|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-6 When the measure of sin is filled up, the Lord will forbear no longer. The inhabitants of Samaria must have endured great affliction. Some of the poor Israelites were left in the land. Those who were carried captives to a great distance, were mostly lost among the nations.
Verse 4. - And the King of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So, King of Egypt. We learn from the Prophet Hosea that the expediency of calling in Egypt as a counterpoise to Assyria had long been in the thoughts of those who directed the policy of the Israelite state (see Hosea 7:11; Hosea 12:1, etc.). Now at last the plunge was taken. An Ethiopian dynasty of some strength and vigor had possession of Egypt, and held its court during some part of the year at Memphis (Hosea 9:6). The king who occupied the throne was called Shabak or Shebek - a name which the Greeks represented by Sabakos or Sevechus, and the Hebrews by סוא. (The original vocalization of this word was probably סֵוֶא, Seveh; but in later times this vocalization was lost, and the Masorites pointed the word as סוא, Soh or So). The Assyrians knew the king as Sibakhi, and contended with him under Sargon. Hoshea now sent an embassy to this monarch's court, requesting his alliance and his support against the great Asiatic power by which the existence of all the petty states of Western Asia was threatened. Shalmaneser was at the time endeavoring to capture Tyro, and Hoshea might reasonably fear that, when Tyre was taken, his own turn would come. It is not clear how Shabak received Hoshea's overtures; but we may, perhaps, assume that it was with favor, since otherwise Hoshea would scarcely have ventured to withhold his tribute, as he seems to have done. It must have been in reliance on "the strength of Egypt" that he ventured to brave the anger of Assyria. And brought no present - or, sent no tribute - to the King of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the King of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. The ultimate result is mentioned at once, before the steps by which it was accomplished are related. Shalmaneser did not "summon Hoshea before his presence to listen to his explanations," and then, "as soon as he came, take him prisoner, put him in chains, and imprison him" (as Ewald thinks), but simply declared war, invaded Hoshea's country, besieged him in his capital, and ultimately, when he surrendered, consigned him to a prison, as Nebuchadnezzar afterwards did Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:15; 2 Kings 25:27). Otherwise Hoshea's reign would have come to an end in his sixth or seventh, and not in his ninth year.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea,.... That he was forming a scheme to rebel against him, and cast off his yoke; of this he had intelligence by spies he sent, and placed to observe him very probably:
for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt; to treat with him, and enter into alliance with him, to help him against, and free him from, the king of Assyria. This king of Egypt is supposed to be Sabacon the Ethiopian, who reigned in Egypt ninety years; of whom Herodotus (y) and Diodorus Siculus (z) make mention; by Theodoret he is called Adramelech the Ethiopian, who dwelt in Egypt:
and brought no presents to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; did not pay him his yearly tribute:
therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison; that is, after he took Samaria, the siege of which is next related; unless it can be thought that he met with him somewhere out of the capital, and seized him, and made him his prisoner, and after that besieged his city; which is not so likely.
(y) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 137. (z) Bibliothec l. 1. p. 59.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. found conspiracy in Hoshea—After having paid tribute for several years, Hoshea, determined on throwing off the Assyrian yoke, withheld the stipulated tribute. Shalmaneser, incensed at this rebellion, proclaimed war against Israel. This was in the sixth year of Hoshea's reign.
he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt—the Sabaco of the classic historians, a famous Ethiopian who, for fifty years, occupied the Egyptian throne, and through whose aid Hoshea hoped to resist the threatened attack of the Assyrian conqueror. But Shalmaneser, marching against [Hoshea], scoured the whole country of Israel, besieged the capital Samaria, and carried the principal inhabitants into captivity in his own land, having taken the king himself, and imprisoned him for life. This ancient policy of transplanting a conquered people into a foreign land, was founded on the idea that, among a mixed multitude, differing in language and religion, they would be kept in better subjection, and have less opportunity of combining together to recover their independence.
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