The last six kings (753-721) of the northern kingdom ruled in evil times as their four-generation society of oppression and violence engulfed their culture. The fifth cycle of judgment culminated in this “fourth generation” with the invasion of the Assyrians, the destruction of Israel’s capital city Samaria and the deportation of many Israelites to foreign lands.
Four of the last six kings of Israel were assassinated. The last king was taken prisoner by Assyrian king Shalmaneser.
Zechariah, the fifth generation of Jehu’s dynasty, replaced his father Jeroboam II and reigned only six months. Shallum attacked and killed Zechariah at a public gathering.
Shallum then reigned one month in Samaria and then Menahem from Tirzah attacked and killed him. (Map HERE)
Menahem faced a new threat coming from the north of the now subdued Aram. The Assyrians led by King Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul in the NIV) invaded the land. Menahem gave him 37 tons of silver to guarantee his position on the throne. (Map HERE) This political expense was passed on to the people as a 1 ¼ pound tax of silver. Menahem reigned for ten years and died in 742 BC.
Pekahiah, son of Menahem, reigned for two years. One of his officers, Pekah, son of Remaliah, took fifty men into the most secure part of the palace, the royal citadel, and killed Pekahiah. (Map HERE)
Pekah, son of Remaliah, (mentioned in Isaiah 7:4-10) lost several of his northern cities (Map HERE) to Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria. After twenty years Pekah was assassinated by Hoshea who replaced him as king.
Hoshea began reigning in 731 BC. He was a vassal king for the rising Assyrian empire. The new Assyrian king, Shalmaneser, discovered that Hoshea had sent ambassadors to So the king of
Egypt. When Hoshea stopped paying tribute Shalmaneser put him in prison in 724 BC.
Shalmaneser then invaded the land of Israel and led a three year Assyrian siege against Samaria.
In 721 BC the Assyrians captured Samaria and deported (Map HERE) the Israelites of Israel into Assyria and dispersed them throughout the Assyrian Empire. Many of the Israelites from the
northern kingdom of Israel fled for refuge in Hezekiah's southern kingdom of Judah. It was at
this time Hezekiah expanded the walls of Jerusalem to protect these new settlers on the
west hill or western ridge of Jerusalem (or, today what is called Mount Zion and the
Jewish Quarter of the Old City.) (Map HERE) (See photo of the remains of this wall Hezekiah built to protect the refugees from northern Israel fleeing to Jerusalem HERE.)