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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 17

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


2 Kings 13:1 to 2 Kings 17:6 . The remainder of the history of Israel to the fall of Samaria, with the contemporary annals of Judah, is of the nature of chronicle rather than history. There are few interesting narratives like those in the earlier parts of the book. The exceptions are: ( a) the death of Elisha ( 2 Kings 13:14 ff.); ( b) the war between Israel and Judah ( 2 Kings 14:8-16); ( c) the repairs of the Temple at Jerusalem by Ahaz ( 2 Kings 16:10-16). The main sources are: ( a) the records of the kings of Israel and Judah; ( b) the biography of Elisha; ( c) Deuteronomic notes of reigns, etc.; ( d) later additions.

Verses 1-6

2 Kings 17:1-6 . Reign of Hoshea and Destruction of Samaria.— Hoshea has been previously mentioned ( 2 Kings 15:30). According to the inscription of Tiglath-pileser, Hoshea was put on the throne by the Assyrians. Shalmaneser V (pp. 59, 70) reigned from 727 to 722 B.C., and the fall of Samaria was in 722. So, king of Egypt ( 2 Kings 17:4), has been identified with Sabako, the founder of the 25th Dynasty. Our narrative presents considerable historical difficulties. Shalmaneser is said ( 2 Kings 17:3) to have attacked Hoshea because he refused tribute, and to have shut him up in prison. Then ( 2 Kings 17:5) the king came and besieged Samaria for three years, and in the ninth year of Hoshea he took it. But the short reign of Shalmaneser leaves little time for three years’ siege and an earlier expedition. The king of Assyria who took Samaria was Sargon (722– 706 B.C.).

Verses 7-23

2 Kings 17:7-23 . A Recapitulation of the Reasons for Israel’ s Captivity.— The language recalls Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. The sins for which Israel is condemned are: ( a) the building of high places, pillars, and Asherim ( 2 Kings 17:9 f .; 1 Kings 12*, pp. 98– 100); ( b) idolatry ( 2 Kings 17:12; 2 Kings 17:16); ( c) making their children pass through the fire and using divination and enchantments (Isaiah 26); ( d) walking in the sins of Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 12). A statement of Judah’ s sin is added in 2 Kings 17:19.

2 Kings 17:9 . from the tower . . . city: every type of city from the most insignificant upwards.— A. S. P.]

Verses 24-41

2 Kings 17:24-41 . The Origin of the Samaritans.— This is a somewhat mixed account. 2 Kings 17:24-28 describes the settlement of the land with captives from other parts of the Assyrian empire, and the sending of a priest to teach them “ the manner of the God of the country.” Next, 2 Kings 17:29-33 relates that the new settlers not only “ feared” ( i.e. worshipped) Yahweh, but also served their own gods. Finally ( 2 Kings 17:34-41) there is a general statement regarding the sin of Israel. This has no connexion with what precedes, nor does it in any way describe the Samaritan religion. It is perhaps nothing more than a new description of the sins for which Israel and Judah were carried away captive.

2 Kings 17:24 . the king of Assyria: see above. In Ezra 4:2 the king who settled Northern Israel is called Esarhaddon (pp. 59f.), the son of Sennacherib (681– 668 B.C.). In Ezra 4:10 it is said to have been “ the great and noble Osnappar,” probably Asshurbani-pal (p. 60), Esar-had-don’ s successor. The mention of Babylon as a city conquered by the Assyrians is a mark of accuracy. In later days it was, of course, the great oppressor of Judah (see on 2 Kings 20:17).

2 Kings 17:25 . The rabbis called the Samaritans “ proselytes of lions.” The lion has long disappeared from Palestine, but was evidently common enough in OT times. A depopulated district soon became dangerous owing to the rapid multiplication of wild beasts, and it was necessary to go armed (see Exodus 23:28-30, Isaiah 7:24). The sending of the lions was thought to indicate the displeasure of Yahweh, the God of the country, at the rites in His honour not being duly performed.

2 Kings 17:32 . The high-place worship continued after the Exile, but we find no trace of it later in Samaria.

2 Kings 17:41 . At the time of the Return the Samaritans expressly claimed that they had the same religion as the Jews ( Ezra 4:2). The first expression outside the OT of the Jews’ bitter hatred for the Samaritans is in Sir_50:26 . Josephus and the rabbis call them Cutheans (see 2 Kings 17:24). The antagonism between Jews and Samaritans in the NT is notorious ( John 4:9).

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/2-kings-17.html. 1919.
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