2 Kings 17
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Hoshea the Last King of Israel

1In the twelfth year of the reign of Ahaz over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria nine years. 2And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.

3Shalmaneser king of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. 4But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea had conspired to send envoys to King Soa of Egypt, and that he had not paid tribute to the king of Assyria as in previous years. Therefore the king of Assyria arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.

Israel Exiled Because of Idolatry

5Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land, marched up to Samaria, and besieged it for three years.

6In the ninth year of the reign of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried away the Israelites to Assyria, where he settled them in Halah, in Gozan by the Habor River, and in the cities of the Medes.

7All this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods, 8and they had walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the Israelites, as well as in the practices introduced by the kings of Israel.

9The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city, they built high places in all their cities. 10They set up for themselves sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11They burned incense on all the high places like the nations whom the LORD had driven out before them. They did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger. 12They served idols, although the LORD had told them, “You shall not do this.”b

13Yet through all His prophets and seers, the LORD warned Israel and Judah, saying, “Turn from your wicked ways and keep My commandments and statutes, according to the entire Law that I commanded your forefathers and delivered to you through My servants the prophets.”

14But they would not listen, and they stiffened their necks like their fathers, who did not believe the LORD their God. 15They rejected His statutes and the covenant He had made with their fathers, as well as the decrees He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and themselves became worthless, going after the surrounding nations the LORD had commanded them not to imitate.

16They abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves two cast idols of calves and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the firec and practiced divination and soothsaying. They devoted themselves to doing evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.

18So the LORD was very angry with Israel, and He removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained, 19and even Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but lived according to the customs Israel had introduced. 20So the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel. He afflicted them and delivered them into the hands of plunderers, until He had banished them from His presence.

21When the LORD had torn Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king, and Jeroboam led Israel away from following the LORD and caused them to commit a great sin. 22The Israelites persisted in all the sins that Jeroboam committed and did not turn away from them. 23Finally, the LORD removed Israel from His presence, as He had declared through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their homeland into Assyria, where they are to this day.

Israel's Cities Resettled by Foreigners

24Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns.

25Now when the settlers first lived there, they did not worship the LORD, so He sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The peoples that you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land. Because of this, He has sent lions among them, which are indeed killing them off.”

27Then the king of Assyria commanded: “Send back one of the priests you carried off from Samaria, and have him go back to live there and teach the requirements of the God of the land.”

28Thus one of the priests they had carried away came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should worship the LORD.

29Nevertheless, the people of each nation continued to make their own gods in the cities where they had settled, and they set them up in the shrines that the people of Samaria had made on the high places. 30The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of the Sepharvaim.

32So the new residents worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed for themselves priests of all sorts to serve in the shrines of the high places. 33They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods according to the customs of the nations from which they had been carried away.

34To this day they are still practicing their former customs. None of them worship the LORD or observe the statutes, ordinances, laws, and commandments that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom He named Israel.

35For the LORD had made a covenant with the Israelites and commanded them, “Do not worship other gods or bow down to them; do not serve them or sacrifice to them. 36Instead, worship the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him and offer sacrifices to Him. 37And you must always be careful to observe the statutes, ordinances, laws, and commandments He wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38Do not forget the covenant I have made with you. Do not worship other gods, 39but worship the LORD your God, and He will deliver you from the hands of all your enemies.”

40But they would not listen, and they persisted in their former customs. 41So these nations worshiped the LORD but also served their idols, and to this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.

Footnotes:

4 a So is probably an abbreviation for Osorkon
12 b Exodus 20:4,5
17 c Or made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire

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