Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 17:23

until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Assyria;   Babylon;   Captivity;   Judgments;   Scofield Reference Index - Israel;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Fear;   Following;   Idolatry;   Rejection;   Unbelief;   Vanity;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Calves of Jeroboam;   Idolatry;   Samaria, Ancient;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Egypt;   Shalmaneser;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeroboam;   King;   Prophecy, prophet;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Israel;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Samaritans;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Idol;   Kings, the Books of;   Samaria;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezekiel;   Host of Heaven;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Samaria;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Shalmanezer;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Captivity;   Hezekiah;   Samaritans;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

As he had said by all his servants the prophets - The writer refers not only to the extant prophecies of Moses (Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 4:26-27; Deuteronomy 28:36, etc.), Ahijah the Shilohite (marginal reference), Hosea Hosea 9:3, Hosea 9:17, and Amos Amos 7:17, but also to the entire series of warnings and predictions which prophet after prophet in a long unbroken succession had addressed to the disobedient Israelites 2 Kings 17:13 on their apostasy, and so leaving them wholly “without excuse” (see the 2 Kings 17:13 note).

Unto this day - The words, taken in combination with the rest of the chapter, distinctly show that the Israelites had not returned to their land by the time of the composition of the Books of Kings. They show nothing as to their ultimate fate. But, on the whole, it would seem probable:

(1) that the ten tribes never formed a community in their exile, but were scattered from the first; and

(2) that their descendants either blended with the pagan and were absorbed, or returned to Palestine with Zerubbabel and Ezra, or became inseparable united with the dispersed Jews in Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries.

No discovery, therefore, of the ten tribes is to be expected, nor can works written to prove their identity with any existing race or body of persons be regarded as anything more than ingenious exercitations.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-17.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight,.... Suffered them to be carried captive into the land of Assyria:

as he had said by all his servants the prophets; by Hosea, Amos, Micah, and others; see their prophecies, and also 1 Kings 13:32,

so was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria, unto this day; the time of the writing this book; nor have they returned unto our days, nearly 2,800 years later.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-17.html. 1999.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

‘O ISRAEL, THOU HAST DESTROYED THYSELF!’

‘The Lord removed Israel out of His sight.’

2 Kings 17:23

Why did this disaster befall the Northern kingdom? How was it Israel came by its overthrow? It is possible to answer thus—because Assyria was a conquering nation, and Israel lay in the path of its conquering advance, and as the weaker power it naturally succumbed. But that is to read history superficially. The Bible states plainly and emphatically that the reasons for Israel’s overthrow were moral reasons. ‘It was so,’ the historian writes, i.e. ‘this overthrow came about,’ ‘because the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God.’ The secret of their ruin was their sin. ‘The wages of sin is death,’ says Holy Writ. ‘The broad road ends in destruction.’

I. This is true of nations.—National sin is followed by national ruin. Israel’s case can be paralleled by the case of Persia, and Greece, and Rome. It is a law no nation can evade—sin brings ruin as its penalty. We need to realise it in England, for we have our gross and shameful sins—our drunkenness, our gambling habits, our impurity, our greed. Unless we repent, these sins of ours will bring their penalty along with them, and the name of England shall perish.

II. This is true of individuals.—Sin brings its penalty. With this sad story before us, we must think of its parallel in the history of every soul that persists in unbelief and rejection of Christ. Sin makes chains for men, binds them hand and foot, and carries them into hopeless captivity. This lesson should come home to young people who are perhaps trifling with sin, or who are at least disregarding God’s calls and commands. The fatal end of such neglect and sinning should be looked at very honestly as it is illustrated in this carrying away of Israel.

Illustrations

(1) ‘God does not easily give people up. He tried in many ways to save Israel. He sent prophets to warn them and call them back. He sent judgments—famines, wars. He was loath to see them perish, He loved them so. At last He could do nothing more, and sent them out of His presence. It is always so. God is marvellously patient with his erring children. The Gospel is full of the story of the patience of Christ.’

(2) ‘What a warning there is in an incident like this! Men still mock and laugh at warnings against sin! That is the tragedy of so many lives—like those young men of whom J. B. Gough used to speak, who set sail on Niagara River, and who despised all voices from the shore that warned them of the furious rapids just below, and who only awoke to their peril when it was too late, and the doom of their folly stared them in the face.’

(3) ‘Read carefully the bill of divorce which their true Husband gave Israel when He put them away. It is a pathetic document, but surely none can say that Jehovah had not good cause for doing as He did. The wonder is that He bore so long with His apostate people. And we should read the three first chapters of Hosea to know how bitterly the Divine heart was rent when the hour of separation came. Nor should we forget to read the assurances, given so clearly and emphatically by the Apostle, that all the true Israel shall ultimately be saved.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-17.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 23. Until the Lord removed.] See on 2 Kings 17:18.

Unto this day.] Wrath is come upon them to the utmost, if not to the very end, as the Greek hath it. [1 Thessalonians 2:16]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Lord removed Israel out of his sight: they continued to the last obstinate and incorrigible under all the instructions and corrections which God sent to them; and therefore were most justly given up by God into this dreadful captivity; which all this foregoing discourse was designed to prove.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

23.To Assyria unto this day — Thus the Assyrian captivity lasted until our historian’s day, and how much longer is not said. The subsequent history of “the ten tribes” has been the subject of endless speculation and inquiry. In the time of Josephus there seems to have been a notion prevailing that the ten tribes abode together in a body of innumerable multitude beyond the Euphrates. Antiquities, 2 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 11:2. Also Esdras has a vision of the ten tribes separating themselves from the heathen, and migrating to a distant land never before inhabited by men. English Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 13:40-47. Perhaps this vision of Esdras was the starting-point of all the speculations about the “Lost Tribes,” for they have been “lost” and “found” in nearly every part of Asia, Europe, and North America. But vague traditional tales and ingenious speculations are of little weight to counterbalance the abundant testimony of Scripture on the subject, which may be stated as follows: —

1.) A considerable portion of the Israelitish population never went into the Assyrian exile. The first deportations were by Pul and Tiglath-pileser, (2 Kings 15:19; 2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26,) and in all probability were composed of fewer captives than Shalmaneser (or Sargon, see note on 2 Kings 17:6) carried away after the capture of Samaria and the fall of the northern kingdom. Sargon’s inscription, which would not be likely to make too low an estimate, mentions twenty-seven thousand two hundred and eighty captives, (see note on 2 Kings 17:6,) but the northern kingdom must surely have had a population far exceeding these numbers. Multitudes were, of course, slain in the siege of Samaria, and in previous wars; but supposing them to have been ten times the number of the captives, (two hundred and seventy-two thousand eight hundred — a liberal estimate,) what became of all the rest of Israel, which in David’s time numbered eight hundred thousand warriors, which, of course, implies a population of many millions. 2 Samuel 24:9. Doubtless the captives, like those from Jerusalem, (2 Kings 24:14-15; 2 Kings 25:12,) were composed chiefly of “the princes and mighty men of valour, and craftsmen, and smiths, and the king’s mother, and wives, and officers, and the mighty of the land” — the flower and strength of the nation, while “the poor of the land, vinedressers and husbandmen,” (numerically, perhaps, the majority of the population,) were left in the land, or else fled to other parts. Only “the cities of Samaria” (2 Kings 17:24) seem to have been depopulated, so that in other and remoter districts of the kingdom a large majority of the population seem to have been left to care for the land. Thus the kingdom of the ten tribes ceased to exist; but numerically the mass of the people were left in their ancient homes. Certain it is that they were not all carried into exile.

2.) The captives were not allowed to settle in one district. 2 Kings 17:6, compared with 1 Chronicles 5:26, may perhaps indicate that a majority of the exiles, both under Tiglath-pileser and Sargon, were placed in Halah and along the Habor, but others (and how large a proportion does not appear) were scattered abroad in various cities of Media. This fact of their being scattered throughout various parts of the vast Assyrian empire argues against the notion of their continuing their tribe distinctions, and especially of their perpetuating the ten tribes as an organized community.

3.) There is reason to believe that after the fall of Samaria the old enmity between Judah and Israel began to cease. In the reign of Hezekiah arrangements were made to proclaim “throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem;” and letters were sent “to Ephraim and Manasseh,” accompanied by an exhortation for them “to turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.” Many scorned the invitation, but “divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem,” so that there appeared at the passover “many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun.” And on that proud occasion “all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced,” for it was the first occasion of the kind “since the time of Solomon the son of David.” and it betokened a reunion of the divided kingdom. See 2 Chronicles 30. At the close of the passover it is also said that “all Israel that were present went out,” and utterly destroyed all the signs of idolatry “out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh.” 2 Chronicles 31:1. The like thing was done by Josiah, (2 Kings 23:19; 2 Chronicles 34:7; 2 Chronicles 35:18,) who also collected money for repairing the temple “of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin.” 2 Chronicles 34:9. Such a coming together in their now oppressed land would rapidly efface from Judah and Israel their ancient bitterness and jealousy. The better portion of all the people would see and obey the manifest will of Jehovah, and the rest, having no bond of union, would gradually, like all foolish factions, die and fade away.

4.) The prophets with one voice represent both Judah and Israel as returning together from their exile. More than a century after the fall of Samaria, Judah also was led into exile, and Jeremiah, who flourished at that time, began at once to comfort them with prophecies of a restoration. He says, “The house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.” Jeremiah 3:18; comp. Jeremiah 30:3, Jeremiah 33:7. “The children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.” Jeremiah 50:4. So we may believe that the chastisement of the exile not only cleansed all Israel from idolatry, but also utterly crushed out the old tribal feuds and jealousies. Ezekiel also prophesies: “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” Ezekiel 37:21-22; compare also 2 Kings 17:16-20. Other similar prophecies may be found in these same prophets, and also in Isaiah 11:11-13; Isaiah 14:1; Hosea 1:11; Micah 2:12. Some of these prophecies are doubtless Messianic; but all have more or less to show that in their exile Judah and Israel became united in all their higher sympathies and hopes, and were thus prepared, whenever opportunity offered, to return together to the land of their fathers.

5.) Finally, all we know of the subsequent history of Israel tends to confirm these prophecies, and to show that in the lands of their exile, and elsewhere, Judah and Israel became largely intermingled. Three successive deportations of Jews seem to have been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar, (2 Kings 24:11-16; 2 Kings 25:11; Jeremiah 52:30,) and yet it is probable that all these captives were not, numerically, a majority of the population of Judah. The vast multitude of the poorer classes were left in the land, (2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 25:12,) and some fled to other countries. We have no record of all the localities in which these captives were placed, but as the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar comprised a large portion of the ancient Assyrian, it is very likely that many of the Jewish exiles were settled in cities and districts already occupied by descendants of those Israelites from the cities of Samaria who had been carried off by the Assyrian kings more than a century before. Ezekiel, a prophet of the Jewish exiles, is made “a watchman unto the house of Israel.” 2 Kings 3:17. When Cyrus issued his proclamation for the Jews to return and rebuild the temple, he had dominion over all the lands into which either Jews or Israelites had been exiled, but he seems to know of no such distinction as “Judah and Israel.” He proclaims, “Who is there among you of all his people,” (Ezra 1:3:) and subsequently Artaxerxes decrees “that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem,” may return from exile; and Keil well asks, “Who could maintain, with any show of reason, that no one belonging to the ten tribes availed himself of this permission?” In Ezra 2:64-65, the whole number of those who first returned from the captivity is said to have been forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, “besides their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven;” but the previous list of families, which seems to be “of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites,” (2 Kings 1:5,) amounts to only twenty-nine thousand eight hundred and eighteen. Hence it has been plausibly inferred that the gross number, forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, includes many representatives of the ten tribes. Then in the offerings that were made by the returned exiles at the feast of dedication, “twelve he goats” were offered “for a sin offering for all Israel, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.” Ezra 6:17. Compare, also, 2 Kings 8:35. “There is no doubt,” says Keil, “that the majority of those who returned with Zerubbabel and Ezra belonged to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi; which may be explained very simply from the fact, that as they had been a much shorter time in exile, they had retained a much stronger longing for the home given by the Lord to their fathers than the tribes that were carried away one hundred and eighty years before.” Hence, too, it is, that since the captivity, the common name for all Israelites, wherever scattered abroad, is Jews. We must also remember that, with the fall of Samaria, Jehovah “caused to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel,” (Hosea 1:4;) it had no longer an existence, but was largely absorbed by Judah; and therefore it is not to be wondered at that no express mention is made of descendants of the ten tribes returning along with Judah from exile.

But there were vast multitudes of Judah and Israel that never accepted the offer to return to the fatherland. They chose to remain in their new homes; and subsequently, under Ahasuerus, the Jews are spoken of as “scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces” of the Persian empire. Esther 3:8. On the day of Pentecost there were at Jerusalem devout Jews “out of every nation under heaven,” who had been born among, and spoke as their vernacular the languages of, the “Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome.” Acts 2:5-10. Josephus also speaks of the great numbers of Jews who in his time dwelt in Babylon, Mesopotamia, and beyond the Euphrates. Antiquities, 2 Kings 15:2; 2 Kings 15:2, 2 Kings 3:1; 2 Kings 18:9; 2 Kings 18:1. Paul speaks of “our twelve tribes,” (Acts 26:7,) and James addresses his epistle “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad;” (James 1:1;) from all which we infer that after the Babylonish exile the old division of “Judah and Israel” became lost, all the scattered tribes became intermixed, no one region held any one tribe or any definite number of tribes, the name of Jews was applied to them all, the ten tribes as a distinct nation had long ceased to exist, and the whole body of Israelites throughout the world became amalgamated into one people, recognising themselves as the descendants and representatives of the twelve ancient tribes.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Day. If Esdras was the author of this book, as it is very probable, this observation would tend to show how much more favourably the Jews were treated than the kingdom of Israel, which was still, for the most part, in captivity. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

as = according as.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-17.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) By all his servants the prophets.—Comp. Hosea 1:6; Hosea 9:16; Amos 3:11-12; Amos 5:27; Isaiah 28:1-4.

So was Israel carried away.—That the land was not entirely depopulated appears from such passages as 2 Chronicles 30:1; 2 Chronicles 34:9. But henceforth “the distinctive character of the nation was lost; such Hebrews as remained in their old land became mixed with their heathen neighbours. When Josiah destroyed the ancient high places of the northern kingdom he slew their priests, whereas the priests of Judæan sanctuaries were provided for at Jerusalem. It is plain from this that he regarded the worship of the northern sanctuaries as purely heathenish (comp. 2 Kings 23:20 with 2 Kings 17:5), and it was only in much later times that the mixed population of Samaria became possessed of the Pentateuch, and set up a worship on Mount Gerizim, in imitation of the ritual of the second Temple. We have no reason to think that the captive Ephraimites were more able to retain their distinctive character than their brethren who remained in Palestine. The problem of the lost tribes, which has so much attraction for some speculators, is a purely fanciful one. The people whom Hosea and Amos describe were not fitted to maintain themselves apart from the heathen among whom they dwelt. Scattered among strange nations, they accepted the service of strange gods (Deuteronomy 28:64), and, losing their distinctive religion, lost also their distinctive existence.” (Robertson Smith.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
the Lord
18,20
as he had said
13; 1 Kings 13:2; 14:16; Hosea 1:4-9; Amos 5:27; Micah 1:6
So was Israel
6; 18:11,12
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 28:43 - GeneralDeuteronomy 29:28 - rooted them;  Joshua 23:13 - until ye perish;  1 Kings 8:46 - unto the land;  1 Kings 14:15 - shall scatter;  2 Kings 15:29 - carried them;  2 Kings 18:32 - 1come;  2 Kings 18:34 - have they delivered;  2 Chronicles 6:36 - thou be angry;  Isaiah 26:15 - thou hadst;  Jeremiah 3:12 - toward the north;  Jeremiah 7:15 - I will;  Jeremiah 26:5 - my;  Jeremiah 52:27 - Thus;  Ezekiel 23:9 - GeneralHosea 1:6 - for;  Hosea 9:12 - woe;  Micah 2:4 - he hath changed

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-17.html.