Ancient Near East
Images & Art
Maps & Geography
Mythology & Beliefs
People in History
Timelines & Charts
3. Of Tiglath-pileser III, 745-727 BC:
Tiglath-pileser was one of the greatest monarchs of antiquity. He was the first to attempt to consolidate an empire in the manner to which the world has become accustomed since Roman times. He was not content to receive tribute from the kings and rulers of the states which he conquered. The countries which he conquered became subject provinces of his empire, governed by Assyrian satraps and contributing to the imperial treasury. Not long after he had seated himself on the throne, Tiglath-pileser, like his predecessors, turned his attention to the West. After the siege of Arpad, northward of Aleppo, the Assyrian forces made their way into Syria, and putting into operation the Assyrian method of deportation and repopulation, the conqueror annexed Hamath which had sought the alliance and assistance of Azariah, that is Uzziah, king of Judah. Whether he then refrained from molesting Judah, or whether her prestige was broken by this campaign of the Assyrian king, it is not easy to say. In another campaign he certainly subjected Menahem of Israel with other kings to tribute. What is stated in a word or two in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser is recorded at length in the Bible history (2 Kings 15:19):
"There came against the land Pul the king of Assyria; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man 50 shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria tamed back, and stayed not there in the land." In the reign of Pekah, under his proper name of Tiglath-pileser, he is recorded to have raided the northern parts of Israel, and carried the inhabitants away into the land of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). We next hear of Ahaz, king of Judah, appealing to the Assyrians for help against "these two tails of smoking firebrands," Rezin of Syria and Pekah, the son of Remaliah (Isaiah 7:4). To secure this help he took the silver and gold of the house of the Lord, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:8). Meanwhile Tiglath-pileser was setting out on a new campaign to the West. He carried fire and sword through Syria and the neighboring lands as far as Gaza, and on his return he captured Samaria, without, however, razing it to the ground. Pekah having been slain by his own people, the Assyrian monarch left Hoshea, the leader of the conspiracy, on the throne of Israel as the vassal of Assyria.
4. Of Shalmaneser IV, 727-722 BC--Seige of Samaria:
In 727 BC Tiglath-pileser III died and was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV. His reign was short and no annals of it have come to light. In 2 Kings 17 and 18, however, we read that Hoshea, relying upon help from the king of Egypt, thought the death of Tiglath-pileser a good opportunity for striking a blow for independence. It was a vain endeavor, for the end of the kingdom of Israel was at hand. The people were grievously given over to oppression and wickedness, which the prophets Amos and Hosea vigorously denounced. Hosea, in particular, was "the prophet of Israel's decline and fall." Prophesying at this very time he says:
"As for Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us" (Hosea 10:7,8; compare Hosea 10:14,15). No less stern are the predictions by Isaiah and Micah of the doom that is to overtake Samaria: "Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine" (Isaiah 28:1). "For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? .... Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as places for planting vineyards" (Micah 1:5,6). No help came from Egypt. With the unaided and enfeebled resources of his kingdom Hoshea had to face the chastising forces of his sovereign. He was made prisoner outside Samaria and was most likely carried away to Nineveh. Meanwhile the land was over-run and the capital doomed to destruction, as the prophets had declared.
5. Samaria Captured by Sargon, 722 BC:
Not without a stubborn resistance on the part of her defenders did "the fortress cease from Ephraim" (Isaiah 17:3). It was only after a three years' siege that the Assyrians captured the city (2 Kings 17:5). If we had only the record of the Hebrew historian we should suppose that Shalmaneser was the monarch to whom fell the rewards and honors of the capture. Before the surrender of the city Shalmaneser had abdicated or died, and Sargon, only once mentioned in Scripture (Isaiah 20:1), but one of the greatest of Assyrian monarchs, had ascended the throne. From his numerous inscriptions, recovered from the ruins of Khorsabad, we learn that he, and not Shalmaneser, was the king who completed the conquest of the revolted kingdom and deported the inhabitants to Assyria. "In the beginning (of my reign)," says Sargon in his Annals, "the city Samaria (I took) with the help of Shamash, who secures victory to me (.... 27,290 people inhabiters of it) I took away captive; 50 chariots the property of my royalty, which were in it I appropriated. (.... the city) I restored, and more than before I caused it to be inhabited; people of the lands conquered by my hand in it (I caused to dwell. My governor over them I appointed, and tribute) and imposts just as upon the Assyrians I laid upon them." The Assyrian Annals and the Scripture history support and supplement each other at this point. The sacred historian describes the deportation as follows:
"The king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes .... because they obeyed not the voice of Yahweh their God, but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses, the servant of Yahweh, commanded, and would not hear it, nor do it" (2 Kings 17:6,7; 18:11,12).
6. Depopulation and Repopulation of Samaria:
The repopulation of the conquered territory is also described by the sacred historian:
"And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof" (2 Kings 17:24). The fact that Sargon introduced foreign settlers taken in war into Samaria is attested by inscriptions. That there were various episodes of deportation and repopulation in connection with the captivity of the Northern Kingdom appears to be certain. We have seen already that Tiglath-pileser III deported the population of the northern tribes to Assyria and placed over the depopulated country governors of his own. And at a time considerably later, we learn that Sargon's grandson Esarhaddon, and his great-grandson Ashur-bani-pal, "the great and noble Osnappar," imported to the region of Samaria settlers of nations conquered by them in the East (Ezra 4:2,10). Of the original settlers, whom a priest, carried away by the king of Assyria but brought back to Bethel, taught "the law of the god of the land," it is said that "they feared Yahweh, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away" (2 Kings 17:33). The hybrid stock descended from those settlers is known to us in later history and in the Gospels as the Samaritans.
7. The Ten Tribes in Captivity:
We must not suppose that a clean sweep was made Of the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom. No doubt, as in the Babylonian captivity, "the poorest of the land were left to be vinedressers and husbandmen" (2 Kings 25:12). The numbers actually deported were but a moiety of the whole population. But the kingdom of the Ten Tribes was now at an end. Israel had become an Assyrian province, with a governor established in Samaria. As regards the Golah--the captives of Israel in the cities of the Medes--it must not be supposed that they became wholly absorbed in the population among whom they were settled. We can well believe that they preserved their Israelite traditions and usages with sufficient clearness and tenacity, and that they became part of the Jewish dispersion so widespread throughout the East. It is quite possible that at length they blended with the exiles of Judah carried off by Nebuchadrezzar, and that then Judah and Ephraim became one nation as never before. The name Jew, therefore, naturally came to include members of what had earlier been the Northern Confederacy of Israel as well as those of the Southern Kingdom to which it properly belonged, so that in the post-exilic period, Jehudi, or Jew, means an adherent of Judaism without regard to local nationality.
These files are public domain
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'CAPTIVITY'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.
Table of Contents
The Eighth Century BC
Tiglath Pileser III
King Menahem of Israel
Pekah Slays Pekahiah
The Syrian League
King Ahaz of Judah
Assyria Attacks Damascus
Assyria Attacks Israel
Israel is Deported
The 10 Lost Tribes of Israel
Plague of Lions
Kingdom of Judah
"Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. . And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight." (The Book of 2 Kings)
When Your Enemies Are The Size Of Assyria - A Heart Message
Isa 10:5-7 "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations."
The Northern Kingdom consisted of 10 of the tribes (excluding Judah and Benjamin). It lasted for about 210 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 722 BC. Its capital was Samaria. Every king of Israel was evil. In the northern kingdom there were 9 dynasties (family lines of kings) and 19 kings in all. An average of 11 years to a reign. 8 of these kings met death by violence.
The epitaph written over every one of its kings was:
I King 15:34 "and he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel to sin."
It was king Ahab who introduced Baal worship to them.
I King 16:30-33 "Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him."
The last king was Hoshea (2 Ki 17). The petty wars of the past, wars with Syria and Edom, Ammon and Philistia, were now to give way to war on an ominous new scale. A world empire was being gathered into the ruthless hands of the Assyrians. The ruthless and cruel Assyrians (under Sargon II) besieged Samaria for 3 years and finally it fell, Israel was doomed. The Assyrians hauled them away into captivity (722 BC).
But the Lord always reminded them of why judgment came:
II Ki 17:7-23 "For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
Also the children of Israel secretly did against the LORD their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom the LORD had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger, for they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, "You shall not do this thing."
Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets." Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them.
So they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone. . And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight. For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them commit a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day."
Charts and Information