Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years.7. Assyria Conquers Israel and the Captivity
1. Hoshea, Israel’s last king (2Kings 17:1-2)
2. Shalmaneser imprisons Hoshea (2Kings 17:3-4)
3. Israel carried into captivity (2Kings 17:5-6)
4. Retrospect and Israel’s sins (2Kings 17:7-23)
5. The colonization of Samaria (2Kings 17:24-41)
Israel’s last king was Hoshea. His name means “deliverance.” It indicates what might have been had he and the people repented of their sins. The record of his character is brief. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel before him.” This does not mean that he improved. The golden calves had been taken away by the Assyrian from Bethel and Dan, so that he could no longer sin like Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and the other kings of Israel. Hosea had predicted this (Hosea 10:5-8).
Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, then came against him, and Hoshea became his servant. The Biblical account is meager, but the Assyrian inscriptions have a great deal to say about this period. Shalmaneser’s name is given in these inscriptions as “Salmanu-ussir” and Hoshea’s as “A-usi.” From these inscriptions we learn that after the siege of Samaria had lasted two years Shalmaneser was succeeded by Sargon, who took Samaria in the first year of his reign. While Sargon is not mentioned in the record here it is significant that the capture of Samaria is not attributed to Shalmaneser. Both passages, 2Kings 17:6; 2Kings 18:10-11, speak only of the king of Assyria. These inscriptions declare that Sargon captured Samaria, led away 27,290 of its inhabitants and appointed a governor over Samaria. There is also a record of the deportation of Israel and the colonization of the land. What would these interesting ancient inscriptions mean if it were not for the Bible? Again we say they are proven true because the Word of God confirms them.
Hoshea had, after he had become the vassal of the king of Assyria, made a conspiracy against the king by sending messengers to So, king of Egypt, and then he refused to pay the tribute. (The proper reading of “So” is given as “Seve” or “Sava.” By the Greeks he is called “Saba Kon” on the monuments “Shabaka,” in cuneiform inscriptions “Shabi-i.”) He was imprisoned and we hear nothing whatever of his fate. (Hosea 10:7 tells of his death.) Samaria completely in the hands of the king of Assyria, the people were carried away captives into Assyria. The places are given, but beyond this little is known. Nor do we know anything about their subsequent history. They did not return from the captivity. Various attempts have been made to locate them. The American Indians, the Afghans, Armenians, Nestorians and others have been mentioned as the descendants of the ten tribes, but no substantial evidence can be given to verify this supposition. The so-called “Anglo-Israel theory” is so full of unreasonable speculations and inventions that it does not deserve any consideration. God knows where they are located, and in His own time He will surely gather them and together with the remnant of the house of Judah bring them back to their land. At that time the many unfulfilled promises made to Israel and to Judah will all be literally fulfilled.
There is next given a solemn retrospect of the history of the house of Israel. Judah is also mentioned. The record shows the awful apostasy and the great patience of Jehovah in delaying the threatened judgment.
The account of the colonization of Samaria by the King of Assyria is interesting. It gives the history of the Samaritans, which emanated from this mixture of races and religions and which were responsible for much trouble after the return of the Jewish remnant from the exile. The priest who was returned from Assyria to teach religious rites to the colonists settled in Bethel, where Jeroboam had instituted the idolatrous worship, which had dragged Israel down, produced a new religion, partly Israelitish and partly heathenish, like the mixed multitude which dwelt in the land.
Thus ended the Kingdom of Israel. Out of the nineteen kings which reigned seven were murdered, one died from wounds received on the battlefield, one died from a fall out of the window, one was struck down by the judgment of God and one committed suicide.