v 18 Because the Lord was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land.
This is the point in history when the nation of Israel ceased to exist as the 12 tribes in the land God had promised them. Judah, with Jerusalem, was all that was left. The reason is clear, the nation had wandered from God’s ways and had reverted to idol worship like the other nations around them. By Jesus’ time this area of land was always referred to as Samaria, and ‘proper’ Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. (Hence the notion of a ‘Good Samaritan’ in Jesus’ story would have struck the hearers as extraordinary.)
This does not mark the beginning of the exile – that will have to wait for another 100 years or so. But this leaves Judah vulnerable to foreign invasion. The question is – will Judah learn the lesson of Israel’s failure to honour God?