Israel falls & the exiles are led to Assyria

2 Kings 15:32-38   Jotham, King of Judah, takes over as sole ruler when his father Azariah (Uzziah) dies in 737BC. He rebuilds the Upper Gateway of the Temple. He fights King Pekah of Israel and King Rezin of Syria. He is succeeded by his son Ahaz in 731BC.

2 Kings 16:1-6   Ahaz, King of Judah (from 731 to 716BC), turns away from the LORD. He worships pagan gods, and even offers his own son as a sacrifice to the god Molech. King Rezin of Aram (Syria) drives the men of Judah out of Elath. King Pekah of Israel and King Rezin of Syria besiege Jerusalem, but Ahaz manages to hang on to power.

2 Kings 16:7-9   In desperation, King Ahaz sends messengers to King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria in 731BC, asking for his help and offering to be subservient to him. Tiglath-Pileser responds by capturing Damascus and killing King Rezin of Syria (see 3 on Map 59). The long-term threat from Aram (Syria) is replaced by a new and bigger threat from Assyria.


Assyrian attack on a town with archers and a wheeled battering ram ; Assyrian Relief, North-West Palace of Nimrud (British Museum)

Assyrians attack a town with archers and a wheeled battering ram  (British Museum) 


2 Kings 16:10-20   King Ahaz meets King Tiglath-Pileser in Damascus. In deference to the gods of the Assyrian overlords, Ahaz builds a large new pagan altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. He removes the huge ceremonial bronze basin or ‘laver’ (called the ‘Brazen Sea’) and the ten smaller portable bronze handbasins installed by King Solomon (see 1 Kings 7:13-45).

2 Kings 17:1-2   During the chaos of Tiglath-Pileser’s onslaught (as depicted on a series of bas-relief panels in the British Museum in London), Pekah, one of the rival kings of Israel, is deposed by Hoshea in 732BC. At the end of the following year, Menahem, the other rival king, dies, leaving Hoshea as the sole King of Israel. For six years (731-725BC), Hoshea pays tribute as a vassal king to Shalmaneser V, the new King of Assyria.

2 Kings 17:3-6   Hoshea then conspires against Assyria by forging a treaty with Egypt. Shalmaneser seizes Hoshea and early in 724BC lays siege to Samaria for nearly three years. Eventually, Samaria and the whole northern kingdom of Israel fall in 722BC, the year of Shalmaneser’s death.


Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel fall in 722BC.


Shomron National Park, Remains of ancient Samaria (Bukvoed)

Remains of ancient Samaria   (Bukvoed)


2 Kings 17:6-23   The Israelites are led into exile in Assyria by the new king, Sargon II, in 720BC. They are taken to Halah, Gozan (on the River Habor) and to the towns of Media, between Susa and Ecbatana (see 4 on Map 59).

The Israelites' downfall occurs after they have turned away from the LORD, have worshipped worthless idols, and have even sacrificed their own sons and daughters to pagan gods.

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