2 Kings 17
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Hoshea Reigns over Israel

1In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned for nine years. 2He did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel who came before him. 3[a]Shalmaneser [V] king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant and paid him tribute (money). 4But the king of Assyria discovered a conspiracy in Hoshea, who sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; therefore the king of Assyria arrested him and bound him in prison.

5Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land [of Israel] and went up to [b]Samaria and besieged it for three years.

Israel Captive

6In the ninth year of Hoshea, [c]the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried [the people of] Israel into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and in Habor, by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Why Israel Fell

7Now this came about because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared [and worshiped] other gods 8and walked in the customs of the [pagan] nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons (descendants) of Israel, and in the pagan customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. 9The Israelites ascribed things to the LORD their God which were not true. They built for themselves high places [of worship] in all their towns, from [the lonely] lookout tower to the [populous] fortified city. 10They set up for themselves sacred pillars (memorial stones) and [d]Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree. 11There they burned incense on all the high places, just as the [pagan] nations whom the LORD had deported before them; and they did evil and contemptible things, provoking the LORD [to anger]. 12And they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, in accordance with all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” 14However they did not listen, but stiffened their necks as did their fathers who did not believe (trust in, rely on, remain steadfast to) the LORD their God. 15They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, as well as His warnings that he gave them. And they followed vanity [that is, false gods, idols] and became vain (empty-headed). They followed the [pagan practices of the] nations which surrounded them, although the LORD had commanded that they were not to do as they did. 16They abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; and they made an Asherah [idol] and worshiped all the [starry] host of heaven and served Baal. 17They made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire [as human sacrifices], and used divination [to foretell the future] and enchantments; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger. 18Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none [of the tribes] was left except the tribe of Judah.

19Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God either, but walked in the customs which Israel introduced. 20So the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel (Jacob) and [repeatedly] afflicted them and handed them over to plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.

21When He had torn Israel from the [royal] house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. 22For the Israelites walked in all the [idolatrous] sins which Jeroboam committed; they did not turn from them 23until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, just as He had foretold through all His servants the prophets. So Israel went into exile from their own land to Assyria to this day [the date of this writing].

Cities of Israel Filled with Strangers

24The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons (people) of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25Now when they began to live there, they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them. 26So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations whom you have sent into exile and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so He has sent lions among them, and they are killing them because they do not know the manner of [worship demanded by] the god of the land.”

27Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Take back [to Samaria] one of the priests whom you brought from there, and have him go and live there; and have him teach the people the custom of the god of the land.” 28So one of the priests whom they had exiled from Samaria came [back] and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear [and worship] the LORD.

29But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses (shrines) of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they lived. 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 Sepharvaim. 32They also feared the LORD and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods, following the custom of the nations from among whom they had been sent into exile.

34To this day they act in accordance with their former [pagan] customs: they do not [really] fear the LORD, nor do they obey their statutes and ordinances, nor the law, nor the commandments which the LORD commanded the sons (descendants) of Jacob, whom He named Israel; 35with whom the LORD had made a covenant and commanded them, saying, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them. 36But the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice. 37The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you [by the hand of Moses], you shall observe and do forever. You shall not fear (worship, serve) other gods. 38The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget; you shall not fear other gods. 39But the LORD your God you shall fear [and worship]; then He will rescue you from the hands of all your enemies.” 40However, they did not listen, but they acted in accordance with their former custom. 41So these nations [superficially] feared the LORD; they also served their idols, as did their children and their children’s children, just as their fathers did, so do they to this day [the date of this writing].

[a] 3 Shalmaneser V succeeded his father Tiglath-pileser III as king in 727 B.C. He ruled five years and was succeeded by Sargon II in 722 B.C.
[b] 5 Samaria was well-fortified and very difficult to conquer. The siege, led by Shalmaneser V, began in 725 B.C.
[c] 6 Sargon II seized the Assyrian throne after the death of Shalmaneser V and was in power when Samaria was finally captured.
[d] 10 Symbols of the goddess Asherah.

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