will not always strive with us; nor will He keep His anger forever.”
What are some of the reasons why Israel fell?
Compromise: Compromise says, “It’s o.k.”
[A] “because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God” (2 Kings 17:7). God does not act capriciously. He does things for a reason.
Departure: Departure says, “Walk away.”
[B] “and walked in the customs of the nations. . .and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced” (2 Kings 17:8 and 15b-17 and also 20-22).
[C] “did things secretly which were not right, against the Lord their God” (2 Kings 17:9).
[D] “set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim” (2 Kings 17:10-11).
[E] “and they served idols” (2 Kings 17:12).
Rejection: Rejection says, “Turn away.”
[F] “they did not listen [to God’s warnings through His prophets], but stiffened their neck” (2 Kings 17:13-14). God mercifully and patiently warned the people through His prophets. See also Proverbs 29:1.
Apostasy: Apostasy says, “Stay away.”
[G] “they rejected His statutes and His covenant” (2 Kings 17:15) and “they forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God” (2 Kings 17:16).
Practical Consideration: We spurn God’s Word at great personal risk.
Proverbs 13:13 states, “The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.” The Living Bible paraphrases this verse, “Despise God’s Word and find yourself in trouble. Obey it and succeed.” One scholar has commented, “The whole Bible is an exposition of this text.” The truth of this verse is poignantly illustrated in Israel’s rejection of God’s Word and subsequent fall.
Did the Southern Kingdom of Judah learn anything from Israel‘s fall?
Apparently not. Judah engaged in some of the same evil practices that resulted in the destruction of Israel (see 2 Kings 17:19).
What happened in the land of Israel after the fall?
The Assyrians repopulated the land with foreign peoples (2 Kings 17:24). These new inhabitants had more than their share of difficulties (2 Kings 17:25) and concluded that they needed to learn about the particular “god of the land” (2 Kings 17:26), so as not to offend and provoke his wrath. The Assyrians therefore sent a priest back to the land to instruct the new inhabitants, but a syncretistic religion evolved (2 Kings -17:27-32) and the people “feared the Lord and served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33 and 34-41). These new inhabitants intermarried with the Israelites that were not carried into captivity and became known as Samaritans.