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Israel



Israel [Is'rael] Name given to Jacob after 'a man' had wrestled with him, to whom he clung when he was by him crippled. It signifies 'a Prince of God:' and it was said, "as a Prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." It thus indicated the way of Blessing with regard to the nation in which God's government in the earth was to be established. The Twelve sons of Jacob became the heads of the Twelve Tribes, and they and their descendants were called the Children of Israel, or simply Israel. At the division of the Kingdom, the ten Tribes were called 'Israel,' and the two Tribes 'Judah,' though this distinction is not at all times rigidly adhered to: thus the princes and kings of Judah are called princes of Israel, and kings of Israel. 2 Chr. 12: 5, 6; 2 Chr. 21: 2; 2 Chr. 28: 19. So those who returned from exile, though they were in the main of the two Tribes, are called people of Israel, or Israel. In the Prophets also, though the ten Tribes are not called Judah, the two Tribes are at times called Israel. The ten Tribes in the Prophets are often spoken of as Ephraim, which was the chief of the ten. Though Israel was reckoned as ten Tribes, it is most probable that the portion of Simeon, being situated on the extreme south, was united to Judah, as well as the territory of Dan in the S.W., though the people of Simeon may have scattered themselves among the other Tribes, and those of Dan have gone north and joined their tribe there. THE Kingdom OF ISRAEL commenced when Jeroboam was made king, to whom it was promised that his house should be established if he followed the Lord. He, on the contrary, to Prevent the people going to Jerusalem, immediately set up the Golden calves at Dan and at Bethel. The Kingdom was given up to Idolatry, and a series of judgements followed. Baasha murdered Jeroboam's son and successor; and his own son and successor was slain by Zimri; Zimri was killed by Omri, and after a civil war of four years with Tibni, Omri became king and reigned with his successors forty-five years, ending with Jehoram the son of Ahab. He and the survivors of the house of Ahab were slain by Jehu directly or indirectly, and Jehu began the 5th dynasty, B.C. 884. He and his successors reigned, with varying judgements upon them, for a hundred and Twelve years. Zachariah was the last, being the fourth successor of Jehu, as God had said, 2 Kings 15: 12: he reigned only six Months and was murdered by Shallum. During another fifty years the Kingdom was spared: but there was no Repentance. About B.C. 740 the two and a half Tribes east of the Jordan were carried into Captivity, and Israel became tributary to Assyria. Hoshea murdered Pekah, and after nine years of anarchy succeeded to the Throne. He revolted against Assyria, trusting to Egypt; but Samaria was taken, and Israel carried into Captivity. Thus ended the Kingdom of Israel, B.C. 721. From about B.C. 784 to 725 Hosea was God's Prophet in Israel. He solemnly pleaded with them, protesting against their evil ways, and was ever ready to help them to turn to God, though his efforts were, alas, in vain. 2 Kings 17: 13-18; Hosea 13: 16; Hosea 14: 1-9. Israel when carried away were placed in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan (in the neighbourhood of the river Khabour, an affluent of the river Euphrates), and in the Cities of the Medes. As far as is known they never returned, though doubtless individuals found their way back in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and in the four hundred years that followed before the Lord appeared. Jews from those districts were present on the day of Pentecost; but as a body they are still commonly regarded as 'the Lost Tribes.' God knows where to find them when His set time of Blessing arrives. The Twelve Tribes surely exist, and remnants of them will again come into the land. Ezek. 48: 1-29; Matt. 19: 28; Acts 26: 7; James 1: 1; Rev. 7: 5-8. The ten Tribes will be dealt with differently from the two, who were in the land when the Lord was presented to them, and who rejected Him, and demanded His Crucifixion. The ten Tribes will, by a mighty hand and with fury poured out, be brought into the Wilderness, and there God will plead with them, cause them to pass under the rod, and bring them into the bond of the Covenant; but the rebels will be purged out. Ezek. 20: 31-38. The question as to the wounds in the hands of the Lord, which He received in the house of His 'friends' is connected with Judah, who will be judged when in the land, and only one third of them after being refined, will be owned as God's people. Zech. 13: 6-9. When God thus purges and restores a Remnant of all the Tribes, and brings them into full Blessing in the land, the name of ISRAEL will embrace them all as it did at the first, and God will be their God for evermore. Ezek. 37: 1-28.

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