The Deep End

Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”
The LORD also spoke to me again, saying:
“Inasmuch as these people refused
The waters of Shiloah that flow softly,
And rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son;
Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them
The waters of the River, strong and mighty—
The king of Assyria and all his glory;
He will go up over all his channels
And go over all his banks.
He will pass through Judah,
He will overflow and pass over,
He will reach up to the neck;
And the stretching out of his wings
Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel. (Isaiah 8:5-10)

Israel was up the creek without a paddle. Rezin was the king of Damascus who had been paying tribute to the king of Assyria for years. Tired of paying the annual fees, he finally organized a rebellion against Assyria. But the Assyrians crushed it and executed him. Remaliah was the father of Pekah, an official of Pekahiah, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Remaliah’s son Pekah assassinated Pekahiah and became king in his place. Then he joined Rezin’s ill-fated rebellion against Assyria. Later, Hoshea murdered Pekah and became king in his place, only to rebel in turn a few years later. Assyria then destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel just as it had destroyed Rezin’s Damascus. Shiloah, also called Siloam was a reservoir within Jerusalem that fed from the spring of Gihon. The water of this reservoir was the city’s principal source of water. King Hezekiah of Judah had built a tunnel connecting the spring with that reservoir.

God criticized the people of Israel for putting their faith in those rulers—Rezin and Remaliah’s son—rather than putting their faith in God. God used Shiloah’s waters metaphorically. The northern tribes had rejected Jerusalem. They had rejected Jerusalem’s king, a descendent of David, and they had rejected Jerusalem’s God, worshiping instead the calf idols that Jeroboam, Israel’s first king, had established. In rejecting the peace that God could have brought them, the people of Israel instead embraced the destruction from Assyria.

We too easily cast away God’s truth in exchange for the world’s lies. Only in the end, do we realize how empty those lies inevitably are.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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