Sunday, January 17, 2010


Hoshea (2 Ki. 15:20-17:6).

He was the last ruler of the northern kingdom.

After becoming a vassal to the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser, Hoshea joined with Egypt in rebelling against Assyria.

For this he was imprisoned and the people were exiled to Assyria (2 Ki. 17:4-6). Hoshea thus became the last of the northern kings.

Eight died natural deaths, seven were murdered, one died a suicide, one in battle, one under judgment of God, one in a fall. Not a single ruler turned to God.

From this captivity, the ten tribes have never been restored to Palestine. In fact, they would soon lose their very tribal identity (but not their ancestry).

The future restoration of all twelve tribes of Israel will be consummated at the Second Coming of Christ. (See Mt. 24:27-31.)

The righteous God had to cut off Israel for their sin. (See 2 Ki. 17:7-18.)

The King of Assyria then transplanted colonies of people from various foreign countries into the depopulated land of northern Israel (2 Ki. 17:24).

Soon after their arrival, a plague of man-eating lions, sent by God, terrified the land. In desperation, the colonists sent a message to the Assyrian ruler, asking for the ministry of a Jehovah prophet, that the plague be stopped (17:25, 26).

This lion plague had been predicted by Moses centuries back. (See Ex. 23:29; Lev. 26:21, 22.)

A prophet arrived and began his ministry from Bethel. The lion plague disappeared and a form of Jehovah-worship appeared, but only in form, as the people continued with their idol-worship as well (2 Ki. 17:27-34).

This is the beginning of the Samaritan race and religion which was prevalent in the time of Jesus. (See Jn. 4.)

Hoshea ruled for nine years (732-723 b.c.).

Hoshe'a (salvation).
1. The nineteenth, last and best king of Israel. He succeeded Pekah, whom he slew in a successful conspiracy, thereby fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah. Isai 7:16 In the third year of his reign (b.c. 726) Shalmaneser cruelly stormed the strong caves of Beth-arbel, Hose 8:14 and made cruel tributary, 2 Kin 17:3 for three years. At the end of this period Hoshea entered into a secret alliance with So, king, of Egypt, to throw off the Assyrian yoke. The alliance did him no good; it was revealed, to the court of Nineveh by the Assyrian party in Ephraim, and Hoshea was immediately seized as a rebellious vasal, shut up in prison, and apparently treated with the utmost indignity. Mica 5:1 Of the subsequent fortunes of Hoshea nothing is known.
2. The son of Nun, i.e. Joshua, Deut 32:44 and also in Numb 13:8 though to there the Authorized Version has OSHEA.
3. Shon of Azaziah, 1 Chr 27:20 like his great namesake, a man of Ephraim, ruler of his tribe in the time of King David. (b.c. 1019.)
4. One of the heads of the people who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah. Nehe 10:23 (b.c. 410.)
—Smith's Bible Dictionary


(1.) The original name of the son of Nun, afterwards called Joshua (Num 13:8, 16; Deut 32:44).
(2.) 1Ch 27:20. The ruler of Ephraim in David's time.
(3.) The last king of Israel. He conspired against and slew his predecessor, Pekah (Isa 7:16), but did not ascend the throne till after an interregnum of warfare of eight years (2Ki 17:1, 2). Soon after this he submitted to Shalmaneser, the Assyrian king, who a second time invaded the land to punish Hoshea, because of his withholding tribute which he had promised to pay. A second revolt brought back the Assyrian king Sargon, who besieged Samaria, and carried the ten tribes away beyond the Euphrates, B.C. 720 (2Ki 17:5, 6; 2Ki 18:9-12). No more is heard of Hoshea. He disappeared like "foam upon the water" (Hos 10:7; Hos 13:11).
—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary


The name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the original capital of the country, was originally a colony from Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians were Semites (Gen 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military people, the "Romans of the East."

Lion-Hunt by Assur-Bani-Pal B.C. 668
From a photograph of a marble slab in the British Museum
Assur-bani-pal on horseback spearing a lion, and a lion attacking his horse. From sculptures discovered in the ruins of the palace of Assur-bani-pal at Nineveh.

Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel, Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre and Sidon.
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740) Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a yearly tribute.

Lion-Hunt by Assur-Bani-Pal B.C. 668
From a photograph of a marble slab in the British Museum
Part of the sculptures from King Assur-bani-pal's palace at Nineveh. Assur-bani-pal in his chariot, with attendant killing a lion.

In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2Ki 15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by means of a present of gold and silver (2Ki 16:8); who accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He also invaded Syria (2Ki 17:5), but was deposed in favour of Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into captivity, B.C. 722 (2Ki 17:1-6, 24; 2Ki 18:7, 9). He also overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa 10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C. 705), the son and successor of Sargon (2Ki 18:13; 2Ki 19:37; Isa 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor, who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian kings made the seat of his government (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38).
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians, under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince Merodach-baladan (2Ki 20:12), who, after twelve years, was subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 10:5-19), Nahum (Nah 3:19), and Zephaniah (Zep 3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2Ki 18:19; Isa 36:4). Ezekiel (Ezek 31) attests (about B.C. 586) how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation. (See NINEVEH; BABYLON.)
Map of Assyria
—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

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