[ Israel Captive ] In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (NASB)
Before the events in this Scripture, at the fifteen year mark, Assyria captured part of East Manassas, all of Naphtali and part of Asher. In other words, they came at the northernmost tribes and drove a wedge down the middle of Israel. This gave them control of the Jordan and the inland lakes, such as the Sea of Galilee.
Seeing how things were headed, the latest king of Israel (they changed kings fairly quickly during the Assyrian years) increased the tribute to Assyria and swore allegiance. That only worked for so long.
The next king was a puppet king, put on the throne by Assyria. But when he betrayed them with a treaty with a rival kingdom, they came down in force, besieged Samaria for three years and then took over all of Israel. All of the people of the northern tribes, including Asher, were resettled in other parts of the Assyrian empire… never to return.
But wait, Anna was part of Asher! How did that work?
There was the miracle of timing and obedience. That miracle allowed Anna her heritage.
In the south, in Judah, King Hezekiah ruled at this point. He was one of the more godly kings. In addition to many of his other efforts to restore faith in God and appropriate worship, he led the compilation of more of Solomon’s proverbs and led the scribes to gather all the other Scriptures. By reading the Word of God, Hezekiah learned the proper way to celebrate Passover. He had the priests cleanse and prepare the temple. Then he issues a proclamation calling the people to come and observe the season in honor of the Lord.
Then, under the inspiration of prayer, Hezekiah went beyond that. He sent a personal under his seal to all of the tribes of the northern kingdom.
2 chronicles 30:9-12 “For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him. So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.”
Did you get that? Some men of Asher came down in obedience to God’s call. I don’t think it accidental that they came from the tribes near the front with Assyria. They could see the danger at their door.
While they were worshipping in Jerusalem with their families, the rest of Israel lost the fight and were taken away.
Years before Anna was born, God prompted one of her forefathers to worship in truth at the Lord’s temple. That step saved him, his family and those who would come after him.
God went to amazing lengths to make sure Anna would be there in the temple on the eighth day to see, hold and testify to the mission of His holy son.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas