Grace and Wrath Podcast
Ep. 149: Israel in Exile
The king of Assyria attacked the kingdom of Israel and took control of it. From that day on, they were to pay heavy taxes to Assyria. There came a time when the king of Egypt said he would help Israel get free of their bondage to Assyria. So the people stopped paying the taxes.
The armies of Assyria invaded Israel, captured their king, and put him in prison. They then encircled Samaria and kept anyone from going in or out. This lasted for three years, until finally Samaria surrendered.
The Assyrians were cruel to the people of Israel as a warning to other nations not to rebel against their authority. Finally the people were taken off the land and sent into exile.
Israel had been a separate kingdom from Judah for many years. Their first king set up two golden calves for worship. None of their kings destroyed the calves or followed the Lord. Some of the greatest prophets who ever lived were sent to Israel. Still, the people never turned to God.
So, after many warnings, God finally allowed Assyria to conquer them. They were taken off the land and made to live in other cities.
The Assyrians brought other people to live in the land of Israel. They settled in the cities and called their new nation Samaria, instead of Israel.
The new people knew nothing about the Lord, so they started worshiping the idols they brought with them. God sent lions among them, and many people were killed.
An advisor to the king of Assyria said, “The Samaritans don’t know the God of the land. He sent lions to kill them because they don’t know how to worship him correctly.”
So the king said, “Select a few priests from the people of Israel and send them back to Samaria. Have them teach the people how to worship the God of the land.”
A few priests were selected and they went back to Samaria. They taught the Samaritans how to properly worship the Lord. The people started worshiping God, but they also kept the idols of their old country. They mixed the two together. This continued for many years to come.