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While Ahaz occupied the throne of Judah, Hoshea, by the murder of Pekah, succeeded to the throne of Israel. His reign, too, was evil, although he did not descend to the depths of some of those who had preceded him. He was the last of the kings of Israel.
The stroke of the divine judgment, long hanging over the guilty people, fell at last, and Shalmaneser came up against Israel, first making the people tributary, and after three years carrying them away captive.
In this chapter the historian is at great pains to declare why they were thus carried away. The charge is explicitly stated in verses seven to twelve. Disobedience to Jehovah, conformity to the nations from which they had been separated, secret practice of abominations, and eventually public idolatry--these were the sins which finally brought down the stroke of national destruction. These evils they did, moreover, in spite of God's patience and warning. "The Lord testified unto Israel, and unto Judah, by the hand of every prophet, and of every seer."
These messages they would not hear. They rejected His statutes, they forsook His commandments, they practiced all the abominations of the heathen. Therefore. "the Lord was very angry," and cast them out. Their sin was first against law, but finally it was against patient love.
In this chapter also we have a remarkable passage having no direct connection with the history which is being traced. It is the story of an attempt made by the king of Assyria to colonize Samaria, from which he had taken captive the children of Israel. It is not easy for any people to take possession of what a divinely appointed nation failed to possess. As the colonists set up their own evil worship, divine judgment fell on them. They endeavored to accommodate their practices to what they conceived to be the manner of the God of the land. It is of these people that the remarkable words were written, "They feared the Lord, and served their own gods." The result necessarily was the degradation of the land and the people.
A most solemn and heart-searching lesson is taught by this paragraph. If God's witnesses fail, the issue is worse than previous conditions. The dreadful mixture of heathen practice and abomination with an attempt to make use of divinely revealed religion produces a corruption more fearful than anything else. Instances of the working of this principle in the history of the Christian Church have not been wanting.
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Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter