Finding the House of Israel in Ezekiel's Day!
I agree that the two nations within Israel have not been brought together
as prophecies foretell. I have accepted that what was lost even prior
to the captivity of the house of Israel was her identity founded upon
the law with particular reference to the sabbath which had been given
as an identifying sign. When the house of Israel forsook the law she
also abandoned the identifying distinction that God gave. Nevertheless,
Ezekiel, some 140 years after Israel was taken captive by Assyria,
seemed to know who and where the house of Israel was since he was assigned
to prophesy unto her. Moreover, it does not seem evident to me that
Ezekiel needed to go somewhere in order to deliver his message. I have
1 - Where does the BI Association place the whereabouts of the house of Israel during the time of Ezekiel’s prophecies?
2 - Concerning the actual numbers of people taken away to Assyria, based upon findings in a web search on “Assyrian History”, it seems that most of the northern kingdom remained in their land. Here is an excerpt from my search: “The siege of Samaria, a bequest of Shalmaneser IV., was in its final stage when Sargon became king, and the city fell in the last months of 721 B.C. The flower of the nation, to the number of twenty-seven thousand two hundred and ninety persons, was deported to Mesopotamia and Media. The rest of the people were left in the wasted land, and a shuparshaku was appointed to administer it as an Assyrian province.” Does this historical reference square with your understanding of the dispersion of the northern kingdom?
3 - If the majority of the people actually remained in the promised land being subjected to the authority of their new lords, how was their eventual migration sponsored and activated, and when?
In the time of Ezekiel, circa 600 B.C., the House of Israel was both
north and west of Palestine. Some were taken northward into captivity
in 721 B.C., and the Bible tells us of this captivity: “In the ninth
year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away
into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan,
and in the cities of the Medes.” (2 Kings 17:6) However, there were actually
three main Assyrian deportations which occurred in 745 B.C., 721 B.C.,
and 676 B.C., with Israelites being deported each time. A good book on
this subject is, “The Assyrian Deportations and Dispersions of Israel”
by J. Llewellyn Thomas, which we have available for US$5.00 plus shipping.
Many Israelites also migrated by land and sea westward along the Mediterranean
corridor, some pursuing trading or colonization, while others fled the
Assyrian military threat prior to the captivity. So it is incorrect to
focus on the number of Israelites deported in only one Assyrian invasion
in 721 B.C. and assume that the rest remained in the land. A very good
book on the subject of Israel’s westward sea migrations is “Israel’s
Lost Empires” by Steven M. Collins, which we have available for US$20.00
No, we do not agree that most of the Israelites remained in the land of Palestine. The Bible informs us, “Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” (2 Kings 17:18) The Israelites of all of the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as all of the fenced cities of Judah, except Jerusalem and Libnah, were removed from the land by colonization or conquest.
The Assyrians imported other peoples to take the place of Israel in the land: “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.” (2 Kings 17:24) It was these non-Israelites who were administered by the Assyrians. -J.S. Brooks