Scripture reading – 2 Kings 17

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2 Kings 17 – The Final Judgment

2 Kings 17 gives us a record of the ultimate judgment against Israel for breaking their covenant with the LORD (2 Kings 17:1-6). The silence of God’s prophets was notable in today’s Scripture, for the longsuffering of the LORD had come to a tragic end.

The Final Days of the Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:1-6)

Notice that our text dates the events recorded here as “the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah” (2 Kings 17:1). So it was in that year that a man of Israel named Hoshea conspired with Assyria and slew Pekah, the king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30). Hoshea began to reign as Israel’s king and he agreed to pay tribute to “Shalmaneser king of Assyria (2 Kings 15:27-31; 17:1-3).

True to the character of the wicked kings before him, Hoshea “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD” (17:2). Hoshea became the servant to the king of Assyria, but when he failed to pay his debt and conspired with Egypt, Shalmaneser king of Assyria “bound him in prison…[and] came up throughout all the land [of Israel], and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years” (2 Kings 17:5). It was in the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign as king of Israel that Assyria captured Samaria (Israel’s capital city) and “carried Israel away into Assyria” (2 Kings 17:6).

sacrificed their sons and daughters to idols (2 Kings 17:17)

The Captivity and Exile of the Children of Israel (2 Kings 17:7-23)


The Sins of Israel Invited God’s Judgment (2 Kings 17:7-12)

Rather than heed the prophet’s warnings of judgment, Israel continued in its sins and “sinned against the LORD their God” (17:7). The people were condemned for their ingratitude, for the LORD brought them out of Egyptian bondage. Yet, they forsook the LORD and walked in the ways of the heathen (17:8).

What began as secret sins were soon committed openly as Israel worshipped idols throughout the land (2 Kings 17:9-12). The people continued in sin and followed the ways and practices of the heathen. They served their idols, though the LORD warned them, “Ye shall not do this thing” (2 Kings 17:12).

The People Rejected God’s Prophets (2 Kings 17:13-17)


The LORD sent prophets who called on Israel and Judah to repent of their “evil ways, and keep [His]commandments” (2 Kings 17:13). “Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks…[and] did not believe in the Lord their God” (2 Kings 17:14).

The people not only rejected the LORD, His Law, and Commandments, but like the heathen, they established places of idol worship (2 Kings 17:15-16). They provoked the LORD to anger and worshipped the golden calves of Jeroboam, and sacrificed their sons and daughters to idols (2 Kings 17:17).


Summary Thought Concerning Judah (2 Kings 17:18-19)

A parenthetical thought concerning Judah was briefly introduced.  While the whole of chapter 17 has addressed a litany of Israel’s sins and the immediacy of God’s judgment, we also read: “There was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 19Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.” (2 Kings 17:18-19). Israel was doomed, but Judah failed to heed the warning of that nation’s fall.


A Summary of God’s Judgment (2 Kings 17:20-23)

2 Kings 17:20-23 served as a reminder of how the ten northern tribes had come to this tragic end. Israel broke their covenant with the LORD, and His longsuffering was finished. Therefore, “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” (2 Kings 17:20).

As He promised Solomon, the LORD did “rent Israel from the house of David” (2 Kings 17:21). The ten northern tribes rebelled and followed Jeroboam I. He then secured his reign and made two golden calves (1 Kings 12:28-30), which the people worshipped, and he “made them sin a great sin” (2 Kings 17:21).  

Despite the prophets’ warnings, Israel continued in wickedness, and the LORD determined He would fulfill His judgment against His people (2 Kings 17:23). Thus, Israel was “carried away out of their own land to Assyria” (2 Kings 17:23).

The Resettlement of Foreign Refugees in Israel’s Land (2 Kings 17:24-41)

The Resettlement of Foreign Refugees in Israel’s Land (2 Kings 17:24-41)


As was the practice, Assyria transplanted refugees from other nations and settled them on Israel’s land and in their towns and cities. The non-Hebrew people resettled on Israel’s land were recorded (2 Kings 17:24). Those strangers in the land did not fear Israel’s God and provoked Him to anger. “Therefore, the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them” (2 Kings 17:25).”

Because they believed the evil befalling them was God’s judgment, the people requested that the Assyrian king send Jewish priests to “teach them the manner of the God of the land” (2 Kings 17:27). Astonishingly, the king fulfilled their request. He sent “one of the priests whom they had carried away,” and he came “and dwelt in Bethel,” where he “taught them how they should fear the Lord” (2 Kings 17:28).

Unfortunately, the non-Hebrew people mixed the worship of Israel’s God with their idols (2 Kings 17:33) and did not fear the LORD nor follow His Laws and Commandments (2 Kings 17:34-41).


Closing thoughts –

The LORD warned Israel that should they break His covenant and disobey His Law and Commandments, He would remove them from their land (Deuteronomy 28:25, 49-50, 52, 63-68) and enslave them (Deuteronomy 28:29, 33, 48, 68). Assyria was the nation God chose to fulfill His covenant promise of judgment against the northern ten tribes.

Tragically, though, the people of Judah did not repent, though they witnessed the devastating judgment, fall, and exile of Israel. The ten northern tribes were taken violently from their homes and resettled in Assyria. Judah continued in its wicked ways and faced their own judgment a century later.

A sobering thought: Understanding the LORD did not spare Israel and Judah from His judgment, is it not foolish to think He will tolerate the sins of our nation forever?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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