Last week we explored the big picture of the decline and fall of Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). Remember that the north fell to Assyra first, in 722 B.C., and that the south managed to hold on for more than a century until Jerusalem was finally ransacked in 587 B.C.
The rest of the book of Kings is going to focus on the south’s story, but let’s change course and chart what happened to the north under Assyrian rule.
The Assyrian king, Sargon II, records that he took more than 27,000 Israelites captive into Assyria and repopulated the land of Samaria with some of his other conquered peoples. In Chronicles we’re going to see that many Israelites remained in the land, and in Ezra and Nehemiah we’ll see that they sometimes married the foreigners that Sargon had sent to resettle it. Intermarriage, and the cultural assimilation that resulted from it, was the root of most of the trouble between Jews and the people who came to be called Samaritans. Their differences only became more pronounced through the centuries, as Samaritans developed their own language and established their own temple at Mount Gerizim, where they offered sacrifices and retained a high priest. This temple was an offense to Jews in the south, who believed that Jerusalem was the only divinely sanctioned location for a temple.
Fewer than 1,000 Samaritans exist in modern-day Israel, but they maintain their own traditions and are the only Jews in the world who still perform animal sacrifice.
#Twible 2 Kgs 12: Joash grows up to be a good king, but G’s temple has seen better days. Time for “Extreme Makeover: House of the Lord.”
#Twible 2 Kgs 13: Elisha dies, but he’s STILL doing miracles: a dead guy who just touches E’s bones comes back to life. Overachiever.
#Twible 2 Kgs 14: Hey, Jude. Now that you & Israel face annihilation from Assyria, this is the perfect time to kill EACH OTHER! Have at it.
#Twible 2 Kgs 15: (We interrupt the #Twible story 2 announce a sighting of Jerusha, a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-her queen. That’s my girl.)
#Twible 2 Kgs 16: Judah sinks ever lower as king defiles G’s temple & brown-noses Assyria. Chickens are gonna come home to roost, baby.
#Twible 2 Kgs 17: Crap. It’s 722 BC; idolatrous Israel’s conquered by Assyria. Your time is coming, Judah, so wipe that smirk off your face.
#Twible 2 Kgs 18: 701 BC. Judah holds out vs. Assyrians; finally gets a righteous king. Cause w/a name like Hezekiah, he HAS to be good.