Royalty and Ruin


The Decline and Fall of Israel

The closing years of the kingdom of Israel saw violence and bloodshed beyond even the worst periods under Ahab’s dynasty. For two centuries the ten tribes had been sowing the wind; now they were reaping the whirlwind. King after king was assassinated. “They set up kings, but not by Me,” the Lord declared of the godless usurpers. “They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them.” Hosea 8:4. Those who should have stood before the nations of earth as the depositaries of divine grace “dealt treacherously with the Lord” and with one another. Hosea 5:7. RR 105.1

Through Hosea and Amos God sent message after message, urging repentance and threatening disaster. “You have plowed wickedness,” declared Hosea, “you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men.” “At dawn the king of Israel shall be cut off utterly.” Hosea 10:13, 15. Unable to discern the disastrous results their evil course would bring, the ten tribes were soon to be “wanderers among the nations.” Hosea 9:17. RR 105.2

Some leaders felt keenly their loss of prestige and wanted to get it back. But they continued in evil, deceiving themselves into thinking that they would get the political power they desired by alliances with the heathen—making “a covenant with the Assyrians.” Hosea 12:1. RR 105.3

The Lord had repeatedly shown the ten tribes the evils of disobedience. But in spite of reproof and appeals, Israel had sunk still lower in apostasy. The Lord declared, “My people are bent on backsliding from Me.” Hosea 11:7. RR 105.4

During the last half century before the Assyrian captivity, the iniquity in Israel was like that of the days of Noah. In their worship of Baal and Ashtoreth the people broke their connection with everything uplifting and ennobling and became an easy target for temptation. The misguided worshipers had no barrier against sin and yielded themselves to the evil passions of the human heart. RR 105.5

The prophets lifted their voices against the rampant oppression, flagrant injustice, the unbridled luxury and extravagance, the shameless feasting and drunkenness, and the gross immorality. But their protests were in vain. “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate,” declared Amos, “and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.” Amos 5:10. Finally nearly all the land’s inhabitants had given themselves over to the alluring practices of nature worship. Forgetting their Maker, Israel became “deeply corrupted.” Hosea 9:9. RR 105.6