GOD'S WORD® Translation
1In Ahaz's twelfth year as king of Judah, Hoshea, son of Elah, began to rule as king of Israel in Samaria. He ruled for nine years. 2He did what the LORD considered evil, but he didn't do what the kings of Israel before him had done. 3King Shalmaneser of Assyria defeated Hoshea, who became his servant and was required to make annual payments to him. 4The king of Assyria found Hoshea to be a traitor. (Hoshea had sent messengers to King Dais of Egypt and had stopped making annual payments to the king of Assyria.) So the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison.
5Then the king of Assyria attacked the entire country. He attacked Samaria and blockaded it for three years.
6In Hoshea's ninth year as king of Israel, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and took the Israelites to Assyria as captives. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7The Israelites sinned against the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt [and rescued them] from the power of Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). They worshiped other gods 8and lived by the customs of the nations that the LORD had forced out of the Israelites' way. They also did what their kings wanted them to do. 9The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God that weren't right: They built for themselves illegal places of worship in all of their cities, from the [smallest] watchtower to the [largest] fortified city. 10They set up sacred stones and poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah on every high hill and under every large tree. 11At all the illegal places of worship, they sacrificed in the same way as the nations that the LORD had removed from the land ahead of them. They did evil things and made the LORD furious. 12They served idols, although the LORD had said, "Never do this." 13The LORD had warned Israel and Judah through every kind of prophet and seer, "Turn from your evil ways, and obey my commands and decrees as I commanded your ancestors in all my teachings, the commands I sent to you through my servants the prophets." 14But they refused to listen. They became as impossible to deal with as their ancestors who refused to trust the LORD their God. 15They rejected his decrees, the promise he made to their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They went after worthless idols and became as worthless as the idols. They behaved like the nations around them, although the LORD had commanded them not to do that. 16They abandoned all the commands of the LORD their God: They made two calves out of cast metal. They made a pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah. They prayed to the entire army of heaven. They worshiped Baal. 17They sacrificed their sons and daughters by burning them alive. They practiced black magic and cast evil spells. They sold themselves by doing what the LORD considered evil, and they made him furious. 18The LORD became so angry with Israel that he removed them from his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left.
19Even Judah didn't obey the commands of the LORD their God but lived according to Israel's customs. 20So the LORD rejected all of Israel's descendants, made them suffer, handed them over to those who looted their property, and finally turned away from Israel.
21When he tore Israel away from the family of David, the people of Israel made Jeroboam (Nebat's son) king. Jeroboam forced Israel away from the LORD and led them to commit a serious sin. 22The Israelites followed all the sins Jeroboam committed and never turned away from them. 23Finally, the LORD turned away from Israel as he had said he would through all his servants, the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their land to Assyria as captives, and they are still there today.
24The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its cities. 25When they first came to live there, they didn't worship the LORD. So the LORD sent lions to kill some of them. 26Then someone said to the king of Assyria, "The people you took as captives and settled in the cities of Samaria don't know the customs of the god of that country, so he sent lions. Now the lions are killing them because they don't know the customs of the god of this country."
27The king of Assyria gave this command: "Bring one of the priests you captured from there. Let him go back to teach them the customs of the god of that country." 28So one of the priests who had been taken prisoner from Samaria went to live in Bethel. He taught them how to worship the LORD.
29But each group [that settled in Samaria] continued to make its own gods. They put them at the illegal places of worship, which the people of Samaria had made. Each group did this in the cities where they lived: 30The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth. The people from Cuth made Nergal. The people from Hamath made Ashima. 31The people from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak. The people from Sepharvaim burned their children for Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32So while these people were worshiping the LORD, they also appointed all kinds of people to serve as priests for the shrines at their illegal places of worship. 33They worshiped the LORD but also served their own gods according to the customs of the nations from which they had come.
34Today they are still following their customs, as they've done from the beginning. They don't fear the LORD or live by the decrees, customs, teachings, or commands that the LORD gave to the descendants of Jacob (whom he named Israel). 35When the LORD made a promise to Israel, he commanded, "Never worship other gods, bow down to them, serve them, or sacrifice to them. 36Instead, worship the LORD, who used his great power and a mighty arm to bring you out of Egypt. Bow down to the LORD, and sacrifice to him. 37Faithfully obey the laws, rules, teachings, and commands that he wrote for you: 'Never worship other gods. 38Never forget the promise I made to you. Never worship other gods. 39Instead, worship the LORD your God, and he will rescue you from your enemies.'" 40The people of Israel had refused to listen and made up their own rules, as they had done from the beginning. 41These [other] nations worshiped the LORD but also served their own idols. So did their children and their grandchildren. They still do whatever their ancestors did.