(19) Whatever Happened to Israel (and why)?
The king of Israel is caught between warring nations. Assyria controls most of the surrounding lands, and even Judah is only nominally independent. Meanwhile in the South, Egypt, conquered by Ethiopia, has split into separate states governed by different leaders, of whom So (v4 - either Osorkon or the king of Sais/Sois who later reunites the country - is probably one of the most powerful). When Hoshea tries to wheedle out of paying tribute to Assyria turns to Egypt for aid, things go badly. Read 2 Kings 17:1-4. Israel is left defenseless and without a king. Her traditional enemy Judah might gloat or rejoice but what should they do?
1. Read Isaiah 28:1-6 Why do we think this was written at that time? How should Jerusalem respond?
2. Read Isaiah 28:7-8 What is actually happening in Jerusalem? Is this really a sermon against wine? How might prophets have induced visions? And how does this apply to the present day?
3. Read Isaiah 28:9-10 Does this remind you of anything in the New Testament? (Read 1 Corinthians 3:2)
4. Read Isaiah 28:14-15 What covenant is Isaiah referring to?
5. Read Isaiah 28:16-17 We’re back to the theme of social justice? What will happen if we don’t offer justice?
6. Read Isaiah 28:23-29 Jesus wasn’t the first to use parables. How would you interpret this parable for today?
The Assyrians believed their god was the greatest god, their army the greatest army, their technology the most advanced, etc. (What countries might this apply to today?) So, when little Israel’s leader betrayed Assyria, the obvious response was punishment. Israelites were forcibly resettled. Foreign refugees were resettled in Israel. All appropriate gods were placated. And the Assyrian’s continued to believe they were the greatest. (Other historical documents confirm this is exactly how the Assyrians dealt with unruly subject nations.)
1. Read 2 Kings 17:4-6. In human terms, what did Israel do wrong?
2. Can you summarize 2 Kings 17: 7-12. In spiritual terms, what did Israel do wrong?
3. Read 2 Kings 17:13. Having read the words of some of those prophets, what was the most important rule they disobeyed? Why might that not be the rule that’s emphasized here? (Read James 2:10)
4. Read 2 Kings 17:19 Was Judah ok? Are we?
5. Read 2 Kings 17:23 When do you think this was being written? Does that affect your answer to question 3?
1. Read 2 Kings 17:24-26. In human terms, what is going on in Israel?
2. Read 2 Kings 17:27-28,33. In spiritual terms, what is going on?
3. Read 2 Kings 17:34-37 Were these statutes written for pagans? Did being pagan exclude newcomers from the covenant? And which statutes do you think mattered, or should have mattered most?
4. Read 2 Kings 17:41. To what extent might this describe our nations too?
1. Read 2 Kings 17:1-3, 18:1 Who is king of Judah when Israel goes into exile? Which king does Isaiah speak to?
2. Read Isaiah 29:1-2 What might true and false prophets have said to Judah at this time? (And why might Jerusalem be Ari-El?)
3. Read Isaiah 29:3-4 What image does this convey? (And why would mediums speak out of the dust?)
4. Read Isaiah 29:5-7 How does this fit with what Isaiah has just promised?
5. Read Isaiah 29:8 ,11-13 What does prophecy, true or false, look like? And where do rules fit in?
6. Read Isaiah 29:17 What did Lebanon mean to Isaiah’s listeners? Why were forests important?
7. Read Isaiah 29:22-24 Who are we in this prophesy?
Israel’s fall began around 740BC (1 Chronicles 5:26, 2 Kings 15:29). A king still reigns in Samaria though, and the capital city doesn’t fall until 20 years later, when Shalmaneser V’s 3-year siege ends (2 Kings 17:5-6).
Israelite refugees will be invited to stay in Judea by King Hezekiah. At this point, it’s believed that the separate documents of the two nations began to be recombined. Hence “multiple authors” for Genesis, etc. And hence the separate accounts of Kings and Chronicles, with Chronicles taking the more religious role, as a document designed to unite the separate priesthoods in a common cause.