The transgressions of the half tribe of Manasseh (1 Chr 5:25-5:26)

“But the half tribe of Manasseh transgressed against the God of their ancestors. They prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of King Pul of Assyria, the spirit of King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. He carried them away, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.”

The Assyrian captivity seems to be blamed on the half tribe of Manasseh only. They served the gods of the land they took over. However, they were so far from Jerusalem, it would not seem feasible that they would go to Jerusalem. They seem to have transgressed the same as the other people of Israel and the people of Judah. King Pul was a real character, also known as Tiglath-pileser III, the king of Babylon and Assyria who lived in the 8th century BCE, as the founder of the 2nd Assyrian Empire (745-727 BCE) so that King Tiglath-pileser III and King Pul are the same person. He had originally accepted money from King Menahem (743-738) of Israel as in 2 Kings, chapter 15. However, when the next few kings refused to pay, the king of Assyria invaded all the land. He carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan. It is not clear whether this east area was taken before the west area of Israel in 721 under the new king of Assyria, King Sargon II (722-705 BCE). However, they both ended up in the same places Halah, Habor, Hara and the Gozan River in central Asia in the Mesopotamian area. Halah and Habor were mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 17, but Hara has been added here and not found elsewhere in biblical literature.  This biblical author seems to indicate that the half-tribe of Manasseh never returned from the Exile.

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