Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

2 Kings 17, 2 Kings 24-25

Story Summary

Before we start this story, let's retrace our steps back to the beginning of the Kings age in Israel. Saul was Israel's first king, but was removed by God when he became disobedient. David was the second king of Israel and built the Kingdom of Israel into a powerhouse nation, established its capitol in Jerusalem and laid the plans for the building of the temple. Solomon, David's son and the third king of Israel, built the temple but in his later years turned away from God to the idols of his many foreign wives and concubines. He also drove the Israelites hard and demanded much from them as he built the temple. Reheboam, Solomon's son, was even harsher to the people, and 10 northern tribes rebelled and established Jereboam as their king. 

And so the kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms: The Southern Kingdom, or Judah, with Jerusalem as its capitol, and comprised mostly of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; and The Northern Kingdom, or Israel, with Samaria as its capitol and comprised of the other 10 tribes. Judah had a mix of good and bad kings. Israel had 100% bad kings who disobeyed God, worshiped false Gods and generally led the Northern Kingdom into chaos. There were many prophets who tried to bring God's message to both Judah and Israel, with only limited success.

The Northern Kingdom (Israel) and Assyrian Captivity

So, now we find ourselves in 2 Kings 17. Hoshea is the last king of Israel. Again, he was a bad king and didn't follow God, but 2 Kings 17:2 tells us that at least he wasn't quite as bad as the others who came before him. The King of Assyria began to attack Israel and eventually he overtook Samaria and carried away many of the people of Israel to Assyria. Then the King of Assyria took other people from other countries and settled them into the towns around Samaria so those who were left in Israel would be diluted and would lose their identity as Israel. It worked. Even though the people of Israel still worshiped God, they also chose to worship all the gods of the people who came to live in their land until eventually they barely resembled the nation established by God through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Read 2 Kings 17:7-23 for a very concise description of how Israel fell.

To this day, Israel (or the Northern Kingdom) is referred to as the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel because after the Assyrian captivity, those 10 tribes completely intermixed with other nations and ceased to exist as a nation. They were completely wiped off the map as a nation because of God's judgment of them. In the New Testament, this intermixed group are known as the Samaritans. They were greatly disliked by the Jews (Those from the southern tribe of Judah) and were thought of as half-breeds. 

Remember the Jonah story? Jonah hated the Ninevites, but was called to preach a message of judgment to them. Ninevah was a major city in Assyria. The king at the time repented and decided to follow God, but it wasn't long after that they changed their mind and attacked Israel. 

The Southern Kingdom (Judah) and Babylonian Captivity

Reading 2 Kings 17, we see that Israel wasn't the only kingdom that disobeyed God. Judah also disobeyed and was captured by a foreign kingdom, this time by Babylon about 150 years after the Assyrians conquered Israel.

Josiah (remember the boy king?) was one of the last good kings of Judah. After him Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim who both led Judah astray. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon at the time and he attacked Jerusalem. He took control over Jerusalem and Jehoiakim became his subject. The next king of Judah was Jehoiachin and he was evil too. Nebuchadnezzar then attacked Jerusalem, took King Jehoiachin away to Babylon, removed everything valuable from the temple, and then took everyone but the poorest people from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiachin from power and installed his uncle Zedekiah to be king in his place, all the while trying to control everything they did in Jerusalem. Zedekiah rebelled against the King of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar then ordered his army to beseige Jerusalem. They surrounded the city for 1 1/2 years until it was in a state of crisis with no food. Finally, the Babylonian army broke through the walls of Jerusalem and Judah's army scattered in fear. The Babylonian army ransacked the city, destroyed the temple Solomon built and burned the royal palace David built. They destroyed all the important buildings in the city and tore down the walls of Jerusalem. They carried away all of the people of Jerusalem to Babylon, except the poorest of the poor.

In upcoming lessons, we will learn about some of the things that happened to the Jews (those from Judah) while they were in captivity.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheet

Assyrian & Babylonian Exile Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts the Israelites being led away from their city to captivity


1. Warm Up get your kids talking and engaged

Have you ever moved cities? What was it like?

Today, we are going to learn about a time when the Israelites were forced to move from their cities to foreign countries.

2. Teach the Story teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud 2 Kings 17:7-23

4. Comprehension Questions make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Which kingdom
  • Judah or Israel) was captured first? (Israel
  • Who captured Israel?
  • Assyria
  • What city was the capitol of Israel?
  • Samaria
  • What did he force the Israelites to do?
  • Move to Assyria, be "exiled"
  • What did he do to the cities they left behind?
  • He forced people from other countries to move to those cities so they wouldn't be Israelite cities anymore
  • What happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel after they were carried away to Assyria?
  • They ceased to be a nation and to this day, they have never been a nation again
  • Who captured Judah?
  • Babylonia
  • What city was the capitol of Judah?
  • Jerusalem
  • Who was the king of Babylonia who captured Jerusalem?
  • Nebuchadnezzar
  • How did Nebuchadnezzar capture Jerusalem?
  • He besieged it for a year and half until they had no more food

5. Faith Questions open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer

  • The Israelites became a scattered people during the exile period. But God was still keeping his promise through the Kingdom of Judah that he would be their king forever. That is King Jesus and he is our king today, even though we don't live in Israel.
  • Is Jesus your King? Do you know how to make him King of your life?

6. Memory Verse hide God's Word in their heart

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:11-12

Reinforcement Activities

Scattering Pepper

Heads up! This is a repeat activity from lesson 15
Scripture Finally, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. It was in the ninth year of Hoshea. The king of Assyria took the people of Israel away from their own land. He sent them off to Assyria. He settled some of them in Halah. He settled others in Gozan on the Habor River. And he settled still others in the towns of the Medes. 2 Kings 17:6
Supplies bowl of water, pepper, dish soap
  • The Exile of Judah to Babylon is called the "diaspora", from the Greek word meaning "dispersion". The people of Judah were scattered in Babylon
  • Add water to a bowl.
  • Place pepper gently on top of water, so it floats.
  • Stick your finger straight down into the water. Nothing happens.
  • Add a drop of dish soap onto your finger. Place your finger straight into the bowl again.
  • The pepper moves away from the dish soap.

The End of Israel Craft

Scripture The people of Israel were stubborn. They continued to commit all of the sins Jeroboam had committed. They didn't turn away from them. So the Lord removed them from his land. That's what he had warned them he would do. He had given that warning through all of his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken away from their country. They were forced to go to Assyria. And that's where they still are. 2 Kings 17:22-23
Supplies Craft sheet (see below), crayons, scotch tape (if necessary), scissors
  • Print the craft sheet (see below). The sheet is 2 pages long.
  • Print them front and back (duplex) if you have a printer that can do so.
  • If your printer cannot print front and back, print two pages and tape them together back to back.
  • Have the children fill in the appropriate name at the top of both pages: Israel for "the kingdom that was conquered" and Assyria for "the kingdom that conquered"
  • Then have them decorate the stick figures for each sheet differently (for example, using different colors)
  • On the Assyrian side, cut the rectangles on the dotted lines (the teacher may have to do this for younger students)
  • Fold the piece of paper over so the Assyrian side covers the Israel side, but you will still be able to see the Israel stick figures through the holes on the Assyrian side.

Blending In

Supplies Clear glass of water, food coloring
  • As you begin to tell the story of the Israelites being exiled and mixed up with the Assyrians, put a drop or two of food coloring in the water. At first, the color is distinct and the water is distinct. As class goes on, the water all turns colored and blends together. When the Northern Kingdom was captured by Assyria, they were mixed up until there were no distinct followers of the One, True God. God's people were gone. This activity will help kids understand why blending in and losing their identity was a terrible thing.

Capture the flag

Scripture 2 Kings 24:10-15
Supplies large play space, 2 flags
  • Each team must decide where to place its flag. Once placed, it cannot be moved, although it can be guarded. Those guarding their own flag may not enter the safety zone around the flag unless in pursuit of an opposing team member.
  • Team members are assigned to guard their own flag or try to capture the other team's flag.
  • Any player in enemy territory can be caught and put in jail.
  • Prisoners can be released by being tagged by a teammate, but only one prisoner can be rescued at a time.
  • A team wins the game by capturing the other team's flag and bringing it back to their home territory.
  • If a flag is taken, but is recaptured before reaching the opponents' territory, the flag is placed where it was recaptured.

Object lesson: Salty Israelites

Scripture The people of Israel were stubborn. They continued to commit all of the sins Jeroboam had committed. They didn't turn away from them. So the Lord removed them from his land. That's what he had warned them he would do. He had given that warning through all of his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken away from their country. They were forced to go to Assyria. And that's where they still are. 2 Kings 17:22-23
Supplies a clear glass of warm water, salt
  • Place the glass of water in front of the Students and a small cup of salt.
  • Explain that they Assyrians are the water and the salt is the Israelites.
  • The Assyrians took the Israelites and made them settle in Assyria.
  • Pour the salt into the water.
  • The Israelites became a part of the Assyrians.
  • Stir up the water.
  • They were still existed, but eventually could not be distinguished from the Assyrians.
  • In the same way, you can not see the salt that is in the water.
  • Allow students to dip a finger in water and taste the salty water.

Israelite History Quiz #2

Heads up! The first Israelite History Quiz was in the Deborah & the Judges lesson
  • Use the Israelite History Quiz below to help your children retrace the history of the Israelites from the time of the Kings, through the Divided Kingdom and the Prophets right up to the time when both Israel and Judah became exiled.
  • If you wish, you can go back to the Deborah & the Judges lesson to include questions from the first quiz as well.