2 Kings 17:18
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
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(18) Removed them out of his sight.—By banishing them from his land (2Kings 17:23)—an expression founded upon the old local conceptions of deity.

The tribe—i.e., the kingdom. (Comp. 1Kings 11:36.)

2 Kings 17:18. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel — For he is a jealous God, and highly resents the giving that honour to any created or imaginary being, which is due to himself only. And removed them out of his sight — A very strong expression, to signify, not only his casting them out of Canaan, then the only place of his solemn worship, and gracious presence, or out of his church, but his utter rejection and total removal of this apostate people from his care and providence. There was none left but Judah only — And the greatest part of the tribe of Benjamin, with those of the tribes of Simeon and Levi, who adhered to them, and were incorporated with them, and therefore are fitly denominated from them.17:7-23 Though the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes was but briefly related, it is in these verses largely commented upon, and the reasons of it given. It was destruction from the Almighty: the Assyrian was but the rod of his anger, Isa 10:5. Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows. And vast as the outward wickedness of the world is, the secret sins, evil thoughts, desires, and purposes of mankind are much greater. There are outward sins which are marked by infamy; but ingratitude, neglect, and enmity to God, and the idolatry and impiety which proceed therefrom, are far more malignant. Without turning from every evil way, and keeping God's statutes, there can be no true godliness; but this must spring from belief of his testimony, as to wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and his mercy in Christ Jesus.Compare 2 Kings 16:3 note, and see Leviticus 20:2-5 note. 2Ki 17:7-41. Samaria Taken, and Israel for Their Sins Carried Captive.

7. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned—There is here given a very full and impressive vindication of the divine procedure in punishing His highly privileged, but rebellious and apostate, people. No wonder that amid so gross a perversion of the worship of the true God, and the national propensity to do reverence to idols, the divine patience was exhausted; and that the God whom they had forsaken permitted them to go into captivity, that they might learn the difference between His service and that of their despotic conquerors.

Out of his sight, i.e. out of Canaan, the only place of God’s solemn worship and gracious presence; or, out of his church.

The tribe of Judah only; and the greatest part of the tribe of Benjamin, and those of the tribes of Simeon and Levi, who adhered to them, and were incorporated with them; and therefore very fitly denominated from them: See Poole "1 Kings 11:13". Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel,.... Nothing being more provoking to him than idolatry:

and removed them out of his sight; not out of the reach of his all seeing eye, but from all tokens of his favour, from the good land he had given them, and all the benefits and privileges of it:

there was none left but the tribe of Judah only; and part of Benjamin, which was annexed to it, and incorporated in it, and made one kingdom, and maintained the same worship; and there was the lot of Simeon, which was within the tribe of Judah; and the priests and the Levites, and various individuals of the several tribes, that came and settled among them for the sake of worship; but no perfect, distinct, tribe besides.

Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah {k} only.

(k) No whole tribe was left but Judah, and they of Benjamin and Levi who remained were counted with Judah.

18. removed them out of his sight] The language is accommodated to human ideas. God’s eye was regarded as specially directed to the land of Canaan, where He had chosen to place His Name. So to be taken away from that land is a removal from His special oversight. By the ‘tribe of Judah’ is meant the kingdom. Cf. 1 Kings 11:36.Verse 18. - Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel; rather, that then the Lord was very angry, etc. We have here the apodosis of the long sentence beginning with ver. 7 and continuing to the end of ver. 17. When all that is enumerated in these verses had taken place, then the Lord was moved to anger against Israel, then matters had reached a crisis, the cup of their iniquity was full, and God's wrath, long restrained, descended on them. And removed them out of his sight. Removal out of God's sight is loss of his favor and of his care. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous" (Psalm 34:15) - he "knoweth their way," "watcheth ever them" (Jeremiah 31:28), "careth for them" (Psalm 146:8); but "the countenance of the Lord is against them [averted from them] who do evil" (Psalm 34:16). He will not look upon them nor hear them. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only. The "tribe of Judah" stands for the kingdom of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin (see 1 Kings 11:31-36; 1 Kings 12:23; '2 Chronicles 17:14-18), into which the greater part of Dan and Simeon had also been absorbed. This became now, exclusively, God's "peculiar people," the object of his love and of his care. The writer, it must be remembered, belongs to the period of the Captivity, and is not speaking of the restored Israel. They served the clods, i.e., worshipped clods or masses of stone as gods (גּלּלים, see at 1 Kings 15:12), notwithstanding the command of God in Exodus 20:3., 2 Kings 23:13; Leviticus 26:1, etc.
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