To recap…


From Ahab to Jeroboam II 75 years pass.  From Jehu to Jeroboam II 33 years pass.  God had had it with the evil reign of Ahab and Jezebel, who had incorporated Baal worship with child sacrifice into Israel’s pagan worship practices.  But instead of having the nation conquered and deported during Ahab’s time, he gave them two very powerful prophets, Elijah and Elisha to start a gradual process of restoring the people of Israel on a grass roots level.  The Bible devotes a lot of space recording his efforts through these two prophets to restore Israel to the true worship of God.  From 1st Kings 17 through 2nd Kings 2:11 Elijah was the prophet in Israel.   Then in 853BC God takes Elijah away in a flaming chariot, Elisha’s period of training under Elijah finished.  Then the account of Elisha in northern Israel takes over from there through 2nd Kings 9 where Elisha has Jehu anointed as king of the House of Israel, with orders to kill all the descendants of Ahab, along with Jezebel, and as many Baal worshippers as he can find.  Jehoram, (also called Joram, but the same person), grandson of Ahab is now ruling over Israel, and Jehu kills him along with Ahaziah, king of Judah, along with Ahab’s seventy sons.  (2nd Kings 10:18-28)  In 2nd Kings 10:18-28 Jehu uses a unique way to find and kill many Baal worshippers in Israel, thus eradicating them from the land.  But he still maintained the pagan religious practices of Jeroboam.  It’s just amazing, with Elijah, Elisha and all that they did, and then commissioning and anointing Jehu as king to do all this, that he didn’t turn from the pagan practices of the House of Israel’s first king, Jeroboam.  God says something to Jehu in verses 29-31 about this, commending him for doing a good job of eradicating Baalism from Israel, but he wasn’t too pleased he didn’t turn from Jeroboam’s sins, so he promises Jehu would have four descendants on the throne of Israel, and then his line would be overturned.  Jehu reigned 28 years.  Now we go to his grandson Jeroboam II.


Jeroboam II descendant of Jehu reigns 41 years in Israel


2nd Kings 14:15-16, “Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash [also called Joash, grandson of Jehu] which he did---his might, and how he fought Amaziah king of Judah---are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  So Jehoash rested with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.  Then Jeroboam [II] his son reigned in his place.”  The second to last of Jehu’s line was Jeroboam II, who ruled for 41 years.  It is thought that the prophet Jonah was working some kind of revival in Israel at this time of Jeroboam II’s reign (2nd Kings 14:25).  Elisha had just died during the last part of Joash’s reign, the father of Jeroboam II, so whatever work Jonah was doing was a continuation of the revival started by God through Elijah and Elisha.  2nd Kings 14:23-29, “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash [Jehoash], king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.  He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he had spoken through his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher.  For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel.  And the LORD did not say that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.  [So God was saving and/or restoring Israel physically through Jeroboam II, militarily, as he was working with Israel spiritually through the prophet Jonah.]  Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did---his might, how he made war, and how he recaptured for Israel, from Damascus and Hamath…to Judah---are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?  So Jeroboam rested with his fathers, the kings of Israel.  Then Zechariah his son reigned in his place.”  We find in 2nd Kings 14:23-29 under the 41 year reign of Jeroboam II that Israel was undergoing a resurgence of power and spiritual revival in spite of Jeroboam II, and probably under Jonah’s guidance.  Just as all of this is happening, God told Jonah to go warn the king of Assyria of their impending doom if they didn’t repent.  [Adad-nirarii II or Shalmaneser IV]  Now Assyria is Israel’s mortal enemy---they had tried to defeat Israel three times during the period of Ahab---so this assignment from God didn’t sit well with Jonah, who was working in Israel to restore true worship of God.  We see Jonah’s reaction in Jonah 1:2-16.  Jonah 1:2-16, “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’  But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.  He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish form the presence of the LORD.”  Now I’m going to interrupt the flow here to point out that this is a clear indication of the high level of merchant marine-naval activity between Israel and Phoenicia.   Joppa was one the Israelite shipping ports for their merchant marine, which was allied to the Phoenician merchant marine-navy.  Assyria was East-North-East of Israel via an overland route.  Jonah went west to the Israelite shipping port of Joppa on the southwestern shore of Israel, on the Mediterranean.  Now as we know, Tarshish is on the Atlantic Ocean side of Spain near Gades (modern day Cadiz some distance north of Gibraltar), and we see it was no big deal for someone to go to Joppa and book passage to a seaport and shipping colony-city on the Atlantic Ocean side of Spain.  Most people overlook this powerful clue as to where some of Israel could have fled before the Assyrian invasion in 721 BC.  It mentions Tarshish three times in one verse.  “But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.  Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.  But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.  So the captain came to him, and said to him, ‘What do you mean, sleeper?  Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.’  And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.’  So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.  Then they said to him, ‘Please tell us!  For whose cause is this trouble upon us?’  What is your occupation?  And where do you come from?  What is your country?  And of what people are you?’  So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and dry land.’   Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, ‘Why have you done this?’  For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.  Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?---for the sea was growing more tempestuous.  And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you.  For I know that this great tempest is because of me.’  Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.”  Now this must have been one of those large galley type cargo ships that was equipped with a mast and squaresail or two.  Phoenicia was known to have ones from 60 to 100 feet in length, massive cargo ships, called Hippos.  “Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.’  So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.  Then the men feared the LORD and took vows.”  Jonah was willing to sacrifice his own life so Assyria would fall and Israel would be preserved.  He wasn’t afraid of dying to save Israel from its mortal enemy, Assyria, Jonah 4:2, “So he prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country?  Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”  This is why Jesus used Jonah as a type of himself.  So we see God through Elijah and Elisha has worked hard at Israel’s restoration internally, with her people, regardless of whether or not Israel’s kings went along with it.  As we shall see, God had a purpose here.  Israel’s kings would be deposed, and the House of Israel, with its capital in Samaria would cease to exist as a sovereign nation.  But the people of the ten tribes would not cease to exist, and a good part of their number would never go into Assyrian captivity due to, in part, the work of these prophets of God.  So never think your work as believers in our nations is lost or not worth it.  God was working out a purpose for Israel, as he is for all the nations and peoples on the earth.


Three Kings of Judah


Azariah (also called Uzziah), king of Judah, 767-750BC

(reigns 52 years [but only really reigned 16 years, after which his son Jotham took over in a co-regency due to his leprosy],


Jotham, son of Azariah (reigns 16 years), 750-735BC


Ahaz, son of Jotham (reigns 16 years), 735-715BC



Azariah or Uzziah, king of Judah


Azariah, or Uzziah, king of Judah and son of Amaziah, reigned for 16 years, and has an interesting story.  2nd Kings 15:1-3, “In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah [also called Uzziah in 2nd Chronicles 26] the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, became king.  He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.  And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done…”  From there 2nd Kings kind of brushes over Azariah’s or Uzziah’s life.  We pick up a more complete story in 2nd Chronicles 26.  2nd Chronicles 26:3-15, 16-21, “Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.  And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.  He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.  Now he went out to make war with the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath, the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod; and he built cities around Ashdod and among the Philistines.  God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites.  Also the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah.  His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong.  And Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the corner buttress of the wall; then he fortified them.  Also he built towers in the desert.  He dug many wells, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he also had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil.  Moreover Uzziah had an army of fighting men who went out to war by companies, according to the number on their roll as prepared by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the officer, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains.  The total number of chief officers of the mighty men of valor was two thousand six hundred.  And under their authority was an army of three hundred and seven thousand five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.  Then Uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones.  And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones.  So his fame spread far and wide.  For he was marvelously helped till he became strong.  But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD to burn incense on the alter of incense.  So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD---valiant men.  And they withstood king Uzziah, and said to him, ‘It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense.  Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed!  You shall have no honor from the LORD God.’  Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense.  And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar.  And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place.  Indeed, he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him.  King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.  He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD.  Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”  There was also a very large earthquake, and I think it accompanied this event, and it struck in Jerusalem.  Reference to this earthquake is made in Zechariah 14.  It is said Isaiah was alive during part of the reign of Uzziah.  If he was, he was very young.  Thirty-two years pass and Isaiah’s with Hezekiah as the major prophet of the LORD.  As Pastor Chuck Smith, Sr. Pastor of the Calvary Chapels said in his commentary NKJV Bible, p. 574,  “Times of prosperity are so much more dangerous to us than times of poverty.  When we experience success, as God works through us in miraculous ways, we become confident, but our confidence is often based on our own capacities rather than on the capacity of God.  ‘Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall’ (Proverbs 16:18).  When we are strong, our success can lead us to feel as if we are independent from God.  We feel that we have finally found the secret formula.  We feel that we are capable of doing anything we want to do; that we can put God aside and live independently from Him.  This will lead us to venture into areas where we should never go and to presumptuously take on roles to which we are not called.  As Uzziah dabbled in the priestly calling, thinking he was above the Law, it reminds us of the pride of Saul who made the same mistake.  Such thinking cost Saul the kingdom; and it cost Uzziah his health, as he came down with leprosy.” 


Jotham, son of Uzziah


The LORD must have made a deep impression on Jotham, for he had a good reign.  He also never entered the Temple space proper (I wonder why).  2nd Chronicles 27:1-2, 5-6, 9, “Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zodak.  And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the LORD).  But still the people acted corruptly…He also fought with the king of the Ammonites and defeated them.  And the people of Ammon gave him in that year one hundred talents of silver, ten thousand kors of wheat, and ten thousand of barley.  [A talent equals 120 pounds, and 180 pounds by another reckoning.  Either way, in monetary terms, a talent was a lot of dough.]  The people of Ammon paid this to him in the second and third years also.  So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God…So Jotham rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David.  Then Ahaz his son reigned in his place.”


Ahaz, son of Jotham


2nd Chronicles 28:1-4, “Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD, as his father David had done.  For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made molded images for the Baals.  He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.  And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.”  Can we see a pattern here?  A king was born who, for whatever reason, was close to God.  His son usually (not always) followed in his steps.  But in the third generation the king was not close to God at all, usually being labeled in God’s Word as “he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD”, and sometimes even “he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.”  This guy was a bad dude, bringing Baal worship back into Judah, ignoring how God had to intervene and destroy Athaliah that last time Baalism came into Judah, and how Athaliah had almost destroyed the kingly line of David.  This sets us up for another war which the LORD either allows or inspires to be brought against Judah.  Baal worship in either the northern kingdom of Israel or southern kingdom of Judah brought wars, famines, and eventual defeat and eventually expulsion and deportation from their Promised Land.  In this case, God allowed a war to come about between Judah and Israel, where Judah would lose 120,000 soldiers to king Pekah of Israel.  In review, Pastor Chuck Smith says this about Baal worship and burning children, “We are told that Ahaz burned his children in the fire.  This refers to the pagan practice of heating up these little [they weren’t so little] metal idols until they were white-hot and placing live babies in the arms of these heated idols, sacrificing them to these gods.  In such pagan religions, people often worshipped sex and human reproductive capacities.  Their excessive emphasis on reproduction caused them to have more children than they could practically take care of, so some of their “excess” children, often female, would be sacrificed to these pagan gods.  This seems almost too horrible for us to fathom until we think of all the babies who have been sacrificed to abortion in the aftermath of the sexual revolution of the sixties and seventies.   Babies killed for the sake of convenience, offered up to the god of pleasure, burned in the abortionist’s saline solution.  A tragedy of major proportion.  We aren’t as civilized as we think we are.”  [p. 575, of Pastor Chuck Smith’s commentary NKJV Bible.]


Start of the Fall of the Kingdom of Israel, King Pekah 752BC to 731BC


A nasty war was fought between Israel and Judah in the reign of king Pekah of Israel, which we just referred to in our coverage of Ahaz king of Judah.  2nd Chronicles 28:5-15, “Therefore the LORD his God delivered him [Ahaz, along with the southern kingdom of Judah] into the hand of the king of Syria.  They defeated him, and carried away a great multitude of them as captives, and brought them to Damascus.  Then he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter.  For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.  Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer over the house, and Elkanah was second to the king.  And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters; and they also took away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.”  So we see king Pekah of Israel is used by God to punish Judah for this Baal worship being promoted and practiced in Judah.  As we have seen throughout this study, God hates Baal worship with a white-hot passion.  That ought to say something to us who think we’re so modern and above all this.  We, as Pastor Chuck Smith said, are not so different in our practices and slaughter of our little innocents, either through abortion or the end results of child pornography, which leads to the abduction, rape and murder of many young innocents.  But now look at something which I have been pointing out all along, how the Israelites, on the individual grass roots level, are exhibiting a far better attitude toward the true God.  Let’s read about it in the next seven verses.  Verses 9-15, “But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded; and he went out before the army that came to Samaria, and said to them: ‘Look, because the LORD God of your fathers was angry with Judah, he has delivered them into your hands; but you have killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven.  And now you propose to force the children of Judah and Jerusalem to be your male and female slaves; but are you not guilty before the LORD your God?  Now hear me, therefore, and return the captives whom you have taken captive from your brethren, for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.’  Then some of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who came from the war, and said to them, ‘You shall not bring the captives here, for we already have offended the LORD.  You intend to add to our sins and to our guilt; for our guilt is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.’  So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the leaders and all the assembly.  Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them, dressed them and gave them sandals, gave them food and drink, and anointed them; and they let all the feeble ones ride on donkeys.  So they brought them to their brethren at Jericho, the city of palm trees.  Then they returned to Samaria.”  Wow, now that’s a changed attitude.  And this attitude is a grass roots level attitude that’s been quietly changing going all the way back to Elijah and Elisha.  Jonah played his part too.  Verses 26-27, “Now the rest of his acts and all his ways [Ahaz, that is], from first to last, indeed they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.  So Ahaz rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem; but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel.  Then Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.”  This occurred during the time of king Pekah, king of Israel, who ruled from 752 through 732BC.  Between 750BC and 745BC he fought this nasty civil war between the House of Israel and the House of Judah, where 120,000 Jewish soldiers were killed and 200,000 women and children were taken captive.  Judah at this time was under an evil king named Ahaz, who was introducing Baal worship into Judah as we have just seen.  So God was using Israel to punish Judah.  It is telling that God through a local prophet in Israel told the elders in Ephraim to release the 200,000 Jewish captives and send them back to Judah.  They not only released them, but gave them food and clothing and a military escort back to Judah.  Pekah wasn’t that good a king, but the Israelites were starting to heed God on their own, in spite of their king.  By this time the Assyrian Empire is getting really strong, and starts to flex its military muscles.  In 745BC, Assyria invades the vulnerable part of Israel, defeats, captures and deports the two and a half tribes that live on the eastern side of the Jordan, Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh, along with the tribe of Naphthali in the Galilee area.  They, comprising about one third of all of Israel were taken captive and deported into the land of Halah, Habor and Hara all the way to the River Gozan.  2nd Kings 15:29, “In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali:  and he carried them captive to Assyria.  Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck and killed him; so he reigned in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.”  Now it doesn’t show it, but there is a time gap between the Assyrians taking three and a half tribes captive, and Hoshea’s conspiracy where he killed king Pekah and took over the kingship.  The Assyrians came in and invaded the two and a half tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan, Gad, Rueben and the half tribe of Manasseh, as well as the tribe of Naphtali in the Galilee region from 745 to 740BC.  Pekah was killed in 732/731BC. 1st Chronicles 5:26, “So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria.  He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity.  He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.”  The number of captives between 745 and 740BC of these three and a half tribes must have numbered several hundred thousand at the very least.  King Pekah then dies in 732/731BC, and Hoshea takes over as king, and reigns 9 years. 


King Hoshea of Israel, hero or villain?


Something very interesting occurs during this nine year period under king Hoshea.  Israel by now in 731BC can really read “the handwriting on the wall” concerning Assyria’s intentions.  In 724BC Assyria laid siege to Samaria, the capital city of Israel which general Omri had built on a very defensible hill, a fortress of a city.  It endured a three year siege before the Assyrians were able to breach its walls and conquer them.  Assyrian cuneiform accounts written about the battle and how many captives Sennacherib took from the city and all of the land of Israel was a puny 27,290 people, mostly from the city of Samaria.  The countryside of Israel itself, the nation, was so deserted that wild animals had started to populate the land, so much so, that the people Assyria had moved into the land of Israel in place of the captives they took to Assyria complained that they were getting eaten by all the lions roaming about.  That only happens when a population has deserted the land.  Assyrians loved to brag about their conquests and how many prisoners and slaves they took, but I’ll give them this, they were honest in their bragging.  Israel must have numbered in the several millions in 745BC, and even over a million after the three and a half tribes had been deported in the 740s BC by Tiglath-Pileser.  If Assyria only captured 27,290 people from Samaria in 721BC, and they came into the land and laid siege to Samaria in 724, then sometime between 731BC and 724BC a massive evacuation took place.  Where in the world did these million plus Israelites go?  No Assyrian claims exist about the rest of the tribes, 7 of them, going into captivity.  These tribes would have been Asher, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Simeon, most of Ephraim (except those Ephraimites in the city of Samaria itself who stayed behind to fight the Assyrians), and the western half of Manasseh, 7 tribes out of 10!  My personal guess is that Hosea had organized a huge evacuation of Israelites, first by sea, utilizing all the “ships of Tarshish” that could be mustered from the Israelite-Phoenician merchant marine-navy.  Even with all this shipping, no more than 100,000 to 200,000 people max could be evacuated by sea.  But does the Bible indicate this took place?  Yes, it does, in two obscure prophecies, one found in Isaiah, and the other one in Jeremiah.  Let’s take a look.  Jeremiah knew the Israelite-Phoenician maritime-naval alliance had colonies “beyond the sea”, that is, beyond the Mediterranean Sea.  In the Bible, the only Sea talked about besides the Sea of Galilee and the Red Sea, which are always named, is the Mediterranean Sea, which is either called simply “the sea” or “the Great Sea.”  So “beyond the sea” means outside of the Mediterranean Sea, which would naturally be the Atlantic Ocean.  Hibernia, ancient Ireland, as we’ll see, was one of those colonies, other colonies were found to have existed in Wales and England itself, but the closest colony outside the Mediterranean Sea was of course Tarshish on the Atlantic side of Spain, ancient Iberia.  The full quote comes from a message of gloom and doom God told Jeremiah to take to the nations, presenting them with a symbolic wine goblet filled with the wrath of God’s indignation, showing these nations and empires they were about to fall.  When nations or empires fall, others do rise and replace them, it’s a natural occurrence.  The whole set of verses for this dire presentation of the wine of God’s wrath is found in Jeremiah 25:14-28.  The statement in the middle of that section which shows Jeremiah knew about these colonies and kingdoms outside of the Mediterranean Sea is found in verse 22, which states, “And all the kings of Tyrus [Tyre] and all the kings of Zidon [Sidon], and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,…”  Isaiah 23 was a prophecy God gave to Isaiah during the reign of Hezekiah which prophecied the end to the Phoenician-Israelite trade and naval alliance, with the ultimate destruction of Tyre and Sidon themselves, due to the fact that Tyre and Sidon had polluted the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom or House of Israel with Baal worship.  It was a warning, in which we find advice that when God starts to judge Israel (through Assyrian invasion) and then Tyre and Sidon themselves, that they should flee somewhere.  Most miss the significance of this little warning and advice as to where God told them to flee.  Isaiah 23:1 starts off the warning to Tyre and Sidon (which at the time of Isaiah writing this) Israel (allied to Tyre and Sidon) was about to go into captivity.  Hezekiah king of Judah lived during the reigns of king Pekah and Hoshea of Israel.  Verse 6 shows where God is telling some of the Israelites to flee.  Let’s look at both verses.  After Israel fell to the Assyrians in 740s through to 721 BC, the Tyre and Sidon part of the Phoenician-Israelite merchant marine-naval alliance continued to survive, by sending tribute money, silver mined in Iberia (Spain) to Assyria.  Let’s look at those two verses and see where the parts of Israel who were able to secure transportation in ships were told to go.  This is fascinating.  Isaiah 23:1, 6, “The burden of Tyre, Howl ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them…Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl ye inhabitants of the land.”  Now this prophecy would be fulfilled in three successive waves, first Israel, the northern ten tribes House of Israel would be destroyed and those not able to escape taken captive.  Then in a second wave of conquest Nebuchadnezzar in 573BC would conquer all of Sidon and the mainland portion of the city-state of Tyre.  Then Alexander the Great in a third wave of conquest would conquer the island portion of the Tyrian city-state.  Tarshish has been identified as a colony the Phoenician-Israelite alliance had set up in Spain, it is believed on the Atlantic side.  So, by all appearance, king Hosea must have ordered this mass evacuation.  Hosea, as we will see, stays behind in Samaria fighting a rearguard action against Assyria, as a sort of Alamo delaying action.  What the Cheyenne would call Hotametaniach, or Dog Soldiers.  Now we’ve seen Kirjath-Hadeschath, Carthage, was a Phoenician-Israelite colony that was predominantly composed of Baal worshippers.  All (Baal worshippers) who could avail themselves of the “ships of Tarshish” in this massive Israelite-Phoenician maritime evacuation did so, going to the Phoenician-Israelite colonies like Carthage and Iberia, ancient Spain.   Carthage, or Kirjath-Hadeschath was now about 100 years old, well established.  Records show that Carthage became a major power right around the time of 721BC, which a major influx of friendly population would do for it.  A sociological law is that “birds of a feather flock together.”  We know, have just seen that a good portion of Israel had just shown a proclivity to follow God, by heeding the prophet Obed and releasing those 200,000 Jewish women and children back to Judah after feeding and clothing them.  These God-fearing folks wouldn’t feel comfortable going to Carthage, or even Tarshish on the Atlantic side of Iberia, ancient Spain though. 


Flight by Sea, Where Did They Go?


Some historic detective work may show us where the Israelites who fled by sea ended up.  W. Boyd Dawkins (1880) wrote in Early Man in Britain:

“the Iberian race extended beyond the boundaries of Spain, and …they were to a great extent intermingled with the Celts in Western Europe.”

Aylett Sammes, a 17th century historian had this to say about the British people:

The Britains called themselves Kumero, Cymro and Kumeri…[and in later parts of the book]…most of the words of the ancient Britains and Gauls…proceeded from the Phoenicians…”

Here is a super quote, from a source I’ve already quoted from.  It clearly shows the Phoenicians (and thus Israelites allied to them) were trading all over Europe.  If they were trading, they must have had colonies or outposts for replenishment and repair of their ships, knowing well what storms in the North Atlantic and North Sea can do to wooden ships.  H. de B. Gibbons, M.A. MACMILLAN CO…1891, Chap. II, pp. 8-9:

The Phenicians in North-West Europe and in Asia---Moreover they used it as a kind of basis for trading operations in north-west Europe, for, starting from Gades [Cadiz], their ships now went up the west coast of Spain till they came to the Cassiterides, where they got large quantities of tin.  Proceeding still farther into what then seemed very distant regions, they seem to have visited the lands on the coast of the Baltic Sea.  Thence they got corn, wool, hides, furs, and amber (then highly prized), large quantities of fish, copper and other metals, and timber; in exchange for which the Phenician cities exported their own manufactures, such as purple-dyed robes, carpets and fine cloths, works of gold, silver, ivory, amber, and even glass.  In fact, Phenicians imported largely raw material, made it up, and re-exported it in its manufactured forms, being especially skilful in the preparation of purple and scarlet-dyed fabrics.  Those European products they also exported, either raw or manufactured, into Asia by means of caravans which went to Syria, Palestine, Armenia [we’ll see later that the Hebro-Phoenicians had a colony just north of Armenia], Arabia, Egypt, Babylon, and still father east, by way of Damascus, Tadmor, and then Thapsacus on the Euphrates, whence they could go by water and get into the Indian Ocean and India itself.  But besides these caravans, their ships sailed also from the Red Sea to the land of Ophir, which is now said to be the coast between the mouth of the Indus and the present Bombay, as well as along the north coast of Africa to Mauritania (Morocco), where they founded a colony called Auza… 

Another good quote is found in Celtic Britain by John Rhys (1882).  He states:

“…both countries of the kymry were for some time called Cambria or Cumbria, the Welsh word on which they are based, as now written, Cymru…pronounced nearly as an Englishman would treat is if spelled Kumry or Kumri…in the language of the Saxon Chronicle, it became Cumerland or Cumbraland…the land [of] …the Cumbri or Kymry.” 


Do you remember what the Assyrians had called the land of Israel from the time of king Omri to Ahab?  The land of Khumri. It appears that many Celts were descended from Israelites who settled Phoenician colonies in Europe and the British Isles during Israel’s Golden Age, spanning from 1000BC (David and Solomon) to 720BC, when Israel was fleeing by ships from Israel before the final Assyrian invasion.  There is way too much historic coincidence here.  And the Jewish rabbis have a saying, that where God is concerned, there is no such thing as coincidence.  Around the time of 720BC a group calling themselves Tuatha de Danaan came to Ireland and conquered the native tribesmen living there called the Firbolgs.  Another group coming with them and settling in Wales was a group calling themselves the Simoni about the same period of time.  This would equate to the tribes of Dan and Simeon.  J. H. Allen writes:

“The Celtic migrations occurred as early as 1000 BC, and as late as 600 BC.”  

Gerhard Herm’s book, The Celts has this to say:

“…the first Celtic-speaking tribes came to Ireland as far back as the Hallstatt period.  After the beginning of the La Tene era these were followed, via Britain, by other wandering hordes, who spoke Brythonic, that is a P-Celtic, dialect.”

The Encyclopedia Americana says the Hallstatt period of Central Europe was “about 1000 to 500 BC.”  Richard Harrison’s book, Spain at the Dawn of History (1988) has this to say about Phoenician migration to its colonies:

“…during the ninth and eighth centuries [BC] Assyrian pressure increased steadily upon [the Phoenicians]…forcing them to pay tribute.  Then…they were reduced by conquest…beginning with the attacks of Tiglath-Pileser III in the 740s and ending finally with the fall of Tyre to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 573 BC.  It is noticeable that the Phoenician expansion into Sicily, Sardinia and Spain in the eighth century coincides with the loss of their residual independence; the conquest of their mother cities probably forced many Phoenicians to become emigrants and seek a new life in colonies and trading stations in the west.”

We have seen that the Phoenician maritime-naval empire was closely allied to Israel.  As a matter of fact, Israel probably comprised the larger part of that alliance in both men and ships.  So you might as well say Israelite emigrants here in this quote, since the Israelites probably made up the bulk of those traveling west on these “ships of Tarshish” to escape the Assyrians.  Harrison goes on to say:

“…the Phoenicians were the first to discover the far west.  Greek sailors arrived centuries after them and then failed, for whatever reason, to maintain the direct contact they had with southern Spain in the seventh century [BC].  We can show the dominant influence in the orientalizing period, and afterwards, was Semitic, first Phoenician, then Carthaginian.”

There are two other things that Richard Harrison takes note of, one that Phoenician activity in its Spanish colony of Iberia greatly increased in the 700s BC, and secondly he notes that much of the silver given by the “Phoenicians” (what I would called the Israel-Tyrian-Sidonian alliance) to the Assyrians as tribute payments came from the mines of ancient Spain.  After the fall of Israel the Phoenician city-states of Tyre and Sidon kept up these payments, which kept Assyria off their backs.  But later on, when Nebuchadnezzar came on the scene, he could not be bought off by tribute money, and he conquered Sidon and the mainland portion of Tyre in the 570s BC.  The Island portion of Tyre held out, unconquered, until the time of Alexander the Great, who finally conquered this island fortress-seaport in the 300s BC.  All of Isaiah 23 is a prophecy about the partial destruction of Tyre, and the conquering of Sidon.  Historians have noticed that when Israel left Palestine, for some reason, Phoenician power and influence shifted from Tyre and Sidon to the west, to Carthage and Spain.  They never seem to make the connection between Israel and the Phoenician maritime empire though.








Overland emigration of two-thirds of Israel


The Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (1906) states:


“Large numbers of Israelites had been carried away captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians:  and Pompey had taken many Jewish captives to Rome.  But a much larger dispersion was due to voluntary emigration.”


That short statement is the key to explaining what happened to the northern tribes of Israel which didn’t go into captivity.  We have seen how some, a decent size minority, made good their escape by sea going westward across the Mediterranean, through Gibraltar and up the Atlantic seacoast of Europe to formerly established Phoenician-Israelite  trading colonies.  But where did the rest go?  We have seen that there is this lull in Assyrian military activity from the 740s BC to 724BC, when they come again into the land of Israel and besiege the fortress city of Samaria.  What was taking place during this period of time, when the pagan Israelites were making their escape westward on an armada of ships?  Colonel J. C. Gawler in the 19th century cited both Jewish and Armenian historical sources showing us that this other portion of Israelites fled northward into the region north of Armenia on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.  Gawler cited Abraham Ortellius, a famous sixteenth century geographer who had this to say:


“In his description Tartary, [he] notes the kingdom of Arsareth, where the ten tribes retiring…took the name of Gauthei, because, he says, they were very jealous of the glory of God.”


Gawler went on to quote from the apocryphal book of II Esdras.  Apocryphal books are considered accurate as far as historical references, but not considered to be valid spiritual sources, or part of the Biblical Canon.  In II Esdras 13:40-45 we read this about a group of Israelites that migrated to a new homeland named Arzareth:


“…those are the ten tribes that in the days of Hoshea were carried away from their own land into captivity, whom Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, made captives, and carried beyond the river…But they formed this plan among themselves, to leave the heathen population, and go to a more distant region…so that there perhaps they might keep their statutes, which they had not kept in their own country.  And they went in by the narrow passages of the Euphrates River.  For the Most High then did wonders for them, for he held back the sources of the river until they had passed over.  But it was a long journey of a year and a half to that country…called Arzareth.”


The beginning of the quote is about the general captivity about to take place, but a certain group obviously evaded captivity entirely.  As we shall see in the next quote, they were well organized with their own military escort, a substantial military escort.  This points clearly to military planning, perhaps even by king Hoshea himself, him staying behind with part of Israel’s army, while sending a larger group of émigrés north under substantial military escort.  Colonel Gawler goes on to quote a medieval Jewish historian named Eldad, who “sent to the Spanish Jews his memoirs of the ten tribes.”  Eldad said that these Israelite refugees migrated in large numbers, and with a sizeable military escort.  Let’s read it:


“that many of the people did not go into captivity, but evaded the calamity, going off with their flocks, and turning nomads, and that the chief prince of whom they appointed, could muster 120,000 horse and 100,000 foot.” 


Two-hundred and twenty thousand armed escorts would show these Israelites where never taken captive, and that there would have been about a million souls, minimum.  We see two things here.  First, a large group migrate, evading captivity, and secondly, they are determined to obey God.  On ancient maps dating well before this migration the region northeast of Armenia is referred to as Iberia, just as ancient Spain has been called the Iberian Peninsula.  The names “Iberia” and “Iberian” are a direct reference to Eber, the father of the Hebrews (Eberews).  Herbert Hannay says that this Asian Iberia, that it “was founded in the Hebro-Phoenician era.”  This shows that a previous colony of Israelite-Phoenicians had set up a trading colony on the eastern coast of the Black Sea just north of Armenia.  It is to this distant colony which this group of escaping Israelites fled, with a 220,000 armed escort (120,000 mounted cavalry, and 100,000 foot soldiers, infantry).  The journey is purported to have taken one and a half years, which showed that this group included women, children and the elderly, and their flocks and herds, so they couldn’t be driven very fast.  This area they ended up in is a highly defensible mountainous region, so once they arrived there, the Assyrians, even if they found out where they had gone, would not be prone to want to follow them.  As we saw, king Pekah died at the hands of Hoshea (2nd Kings 15:30) in 732BC.  Hoshea reigned for 9 years, his reign ending in 723BC when he was captured by the Assyrians, who then laid siege to the highly defensible capital city of Samaria.  The army under Hoshea must have had orders to fight on in the event of his capture, which they heroically did for three years.  So Hoshea must have devised plans for the massive evacuation of Israel, the Baal worshipping part by sea to the western colonies of the Phoenician-Israelite colonies, and the God-fearers by an overland route north to a Black Sea Phoenician-Israelite colony named on ancient maps as Iberia, just north of Armenia.  He stayed behind with part of his army, in my estimation, as a rear-guard (Cheyenne Hotametaniach, Dog Soldiers), to tie up the Assyrian army, which his army succeeded in doing for three years (he was taken prisoner by the Assyrians right away in 723BC, but his army fought on).  The likely date for this mass overland migration is between the dates of 730BC and 725BC, taking them safely out of the path of the advancing Assyrian army, as it would have been starting its march toward Israel’s borders by 724BC. 2nd Kings 17:1-9, 17-18, “In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel who were before him.  Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him; and Hoshea became his vassal, and paid him tribute money.  And the king of Assyria uncovered a conspiracy by Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no tribute 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.”  This occurred around 723BC, when the king of Assyria had summoned Hoshea to his court (outside of the protective walls of Samaria and his army’s protection).  When he uncovered this conspiracy, he just grabbed Hoshea and locked him up in prison.  (Hoshea came into power in 730BC.  He was captured in 724/723BC in his sixth year (from the 730BC date).  In his 9th year by this calculation [3rd year of his captivity], the city of Samaria fell.  E. R. Thiele has Hoshea dated as 732BC to 723BC, making his 9th year 723BC, and his reign ending in 723 at his capture and imprisonment.  To me that’s splitting hairs, historically speaking.)    “Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years.  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.  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….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.”  Watch what happens next.  Verses 24-26, “Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.  And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.  So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, ‘The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land.’”  Very interesting.  Abandoned cities, villages and farmland would start to be overrun with wild animals.  Also, as pointed out in Assyrian cuneiform annuls, only 27,290 people were taken captive out of Samaria after a three year siege.  Nothing is said about the Assyrians finding anyone in the surrounding cities and countryside, as I pointed out before. That describes this final siege of Samaria.  Now let’s back up a bit and look at what was going on in Judah during the reign of Hoshea, and how Hezekiah king of Judah  spiritually helped many in the northern ten tribes of the House of Israel.  It’s important that we understand what he did, and how it fit right into the works of Elijah and Elisha and Jonah.  Of course, Hezekiah is doing this with the aid of Isaiah the prophet in Judah.


Sources used:

New King James Bible

“Israel’s Lost Empires” by Steven Collins, P.O. Box 88735, Sioux Falls, SD  57109-8735 ($25.oo including S&H)

W. Boyd Dawkins, “Early Man in Britain” (1880)

Quotes from Aylett Sammes (17th century historian)

H. de B. Gibbons, M.A. MACMILLIAN CO...1891, Chap II, pp. 8-9

“Celtic Britain” by John Rhys (1882)

“The Celts” by Gerhard Herm

The Encyclopedia Americana, “Hallstatt Period of Central Europe”

“Spain at the Dawn of History”, by Richard Harrison

Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (1906)

J.C. Gawler (19th century historian)

Herbert Hannay (historian)


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