International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Israel


Successors of Jeroboam II-After the death of Jeroboam, the strength of the Northern Kingdom collapsed. His son Zechariah was able to maintain the throne for only 6 months, and his murderer Shallum only one month. The general Menahem, who put him out of the way, maintained himself as king for 10 years, but only by paying a heavy tribute to the Assyrian ruler Pul, i.e. Tiglath-pileser III, who ruled from 745-727 (compare 2 Kings 15:19 f).

Pekah. - His son Pekahiah, on the other hand, soon fell by the hands of the murderer Pekah (2 Kings 15:25), who allied himself with Syria against Judah. The latter, however, invited the Assyrians to come into the country; and these, entering in the year 734 BC, put an end to the reign of this usurper, although he was actually put to death as late as 730 BC.

Hoshea. - The last king of the Northern Kingdom, Hoshea (730 BC - 722 BC), had the Assyrians to thank for his throne; but he did not keep his fidelity as a vassal very long. As soon as Tiglath-pileser was dead, he tried to throw off the Assyrian yoke. But his successor Shalmaneser IV (727 BC - 723 BC), who already in the first year of his reign had again subdued the rebellious king Elulaios of Syria, soon compelled Hoshea also to submit to his authority. Two years later Hoshea again joined a conspiracy with the Phoenicians against Assyria, in which they even counted on the help of the Egyptian king, who in the Bible is called So or Seve (Egyptian name is Shabaka). Now the Assyrians lost all patience. They at once came with their armies. Hoshea seems to have voluntarily submitted to the power of the Great King, who then made him a captive. The people, however, continued the struggle. Samaria, the capital city, was besieged, but did not fall until the 3 rd year (722 BC) into the hands of the enemy.

Shalmaneser, in the meanwhile, had died and Sargon II had become his successor. The city was indeed not destroyed, but a large portion of the inhabitants, especially the leaders, were deported and transplanted to Northern Mesopotamia and to Media. Sargon states that the number of deported Israelites was 27,290. Prominent persons from other cities were also doubtless to be included in those deported. On the other hand, the Assyrian king settled Babylonian and Syrian prisoners of war in Samaria (721 BC), and in the year 715 BC, Arabs also. But the country, to a great extent, continued in a state of desolation, so that Esar-haddon (680 BC - 668 BC) and Ashurbanipal (667 BC - 626 BC) sent new colonists there, the last-mentioned sending them from Babylonia, Persia and Media (compare 2 Kings 17:24 ff). In these verses the Babylonian city of Cuthah is several times mentioned, on account of which city the Jews afterward called the Samaritans Cuthites. This report also makes mention of the religious syncretism, which of necessity resulted from the mixture of the people. But we must be careful not to place at too small figures the number of Israelites who remained in the country. It is a great exaggeration when it is claimed, as it is by Friedrich Delitzsch, that the great bulk of the inhabitants of the country of Samaria, or even of Galilee, was from this time on Babylonian.