Assyria and Samaria


Taken from:

Inhabitants numbering 27,290 were recorded as being deported after a three year siege from the city of Samaria by Sargon II in an Assyrian inscription (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, Daniel David Luckenbill, ed., University of Chicago Press, 1926, vol. 2, p. 26). Some have carelessly assumed that this was the total number deported from among the Israelites by the Assyrians. But this assumption is not supported by Scripture nor by Assyrian records. In reality those were but a small portion of the total numbers carried away, killed or driven out of Israel during successive campaigns spanning decades. An Assyrian inscription records the boast of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III, “The land of Bit-Humria [house of Omri, Israel] … all of its people, together with their goods I carried off to Assyria. Pakaha [Pekah], their king they deposed and I placed Ausi’ [Hoshea] over them as king” (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol. 1, p. 293; cf. 2 Kings 15:29-30). Among other Assyrian kings who subjugated Israel, Sargon II boasted that he plundered and devastated Samaria and the whole land of Israel, and carried Gentile peoples in to settle their land (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol. 2, pp. 2, 7, 26, 40, 46, 51, 61; 2 Kings 17:6, 18, 24; 1 Chronicles 5:26; Josephus, Antiquities, 9.14.1; for evidence indicating Sargon II and Sennacherib were two names for the same king, see “Sargon[II] is Sennacherib,” Damien Mackey).
The new population, called Samaritans, or Cutheans, remained predominately Gentile, though at times they claimed to be descended from Joseph (Matthew 10:5; Antiquities, 9.14.3). Later, a number of Jews migrated to the area (cf. Angus-Green Bible Handbook, p. 598). The Gentiles who moved into the area of Samaria brought with them their pagan gods, and their religions were blended with the apostate Yahweh worship of Israel (cf. 2 Kings 17:21-41), and later, elements of Jewish Temple worship.

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