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King Hoshea is a significant but often overlooked figure in the Bible, with his reign marked by political turmoil, rebellion, and the ultimate downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel. His story unfolds in the pages of the Old Testament, offering valuable lessons on the consequences of disobedience and the importance of remaining faithful to God.
The Rise of the King
The Bible tells us that 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 (2 Kings 17:1,2).
Hoshea’s ascent to the throne is recorded in 2 Kings 15:30, where he is mentioned as the last king of Israel. His reign began during a tumultuous period in Israel’s history marked by a series of short-lived and often unrighteous rulers. Hoshea inherited a kingdom plagued by internal strife, external threats, and spiritual decay.
“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” (2 Kings 15:30 – NKJV).
Alliance with Assyria
One of the defining moments of King Hoshea’s reign was his attempt to secure stability through a political alliance with Assyria, a powerful neighboring empire. In 2 Kings 17:3-4, we find an account of Hoshea paying tribute to Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria. However, this allegiance did not endure, leading to dire consequences for the northern kingdom.
“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” (2 Kings 17:3-4 – NKJV).
The Consequences of Rebellion
The king’s initial attempt to secure Assyrian support, King Hoshea’s actions revealed a heart of rebellion against God. In Hosea 13:11 (NKJV), the prophet Hosea provides insight into the spiritual condition of Israel during Hoshea’s reign, highlighting their departure from God’s ways. Hosea 13:11 (NKJV) – “I gave you a king in My anger and took him away in My wrath.”
Hoshea’s rebellion went beyond political maneuvering; it extended into matters of faith and worship. The Northern Kingdom persisted in idolatry and rejected the Lord, earning His righteous anger. If the king had taken measures of reform, the nation might have been redeemed even at that late hour. The Lord is merciful and long-suffering, but after sin has reached its limit and His warnings have been insistently rejected, judgments fall. Hoshea clearly did nothing to stop the disaster.
The Fall of Samaria and Israel’s Exile
The consequences of Israel’s disobedience came to fruition during the siege of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom. In 2 Kings 17:5-6 (NKJV), we witness the tragic outcome as the Assyrians captured Samaria and led the Israelites into exile.
“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 of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (2 Kings 17:5-6 – NKJV).
This event marked the end of the northern kingdom of Israel, a direct consequence of their disobedience and abandonment of God’s commandments.
Lessons from Hoshea’s Reign
King Hoshea’s life serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the importance of faithfulness and obedience to God. His attempt to rely on political alliances rather than trusting in the Lord led to the downfall of an entire kingdom. His story reminds believers of the enduring consequences of disobedience and the need to prioritize a steadfast relationship with God.
In the narrative of King Hoshea, we find a tragic tale of a leader who, despite his attempts to secure the stability of his kingdom, ultimately faced the consequences of rebellion against God. The references from the Bible guide us through the rise, fall, and ultimate exile of the northern kingdom of Israel. As we reflect on this story, may it serve as a powerful reminder of the enduring importance of faithfulness and obedience in our relationship with God.
In His service,