2 Kings 17
2 Kings 17:1-6
Today we meet, and say good bye to, Hoshea, the last king of Israel. He says he is willing to pay tribute to Assyria, but tries to get Egypt to help get Assyria off his back. Treachery is how the king of Assyria sees this — and in 724 it’s all over for the 10 northern tribal territories of David’s kingdom. The Kingdom of Judah will last another 137 years.
Of Hoshea it is said the “he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him.” So, what was different?
2 Kings 17:7-23 Why oh why?
Here the book diverts from its norm with an explanation. The deal with Egypt was a deal with the gods of Egypt — the same gods that had enslaved God’s people for 400 years. For this reason, God had called Moses to spend 40 years leading the people — by mighty signs and wonders — out of slavery and through the desert for 40 years. Now all for what? — to have those gods introduced into the promised land so the people will be slaves where they were meant to be free? Better to allow the people to experience the physical captivity of the Assyrians and the continued influence of their gods than to have the gods of Egypt involved!
2 Kings 17:24-41 The Samaritans of Jesus’ day
This section explains how strange practices from far far away were introduced into the religious customs of Israel. Especially early on, some Israelites tried to hold on to true worship — read the book of Tobit for an example. Yet, over the seven centuries before our Lord met the Samaritan woman at the well, the Israelites in Samaria became very confused on all matters of religion — the worshipped what they did not understand!
It is worth noting that the section of Israel near the city of Samaria is where the most influential Israelites lived, so this is the relatively small area most affected. Nazareth is further north, and so small that it didn’t matter! Galilee — the area around the Sea of Galilee, didn’t matter so much — so the poor people there were more likely to be left alone. The “Samaratins” lived only around the city of Samaria.
The faithful Israelites in the smaller areas did not have much influence, but they formed the faithful remnant. On this topic, the “Left Behind” series of books and movies has Biblical history completely backwards. Those left behind in the Bible are the best and holiest!
Fr Jim Dubrouillet
on Monday, June 29 at 7:02AM