Lesson 10 | Sabbath, 10 March 2018
“In the terrible judgments brought upon the ten tribes the Lord had a wise and merciful purpose. That which He could no longer do through them in the land of their fathers He would seek to accomplish by scattering them among the heathen. His plan for the salvation of all who should choose to avail themselves of pardon through the Saviour of the human race must yet be fulfilled; and in the afflictions brought upon Israel, He was preparing the way for His glory to be revealed to the nations of earth. Not all who were carried captive were impenitent. Among them were some who had remained true to God, and others who had humbled themselves before Him. Through these, ‘the sons of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10), He would bring multitudes in the Assyrian realm to a knowledge of the attributes of His character and the beneficence of His law.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 292.
Prophecies against apostate Israel
1. As a result of the continual apostasy in the northern kingdom (the ten tribes with their capital in Samaria), what did the prophets warn?
Amos 7:17, last part ….Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
Hosea 9:1, 3 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor…. 3They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
“The words spoken against the apostate tribes were literally fulfilled; yet the destruction of the kingdom came gradually. In judgment the Lord remembered mercy….” –Prophets and Kings, p. 287.
2. Who come against the country when Menahem reigned over Israel? How was the impending bloodshed and destruction avoided?
2 Kings 15:19, 20 And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. 20And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.
“… At first, when ‘Pul the king of Assyria came against the land,’ Menahem, then king of Israel, was not taken captive, but was permitted to remain on the throne as a vassal of the Assyrian realm… The Assyrians, having humbled the ten tribes, returned for a season to their own land.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 287.
More Assyrian assaults
3. Because of Israel’s persistent unfaithfulness, what Assyrian invasion did God stir up?
1 Chronicles 5:25, 26 And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. 26And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.
2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
“Menahem, far from repenting of the evil that had wrought ruin in his kingdom, continued in ‘the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.’ Pekahiah and Pekah, his successors, also ‘did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.’ Verses 18, 24, 28. ‘In the days of Pekah,’ who reigned twenty years, Tig-lath-pileser, king of Assyria, invaded Israel and carried away with him a multitude of captives from among the tribes living in Galilee and east of the Jordan. ‘The Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,’ with others of the inhabitants of ‘Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali’ (1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Kings 15:29), were scattered among the heathen in lands far removed from Palestine.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 287.
4. What else happened under the reign of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, as a result of the terrible apostasy?
2 Kings 17:2-4 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. 3Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. 4And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.
“From this terrible blow the northern kingdom never recovered. The feeble remnant continued the forms of government, though no longer possessed of power. Only one more ruler, Hoshea, was to follow Pekah. Soon the kingdom was to be swept away forever.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 287, 288.
The final blow
5. With the apostasy in Israel continuing without any evidence of repentance and reformation, what happened to the northern kingdom in B.C. 722?
2 Kings 17:5, 6 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
“About two years later, Samaria was invested by the hosts of Assyria under Shalmaneser; and in the siege that followed, multitudes perished miserably of hunger and disease as well as by the sword. The city and nation fell, and the broken remnant of the ten tribes were carried away captive and scattered in the provinces of the Assyrian realm.
“The destruction that befell the northern kingdom was a direct judgment from Heaven. The Assyrians were merely the instruments that God used to carry out His purpose. Through Isaiah, who began to prophesy shortly before the fall of Samaria, the Lord referred to the Assyrian hosts as ‘the rod of Mine anger.’ ‘The staff in their hand,’ He said, ‘is Mine indignation.’ Isaiah 10:5.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 291.
6. What causes are listed in the Scriptures for the tragic experiences of the ten tribes?
2 Kings 17:7-9, 18 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 8And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 9And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city…. 18Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
“Grievously had the children of Israel ‘sinned against the Lord their God,… and wrought wicked things.’ ‘They would not hear, but … rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them.’ It was because they had ‘left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal,’ and refused steadfastly to repent, that the Lord ‘afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight,’ in harmony with the plain warnings He had sent them ‘by all His servants the prophets.’
“ ‘So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria,’ ‘because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded.’ 2 Kings 17:7, 11, 14-16, 20, 23; 18:12.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 291, 292.
The best prevention
7. What would have characterized the history of Israel if with living faith they had listened to the messages of the prophets and followed the divine principles that the Lord gave them?
Deuteronomy 32:29; 5:29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!… 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
“Had Israel heeded the messages of the prophets, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they had persisted in turning aside from His law that God was compelled to let them go into captivity. ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,’ was His message to them through Hosea. ‘Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee:… seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God.’ Hosea 4:6….
“In the last days of this earth’s history, God’s covenant with His commandment-keeping people is to be renewed. ‘In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 299.
For additional study
“The Israelites had been specially charged not to lose sight of the commandments of God, in obedience to which they would find strength and blessing. ‘Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently,’ had been the word of the Lord to them through Moses, ‘lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.’ Deuteronomy 4:9. The awe-inspiring scenes connected with the giving of the law at Sinai were never to be forgotten. Plain and decided were the warnings that had been given Israel against the idolatrous customs prevailing among the neighboring nations. ‘Take ye … good heed unto yourselves,’ was the counsel given; ‘lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure,’ ‘and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.’ ‘Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.’ Deuteronomy 4:15, 16, 19, 23….
“The apostasy of Israel had developed gradually. From generation to generation, Satan had made repeated attempts to cause the chosen nation to forget ‘the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments’ that they had promised to keep forever. Deuteronomy 6:1. He knew that if he could only lead Israel to forget God, and to ‘walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them,’ they would ‘surely perish.’ Deuteronomy 8:19.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 294-296.