Class Notes: 9/23/2020

Jonah, Nineveh, and Nemesis part 5

2Chron 7:13-14; "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Isaiah 3:12; Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your teachers lie to you and tell you to go the wrong way.

Isaiah 5:20; Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

1Cor 4:5; Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

We are presently in a study of Jonah, Nineveh and Nemesis where we see God's policy of grace before judgment. God always provides the opportunity for repentance before he executes judgment.

Some principles we can derive from of our brief study of Israel, Judah, and Assyria is that anyone can repent, because God extends His mercy even to the merciless and help to the helpless but judgment is always waiting in the wings because ultimately the truth wins because God is truth and He cannot deny himself. 2Cor 13:8; 2Tim 2:13;

Just before we stopped last time we noted that all lasting victory and success in life comes exclusively from God. Eccles 9:11; Zech 4:6;

Sennecharib had the same problem our country has today, he thought that he was the source of his blessing but he was not, God was and we will see that because of Judah's repentance the divine decree was reprogrammed and God reversed course so He is going to discipline Assyria rather than Judah resulting in the Assyrian Nemesis.

As we have seen after their repentance from Jonah's ministry over the course of about a century and between the reigns of Joash and Hezekiah the Assyrian Empire had increased its power.

The confrontation between Hezekiah and Sennacherib is considered so important that the Holy Spirit provides us with three major references to it: 2 Kings 18:13-20:21; 2Chron 32:1-33; and Isaiah 36:1-39:8.

A brief review of the historical events that lead up to this confrontation will establish a political frame of reference for our study.

Adad-nirari III (805-783BC. attacked Damascus in 804BC. The attack on Damascus indirectly helped Judah because they had been suffering as a result of attacks by the Aramean rulers of Damascus. (2 Kings 12:17;)

Joash of Judah was able to recover the towns on his northern border that had been lost to Hazael of Damascus before the Assyrian advance in 2Kings 13:25;

Following the death of Adad-nirari III, Assyrian power was on the wane. His successor, Shalmaneser IV (783-773BC), continued to exert pressure on Damascus but Assyria, was feeling pressure from Armenia on its northern border and its internal politics were in a state of flux.

Adad-nirari had died young and childless, with the result that the succession was uncertain so no military advances were made during the rules of Asher-dan III (773-755BC) or Asher-nirari V (755-745BC).

An eclipse of the sun in 763BC was considered a bad sign as it marked a defeat of Assyrian armies in the north and the vassal states in western Asia took advantage of the weakness regroup and to challenge Assyrian authority.

After a generation of uncertainty an Assyrian warrior and statesman who took the name Tiglath-pileser III 745-727BC usurped the throne in order to restore Assyria's lost glory.

Under the name Pul (2 Kings 15:19;) he was proclaimed king. He achieved victory on his northern borders over the Armenians and turned his attention to the west where the local princes had stopped paying tribute to Assyria.

A few years later Pekah (king of Israel from 740-732BC ) joined Rezin king of Damascus in an alliance against Assyria. They moved against Ahaz (king) of Judah (732-716BC.) in an attempt to force Judah into an anti-Assyrian alliance (2 Kings 16:5-9).

Ahaz turned to Tiglath-pileser for help, with disastrous results for the entire region because Tiglath-pileser marched westward and then turned south and marched down the Levant along the Mediterranean coast.

The king of Gaza fled across the border with Egypt to find sanctuary there. Ammon, Moab, Edom, Ashkelon, and Judah paid their tribute to the Assyrians but as we have seen Israel refused and was attacked.

Damascus fared even worse than Israel. In 732BC Tiglath-pileser entered Damascus, executed the king, Rezin, ravaged the city, and deported a large portion of its population. Ahaz king of Judah was among those who hastened to pay tribute to Tiglath-pileser.

The result of King Ahaz fearful foreign policy was that Judah became a vassal of Assyria but Israel still hoped to be able to resist.

When Tiglath-pileser III died in 727BC. he was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser V (727-722BC) Hoshea king of Israel (732-721BC listened to his pro-Egyptian counselors and refused to pay the tribute to Shalmaneser.

Egypt promised help (2 Kings 17:4;), but the promised help never arrived. Shalmaneser besieged the Israelite capital at Samaria, and after three years the city fell, ending the northern kingdom of Israel.

Sargon II (722-705BC) claims credit for the destruction of Samaria. In his Annals he states, "The town I rebuilt better than it was before, and settled therein people from countries which I myself had conquered."

This policy of population relocation caused the Israelites to be scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire and "lost." It also brought into Samaria the ancestors of the people who subsequently became known as the Samaritans who created a religion by syncretizing Judaism with paganism. 2Kings 17:24-29;

Sargon was succeeded by Sennacherib (705-681BC) who spent the early years of his reign putting down the revolts that broke out following the death of his father.

Merodach-baladan seized the throne of Babylon and attempted to set up a state independent from Assyria. He sent an emissary to Jerusalem to show friendship to Hezekiah and enlist his support (2Kings 20:12-19).Sennacherib defeated Merodach-baladan and his Elamite and Arab allies late in 702BC.

He also quickly put down the rebels on the northern frontier of Assyria that gave him the freedom to turn his attention to the west, where Egypt was stirring up trouble among the smaller states. Hezekiah of Judah was a leader in the opposition to Sennacherib and had strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem. Anticipating trouble from Sennacherib Hezekiah called upon Egypt for help (Isaiah 30:1-4;)

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