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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 17

 

 

Verses 1-41


The Fall of Samaria

This chapter relates the reign of Hoshea. He intrigued with Egypt and rebelled against Assyria; and Samaria, in consequence, was taken and its people carried into captivity, their place being filled by a mixed population.

1. Hoshea] Hoshea, unlike Pekah (2 Kings 16:5), belonged to the faction in Samaria which relied on Assyrian support, and Tiglath-pileser, in his inscriptions, states that after he had slain Pekah, he 'appointed' Hoshea to rule over Israel, and received as tribute 10 talents of gold and 1,000 talents of silver.

3. Shalmaneser] succeeded Tiglath-pileser, his reign lasting from 727 to 723 b.c.

Gave him presents] i.e. rendered him tribute.

4. So] This king, whose name should perhaps be written Seve, is generally identified with Sabako, the first king of the 25th dynasty, though some authorities regard him as a petty prince who was vassal of the Pharaoh. The interference of Assyria with the Israelite kingdoms raised the fears of Egypt, which accordingly encouraged any disaffection which the Israelite sovereigns manifested towards their Assyrian over-lords. But the hopes which Hoshea entertained of Egyptian support proved as delusive to him as they did subsequently to Hezekiah and Zedekiah: cp. Isaiah 30:3; Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 37:7. Shut him up, and bound him] Possibly Hoshea was either captured, or surrendered before his capital was taken.

6. The king of Assyria] Not Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17:3), who died before Samaria was captured, but his successor, Sargon (723-705). The fall of Samaria took place in 722 b.c. Carried Israel away] The numbers deported, as given in Sargon's own inscription, amounted to 27,280 so that a considerable population must have been left behind: cp. 2 Chronicles 34:9.. Of the localities where the captives were settled, Halah is not known. In Habor by the river of Gozan] should be 'on Habor' (the Chaboras, mod. Khabour), 'the river of Gozan' (part of Mesopotamia). The cities (LXX 'mountains') of the Medes] S. of the Caspian Sea.

8. The kings of Israel] especially Jeroboam, who introduced the calf-worship, and Ahab, who introduced Baal worship.

9. The tower of the watchmen] i.e. the watch towers erected for solitary guardians of the vineyards and flocks in lonely localities, the phrase from the tower.. fenced city thus embracing thinly and thickly populated places.

12. Ye shall not do this thing] cp. Deuteronomy 12:31. Some of the pillars and Asherim (so read for 'images and groves' in 2 Kings 17:10) were probably, like the calves, erected in honour of the Lord, and the LXX after 'things' adds 'unto the Lord.' If so they had an evil tendency, because they were associated with the corruptions of the old Canaanite worship.

13. By all the prophets] Among the prophets who laboured in Israel were Ahijah, Jehu (son of Hanani), Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Jonah, Oded, Amos, and Hosea; whilst those who ministered in Judah included (up to the time here indicated) Shemaiah, Iddo, Azariah, Hanani, Jehu, Zechariah (son of Jehoiada), Micah, and Isaiah. Through such agents God exhorted and warned His people before sending upon them the punishments which their sins deserved.

15. Vanity] often applied to idols (1 Kings 16:13)

16. All the host of heaven] i.e. the stars. There is no previous reference in Kings to this form of idolatry in N. Israel, but an allusion to it occurs in Amos 5:26, where the name 'Chiun' probably denotes the planet Saturn. Warnings against it are found in Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3.

19. Walked Israel] as when Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, introduced Baal worship: cp. 2 Kings 8:18, 2 Kings 8:27; 2 Kings 16:3.

20. All the seed] The writer here anticipates the future, and refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, an event which he still has to relate.

24. Brought men from, etc.] Of the names that follow, Babylon was on the Euphrates; Cuthah was between the Euphrates and the Tigris; Ava, perhaps the Ivah of 2 Kings 18:34, is identified by some with the Ahava of Ezra 8:15; Hamath was on the Orontes; Sepharvaim ('the two Sippars') was in Babylonia. The conquest of some of these places is alluded to in 2 Kings 18:34. Sargon in one of his inscriptions mentions the transportation of some of the inhabitants of Babylon to 'the land Khatti,' which, though strictly designating the country of the Hittites, may be intended to denote Palestine generally; but according to another inscription the people settled in Samaria consisted of Arabian tribes.

25. Lions] These, which were common in the Jordan valley, would multiply in consequence of the depopulation of the country.

26. The manner] i.e. the ordinances of worship.

27. One of the priests] The priests alone were acquainted with the proper ritual. Let them] i.e. the priest and his attendants.

30. Succoth-benoth] perhaps Zir-bânit, the wife of Merodach. Nergal] the Assyrian god of war.

31. Adrammelech and Anammelech] probably the gods Adar and Anu, with the addition of the word 'melech' ('king').

32. Of the lowest of them] better, 'of all classes': cp. 1 Kings 12:31.

33. They feared the Lord and served, etc.] cp. 2 Kings 17:41. The religion that prevailed was a combination of the worship of the Lord (Jehovah), as the God of the land of Israel (2 Kings 17:27), with that of the various deities adored by the different nations from which the settlers were drawn. The worship of the Lord was maintained among them as late as the return of the Jews under Zerubbabel (see Ezra 4:2, one reading); and they approached the latter with a request to be allowed to share in the restoration of the Temple. Whom they carried away from thence] RV 'from among whom they' (the settlers) 'had been carried away.'

34. They fear not the Lord] i.e. the worship of the Lord implied in 2 Kings 17:33 was not such as God desired.

41. Unto this day] i.e. as late as the time of the writer of the passage, though whether the statement proceeds from the compiler of the book, or from one of his authorities, is not certain.

The Israelite exiles, whose native land was thus occupied by strangers, lost their nationality in the country of their captivity, and never again formed a distinct community. When, however, the people of Judah were deported some 150 years later into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, individual members of the northern tribes joined themselves to them in the course of the Exile, and accompanied them back to Palestine when Cyrus the Persian permitted them to return to their homes. In 1 Chronicles 9:3; 'children of Ephraim and Manasseh,' as well as of Judah and Benjamin, are mentioned as dwelling in Jerusalem after the Return; and Anna the prophetess was of the tribe of Asher (Luke 2:36): cp. also Tobit 1:1; Judith 6:15. But in 2 Esdras 13:39-47 it is related that the Ten Tribes, after being carried into Assyria by Shalmaneser, decided to leave the heathen and go forth 'into a further country where never mankind dwelt, that they might there keep their statutes which they never kept in their own land'; and from thence their restoration is predicted. These Lost Tribes have been fancifully identified with various nations, including our own.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/2-kings-17.html. 1909.

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Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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