This week, we’re going to conclude the period of the Divided Kingdom & read the entirety of the period of the Exile (which, to be fair, is only 8 chapters!) It’s not exactly a hopeful time in the life of Israel. We’ll read how in 722 BC, the Northern Kingdom is conquered by the Assyrians, who exile some of them and resettle Samaria with people from 5 other nations. God’s people in Israel are forced to “assimilate”by intermarrying with foreigners. This is the origin of the Biblical Samaritans whom you’ll recall are hated as the by the Jews of Jesus’ day. This has to do with these intermarriages – and the foreign gods that came along with them.
Then, we’ll read about the failed attempts of Hezekiah & Josiah, kings over Judah, to implement lasting reforms on the Southern Kingdom. They, too will be conquered and also taken into exile. By 587 BC, Jerusalem and the Temple have been obliterated. The line of Kings is seemingly ended, and it’s a hopeless time. Placed within the period of the exile, though, are thre of the major prophets: Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel and five of the minor prophets: Joel, Nahum, Zephaniah, Baruch, and Obadiah. The prophetic message stands as a reminder that God has not forgotten them, and the redemption and restoration is coming. If you take a look to the prophets for this period – in particular Daniel and Ezekiel – you get a tast of what that’s going to look like.
Here are the readings for the coming week: