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Israel and the First Carrying Away by Assyria

The first carrying away occurred about the middle 8th century BC which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline.

God had chosen the people of Israel to be his personal representatives on the Earth. The Lord was going to use these people to reveal his truth to the world and why it is important for all of mankind to follow him. God expected his chosen people to obey his commandments and to live as a holy people set apart for his service. Unfortunately, the Israelites didn’t always live in obedience to God. By the time the Israelites had kings the people were worshipping foreign gods and conducting pagan practices. God had sent many prophets and deliverers to turn the people back from their sins but they didn’t listen. So he decided to use foreign nations to punish his people. The Lord gave some of the ancient enemies of Israel the power to defeat and to enslave them.

The Assyrians were a powerful warlike people who existed in the Middle East from 2400 B.C. to 600 B.C. They once occupied the modern day countries of Iran, Iraq and southern Turkey. When the Assyrians were in power God gave them the ability to become a fierce and conquering kingdom. Around 900 B.C. the Assyrians began to conquer many territories within the Middle Eastern and Mesopotamian region. They dominated many kingdoms and empires such as Egypt, the Hittites and the Persians. By 740 B.C. the Assyrians were used by God to judge Israel for their sins.

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A map showing the deportation of the Jews by the Assyrians

Tiglath-Pileser III was also known as Pur and in 1 Chronicles 5:26 this Assyrian king had carried away the Israeli tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. He took Israelites from the cities of Ijon, Abelbethmaachah Janoah, Kadesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee and Naphtali. Pur had carried away many captives back to his homeland.

When God allowed the Israelites to be captured by the Assyrians he allowed this to happen at different intervals of time. After Pur carried away the first group of Israelites back to his territory the people didn’t repent of their sins. About 20 years later God inspired the Assyrians to enslave them once again. This second deportation of Israel happened because the people refused to listen to God and his prophets.

Shalmaneser had carried out this deportation during the reign of King Hoshea. Sargon II then finished off the Israelites with a siege against the capital city of Samaria. Some of the people were placed in Halon and Harbor by the river Gozan. These areas were located in modern Iran, Iraq and Turkey as well. Assyrian cuneiforms that were discovered from this time period in history reveal that 30,000 captives were taken from Israel during the reign of Sargon II.

History has shown that many of the Israelites never made it back into their homelands since their final deportation. The people of Judah who experienced captivity at the hands of foreigners were able to come back into their homeland. The books of Nehemiah and Ezra in the Bible are historical accounts of their return. Though some Israeli’s were able to make it back home most remained inside of foreing territory for many years.

The Israelites that were able to make it back to their homeland constantly experienced defeat and captivity at the hands of foreigners such as the Greeks and then the Romans. History also points out that the 10 tribes never made it back to their homeland until the modern era. After experiencing the holocaust under the Germans the nation of Israel was formed in 1948 and many Israelites were able to return to their homeland once again.

Biblical Sources:

  •  2 Kings 17: 3 – 6 Shalmaneser sieges Samaria for 3 years before conquering the city.
  • 2 Kings 18: 11 – 12 13 King of Assyria captured Israel; placed them in Halah and Harbor.
  • 1 Chronicles 5:26 Assyria carried away Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manas
  • 2 kings 15:29 Tiglathpilneser, Pul rulers responsible for capturing Israel under Assyria