2 Kings 17:5
Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
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(5) Then (and) the king of Assyria came up . . . and besieged it three years.—Sargon states that he took Samaria (Samerίna) in his first year. Shalmaneser therefore had besieged the city some two years before his death.

The brief narrative before us does not discriminate between the respective shares of the two Assyrian sovereigns in the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel, but it is noticeable that it does not say that Shalmaneser “besieged Samaria three years,” and “took Samaria.” (Comp. 2Kings 18:11.)

2 Kings 17:5-6. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land — And made himself master of it, treating the Israelites as traitors rather than as fair enemies, and punishing them with the sword of justice. And went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years — During which time it held out, but doubtless endured a great deal of misery, though this be not particularly recorded. At length the royal city was taken, and the king made a prisoner, shut up, and bound. This was in the ninth year of the reign of Hoshea, at which time Israel was carried away captive into Assyria — There, we have reason to think, after some time, they were so mingled with the nations, that they were lost, and the name of Israel was no more in remembrance. They that forgot God were themselves forgotten, and they that studied to be like the nations were buried among them; and they that would not serve God in their own land, were made to serve their enemies in a strange land. Thus ended Israel as a nation, and the prophecy of Hoshea was fulfilled: they became Lo-ammi, not a people, and Lo- ruhamah, unpitied. Now Canaan spewed them out. When we read of their entry into Canaan under Hoshea the son of Nun, who would have thought that such would be their exit under Hoshea the son of Elah? Thus Rome’s glory in Augustus sunk many ages after in Augustulus; yet we find St. James writing to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, (James 1:1,) and Paul speaks of the twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, Acts 26:7 : so that, though we never read of the return of those that were carried captive, nor have any ground to believe that they still remain a distinct body in some remote corner of the world, yet a remnant of them did escape, and will remain, till all Israel be saved.

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.All the land - The second invasion of Shalmaneser (723 B.C., his fifth year), is here contrasted with the first, as extending to the whole country, whereas the first had afflicted only a part.

Three years - From the fourth to the sixth of Hezekiah, and from the seventh to the ninth of Heshea; two years, therefore, according to our reckoning, but three, according to that of the Hebrews. This was a long time for so small a place to resist the Assyrians but Samaria was favorably situated on a steep hill; probably Sabaco made some attempts to relieve his vassal; the war with Tyre must have distracted Shalmaneser; and there is reason to believe that before the capture was effected a revolt had broken out at Nineveh which must have claimed Shalmaneser's chief attention, though it did not induce him to abandon his enterprise.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land,.... Of Israel, there being none to oppose his march; Hoshea not daring to come out, and meet him and fight him:

and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years; so long the city held out against him, see 2 Kings 18:9.

Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
5. throughout all the land] It seems to have been the usual plan of invaders to overrun the places more easily conquerable before they assailed the chief stronghold.

besieged it three years] Samaria from its position on a hill and from the pains bestowed on its building must have been a city of considerable strength for those days. It seems from the records that the city was not taken by the Assyrians during the reign of Shalmaneser, but in the beginning of the reign of Sargon his successor. See Smith, Assyrian Canon, p. 201. In view of this statement the language of the Bible is very remarkable. At the beginning of this chapter the movements are ascribed to Shalmaneser, but in verse 6 it is only said ‘the king of Assyria took Samaria’. And when the subject is mentioned again 2 Kings 18:9-10, though stating that ‘Shalmaneser came up against Samaria and besieged it’, he continues ‘and at the end of three years they took it’, thus, though apparently quite undesignedly, giving support to the chronology which is established by the monuments. See note there.

Verse 5. - Then the King of Assyria - rather, and the King of Assyria - came up throughout all the land - i.e., with an army that spread itself at once over the whole land, that came to conquer, not merely to strike a blow, and obtain submission, as on the former occasion (see ver. 3, and the comment) - and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. From some time in Hoshea's seventh year (2 Kings 18:9) to some time in his ninth (2 Kings 18:10). According to the Hebrew mode of reckoning, parts of years are counted as years; and thus the siege need not have lasted much over a year, though it may have been extended to nearly three years. In either case, there was ample time for Shabak to have brought up his forces, had he been so minded; and his failure to do so, or in any way to succor his ally, showed how little reliance was to be placed on Egyptian promises (comp. 2 Kings 18:21). 2 Kings 17:5The king of Assyria found a conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So the king of Egypt, and did not pay the tribute to the king of Assyria, as year by year. The Egyptian king סוא, So, possibly to be pronounced סוה, Seveh, is no doubt one of the two Shebeks of the twenty-fifth dynasty, belonging to the Ethiopian tribe; but whether he was the second king of this dynasty, Sbtk (Brugsch, hist. d'Egypte, i. p. 244), the Sevechus of Manetho, who is said to have ascended the throne, according to Wilkinson, in the year 728, as Vitringa (Isa. ii. p. 318), Gesenius, Ewald, and others suppose, or the first king of this Ethiopian dynasty, Sabako the father of Sevechus, which is the opinion of Usher and Marsham, whom M. v. Niebuhr (Gesch. pp. 458ff. and 463) and M. Duncker (i. p. 693) have followed in recent times, cannot possibly be decided in the present state of Egyptological research.

(Note: It is true that M. Duncker says, "Synchronism gives Sabakon, who reigned from 726 to 714;" but he observes in the note at pp. 713ff. that the Egyptian chronology has only been firmly established as far back as the commencement of the reign of Psammetichus at the beginning of the year 664 b.c., that the length of the preceding dodekarchy is differently given by Diodorus Sic. and Manetho, and that the date at which Tarakos (Tirhaka), who succeeded Sevechus, ascended the throne is so very differently defined, that it is impossible for the present to come to any certain conclusion on the matter. Compare with this what M. v. Niebuhr (pp. 458ff.) adduces in proof of the difficulty of determining the commencement and length of the reign of Tirhaka, and the manner in which he proposes to solve the difficulties that arise from this in relation to the synchronism between the Egyptian and the Biblical chronology.)

- As soon as Salmanasar received intelligence of the conduct of Hoshea, which is called קשׁר, conspiracy, as being rebellion against his acknowledged superior, he had him arrested and put into prison in chains, and then overran the whole land, advanced against Samaria and besieged that city for three years, and captured it in the ninth year of Hoshea. These words are not to be understood as signifying that Hoshea had been taken prisoner before the siege of Samaria and thrown into prison, because in that case it is impossible to see how Salmanasar could have obtained possession of his person.

(Note: The supposition of the older commentators, that Hoshea fought a battle with Salmanasar before the siege of Samaria, and was taken prisoner in that battle, is not only very improbable, because this would hardly be passed over in our account, but has very little probability in itself. For "it is more probable that Hoshea betook himself to Samaria when threatened by the hostile army, and relied upon the help of the Egyptians, than that he went to meet Salmanasar and fought with him in the open field" (Maurer). There is still less probability in Ewald's view (Gesch. iii. p. 611), that "Salmanasar marched with unexpected rapidity against Hoshea, summoned him before him that he might hear his defence, and then, when he came, took him prisoner, and threw him into prison in chains, probably into a prison on the border of the land;" to which he adds this explanatory remark: "there is no other way in which we can understand the brief words in 2 Kings 17:4 as compared with 2 Kings 18:9-11... For if Hoshea had defended himself to the utmost, Salmanasar would not have had him arrested and incarcerated afterwards, but would have put him to death at once, as was the case with the king of Damascus." But Hoshea would certainly not have been so infatuated, after breaking away from Assyria and forming an alliance with So of Egypt, as to go at a simple summons from Salmanasar and present himself before him, since he could certainly have expected nothing but death or imprisonment as the result.)

We must rather assume, as many commentators have done, from R. Levi ben Gersom down to Maurer and Thenius, that it was not till the conquest of his capital Samaria that Hoshea fell into the hands of the Assyrians and was cast into a prison; so that the explanation to be given to the introduction of this circumstance before the siege and conquest of Samaria must be, that the historian first of all related the eventual result of Hoshea's rebellion against Salmanasar so far as Hoshea himself was concerned, and then proceeded to describe in greater detail the course of the affair in relation to his kingdom and capital. This does not necessitate our giving to the word ויּעצרהוּ the meaning "he assigned him a limit" (Thenius); but we may adhere to the meaning which has been philologically established, namely, arrest or incarcerate (Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 36:5, etc.). ויּעל may be given thus: "he overran, that is to say, the entire land." The three years of the siege of Samaria were not full years, for, according to 2 Kings 18:9-10, it began in the seventh year of Hoshea, and the city was taken in the ninth year, although it is also given there as three years.

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