The last King of Israel, Hoshea, the son of Elah, did not send his annual tribute to Assyria and, instead, sent envoys to Shalmaneser, the king of Egypt, resulting in Sargon II of Assyria besieging the capital of Israel. Following Assyrian custom, the population of the conquered land was relocated to a different part of the empire. The Ten Tribes of Israel were exiled and lost.
Meanwhile, Hezekiah became King of Judah and returned the people to the worship of God, destroying the places of idol worship. He also rebelled against Assyria and was forced to pay huge tribute to Sennacherib. When Sennacherib and his army surrounded the walls of Jerusalem, Hezekiah received word from the prophet Isaiah that Jerusalem would not fall. That night, an angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers and the rest of the army fled.
Hezekiah’s son, Menasseh, reverted to idolatry. However, his grandson, Josiah, returned the nation to the ways of the Torah. He was killed on his way to join Egypt and Assyria in battling Babylon.
Judea was attacked by the Babylonians and became a vassal state. When King Je’ho’yachin rebelled, Nebuchadnezzer attacked and arrested the king. Nebuchadnezzer’s hand picked successor to the throne, King Zedekiah, also rebelled, resulting in the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzer. He breached the walls of Jerusalem, and captured, blinded and deported Zedekiah to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzer also deported the influential people and skilled workers from Jerusalem.
Finally, Nebuchadnezzer sent Nebuzaradan to Jerusalem who burned the Temple, palaces, houses and walls. He then looted the treasures of the Temple and exiled most of the population to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzer appointed Gedaliah to serve as governor over the remaining populace of Judah. Gedaliah, however, was assassinated by a fanatical scion of the royal house. Terrified of the reaction of Nebuchadnezzer, the populace fled to Egypt.
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