End of the kingdom of Israel

According to Joseph Flavius, the kingdom of Israel existed for two hundred and forty years, seven months and seven days (Antiquities of the Jews. 14. 1). In the person of his kings, history presents a sad picture: not one of them distinguished by morality and religiosity. Most of them were prone to idolatry.

The last ruler of the ten-generation state was Hosea. He became king by slaying Pekah, who before that, being a military leader, had killed the reigning king Pekah. The holy writer says the same about Hosea as he did about his wicked predecessors: he did what was wrong in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 17: 2).

The biblical story reveals to us the truth that for apostasy from God, the Lord gives people of Israel into the hands of foreigners. These also happened to the last king of Israel. The Assyrian king Shalmaneser came out against him. Hosea became his tributary. However, in 724, he allied with Egypt and refused to pay tribute. In the battle with the Assyrians, the Israeli army defeat. Hosea takes prisoner. After this victory, the Assyrian king laid siege to Samaria. The inhabitants of the city resisted for three years. Shalmaneser was unable to take the doomed city. He died or was killed in 722.

The siege was completed by King Sargon. He reported that he had resettled twenty-seven thousand two hundred and eighty Jews to Assyria in a triumphal inscription and plundered the city. What happened is the fulfillment of the prophetic warnings. Through the prophet Hosea (of the same name to the king of Israel), the Lord announced: And the sword will fall on his cities, destroy his shutters, and devour them for their designs. My people have become stale in falling away from Me, and although they call them to the things above, they do not rise with one accord (Hos 11: 6-7).

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