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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 17

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Second Kings Chapter 17

2 Kings 17:1 "In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years."

Hoshea will be the last king to reign over the ten tribes of Israel as a unit. His reign will be a short nine years, of which three years he will be under siege from the Assyrians. The Assyrians will defeat Israel, and take their people captive.

2 Kings 17:2 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him."

He still allowed the calf worship, and he did not listen to the warnings from the prophets. These were his worst sins.

2 Kings 17:3 "Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents."

Shalmaneser reigned for about five years in the place of Tiglathpileser. Shalmaneser was an old prominent name for leaders of Assyria. It appears, that Hoshea had been paying tribute before and had revolted when the king Tiglath-pileser died. It seems this role had been assumed here, and tribute must be paid to the new king.

2 Kings 17:4 "And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as [he had done] year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison."

Hoshea had stopped the tribute, and sent to the king of Egypt to help him. The king of Assyria finds out, and arrests Hoshea, and puts him in prison in chains.

2 Kings 17:5 "Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years."

It appears, the capital city is surrounded for three years. It seems, they will not be as easily defeated as the small towns.

2 Kings 17:6 "In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."

We found earlier, that the Assyrians would rather take captives for slaves than kill the people. The last year of Hoshea’s reign the city of Samaria fell, and the Assyrians took the people captive to Halah, Habor, by the river Gozan, and to the cities of the Medes.

2 Kings 17:7 "For [so] it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,"

God had sent these Israelites a deliverer to bring them out of bondage in Egypt. They had been ungrateful to the extent, that they did not remain faithful to Him. Instead of worshipping God, who brought them out of Egypt, they worshipped and followed false gods.

2 Kings 17:8 "And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made."

God had warned them in the beginning not to intermarry with the heathen. They had not kept the commandments and ordinances God had given them. They had even rebelled, and wanted an earthly king like the people around them. All of this was showing lack of faith in God. The heathen did not learn from them. They took up the ways of the heathen, instead. These evil heathen people had been the very same that God had run off the land to give it to Israel.

2 Kings 17:9 "And the children of Israel did secretly [those] things that [were] not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city."

The secret things they did, had to do with divination and witchcraft. God’s temple in Jerusalem was the one appropriate place to worship the LORD. They had made places pleasing and convenient to themselves to worship.

2 Kings 17:10 "And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:"

This heathen religion, which the high places and the groves symbolized, were everywhere. They were still openly worshipping God, while all the time worshipping false gods.

2 Kings 17:11 "And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as [did] the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:"

The burning of incense symbolized the prayers of the saints rising to heaven. You can see how sinful it would be, to do this at places other than that chosen of God. God had not allowed the heathen to do this, and He would not allow them to, either.

2 Kings 17:12 "For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing."

An idol is a nothing. It has no value and no power. Anything that is elevated above God is an idol. In our time, many people have cars and homes that are idols.

2 Kings 17:13 "Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, [and by] all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments [and] my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets."

They could not claim they did not know, because the LORD had sent prophets and seers to tell them how they were breaking God’s commandments. They were, also, warned over and over what would happen, if they did not repent of their sins, and return to the worship of the One True God. The twelve tribes of Israel {Judah and Israel} had been entrusted with the laws and commandments of God. They were without excuse.

2 Kings 17:14 "Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God."

God wanted to bless them, but they would not stay faithful to Him. They had been called stiffnecked more than once. This meant they were unbending. They were proud, instead of humble, before their LORD.

2 Kings 17:15 "And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that [were] round about them, [concerning] whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them."

They were an arrogant, proud people. At Sinai, on the way to the promised land, they had promised to follow God and keep His commandments and statutes. False gods are called vanity over and over in the Bible. Solomon, after he had sinned greatly, thought all was vanity. They had been chosen, out of all the people of the world, to set an example for others. They were not to be like the heathen, who knew not God. The very thing they cried out, was that they wanted to be like the nations around them.

2 Kings 17:16 "And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, [even] two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal."

The worship of the two golden calves was to be a substitute for going to the temple in Jerusalem. Jeroboam had brought the two calves and set them up at Dan and at Beth-el. Ahab and Jezebel had introduced them to Baal worship and the worship of Astarte. The very first commandment warns of having no other Gods. In the ten commandments they were told to make no images. These calves, they have made, are images. The worship of Baal, that was brought to Israel by Ahab and Jezebel, was done away with by Jehu. The golden calves still remained.

2 Kings 17:17 "And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger."

The sacrifice of children had to do with the worship of Molech. This was not openly done in Israel. Witchcraft and magic were part of the national pastimes. Jezebel had been heavily involved in this. It is certainly an abomination to God to depend on magic and all sorts of divination, instead of placing faith in almighty God.

2 Kings 17:18 "Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only."

The ten tribes are taken captive in the time of Hoshea, and dispersed among the nations. They never became a nation, again. They were absorbed by the surrounding countries that took them hostage. Judah and Benjamin, which make up the tribe of Judah, are the only remaining tribes of the original 12.

2 Kings 17:19 "{Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made."

Judah had some good kings along the way, so they were not taken captive, until many years later. Even in their captivity by the Babylonians, they did not lose their identity. They followed in the footsteps of Israel, even getting involved in the worship of Baal. The only difference is, that many of their kings followed the LORD to the best of their ability.

2 Kings 17:20 "And 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."

Israel had been rejected for their failure to keep God’s commandments, and for following after false gods. God had cast them away from Him, and dispersed them in the nations around.

2 Kings 17:21 "For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin."

Israel was no longer considered part of the house of David. Jeroboam was the king, who had made the golden calves for them to use in their worship services. He did not want them to go to Jerusalem to worship. He was afraid, if Israel went to Jerusalem regularly to worship in the temple, they would join back in with Judah and be 12 tribes again. He started the worship of the two calves, so they would remain separate from Judah. He led them into sin with the calf worship.

2 Kings 17:22 "For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them;"

Each king had an opportunity to do away with the calves, but they did not. Jehu destroyed the worship of Baal, but left the calf worship.

2 Kings 17:23 "Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day."

It was actually the wrath of God, that placed Israel into captivity to the Assyrians. He gave them every opportunity to repent, and they did not. A large number of them did return in the time of Ezra.

2 Kings 17:24 "And the king of Assyria brought [men] from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof."

In the Scripture above, Samaria is a country, and not a city. This is just saying, that all of the people of Israel had been taken captive, and the Assyrians sent some of their own people to populate their cities.

2 Kings 17:25 "And [so] it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, [that] they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew [some] of them."

It is interesting, that they would realize, that God had sent the lions to devour these people, who know not God.

2 Kings 17:26 "Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land."

The Assyrians believed that each country had its own god. They did not know the One True God, but believed a god controlled that country. The people complained to the king, to do something about this problem.

2 Kings 17:27 "Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land."

The king of Assyria sends a priest and those who attended him back, so he might advise the people the manner of God they were to worship. He would teach them the ways of the God of Israel. This was done to appease the God of Israel. Of course, the king of Assyria was not aware that He was the True God.

2 Kings 17:28 "Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the LORD."

We know the golden calf had been taken to Assyria, so perhaps, it stayed there and they went back to the worship of Jehovah, without the idol. We must remember, that this was not the true priesthood. This was the priesthood, who had been involved in the calf worship. I do not understand the exact manner of worship here. They believed they were worshipping Jehovah.

2 Kings 17:29 "Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put [them] in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt."

We could say, this was a land filled with false gods.

2 Kings 17:30 "And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,"

2 Kings 17:31 "And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim."

All of these false gods had been the national god, of the countries mentioned. This was some of the most evil forms of worship of false gods that sacrificed children.

2 Kings 17:32 "So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places."

This is an interesting statement. On the one hand, they feared the LORD. On the other hand, they kept their false gods. This is a mixed bag. They worshipped the LORD and the false gods. They elevated the LORD a little higher than the others.

2 Kings 17:33 "They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence."

This is the very reason the LORD had let them capture the ten tribes of Israel. These people are worshipping in the same way the Israelites did, before they were captured.

2 Kings 17:34 "Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;"

They did not keep the laws or the commandments of God. It seemed, this mixed religion of Jehovah and the false gods together by these captors of Israel, had gone on for over 150 years. They had not kept the law or the commandments of the God of Israel.

2 Kings 17:35 "With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:"

2 Kings 17:36 "But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice."

2 Kings 17:37 "And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods."

This is a reminder of who the real God is, and that He will not share His people. They should worship God and Him alone, if they want His blessings. The covenant was conditional. They would be blessed, if they kept his law and commandments. They would be cursed, if they did not keep them. He had proven to them beyond doubt, that He alone was God, when He delivered them out of Egypt. This was an everlasting covenant to all generations to come.

2 Kings 17:38 "And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods."

2 Kings 17:39 "But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies."

This covenant was to be in their minds and in their hearts all the time. They were never to forget. They were to fear God only. 1 Samuel 12:24 "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great [things] he hath done for you." The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

2 Kings 17:40 "Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner."

They claimed to believe in the LORD, but they worshipped other gods.

2 Kings 17:41 "So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day."

Jesus said it best in the following Scripture. Luke 4:8 "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." God will not share His people. Nergal was the worship of a cock. Ashima worshipped the form of a goat. Nibhaz was worship of a dog. Tartak worshipped the form of an ass. Animals were the forms the people used to worship their false gods. This type of worship is still going on today in much of the Satan worship. Just as they were instructed, we must do, too. Worship and serve nothing, or no one, except God.

2 Kings 17 Questions

1. How long did Hoshea reign in Israel?

2. Did he do good, or evil?

3. Whose servant did Hoshea become?

4. Who did Hoshea send to for help?

5. What happened, when the king of Assyria found out?

6. How long was the capital city surrounded?

7. What happened to the people of Israel?

8. Why did all of this happen to Israel?

9. What were some of the secret things the people of Israel did?

10. What does incense symbolize?

11. An idol is a ___________.

12. Who had God sent to warn the Israelites?

13. What was meant by them having hardened necks?

14. What terrible thing had they made to worship?

15. What were some of the terrible things they did mentioned in 2 Kings 17:17?

16. Who was left of God’s chosen, after Israel had been taken into captivity?

17. Which of the kings had brought in calf worship?

18. Who came and lived in the cities taken from the Israelites?

19. What did the LORD send to devour these evil people?

20. Who did the king of Assyria send to help?

21. What was the author’s comment under 2 Kings 17:29?

22. Quote 2 Kings 17:33.

23. How long had this mixed religion gone on?

24. What was the conditions of the agreement God made with Israel?

25. Did they keep the commandments?

Verse 1

2Ki 17:1

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Kings 17". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-kings-17.html.
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