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King Hoshea of Israel

17 Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz’s rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. Hoshea disobeyed the Lord and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.

During Hoshea’s rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria[a] invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.

Samaria Is Destroyed and the Israelites Are Taken to Assyria

Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea’s rule. The Assyrian king[b] took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived.

All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshiped foreign gods, followed the customs of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the Lord their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel—from small towns to large, walled cities. 10 They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles[c] for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11 They offered sacrifices at the shrines,[d] just as the foreign nations had done before the Lord forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the Lord very angry.

12 Even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols,[e] they did it anyway. 13 So the Lord made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: “I, the Lord, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you.”

14 But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the Lord their God. 15 They ignored the Lord’s warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The Lord had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.

16 The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the Lord their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshiped the stars and the god Baal. 17 They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the Lord hated. 18 The Lord became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.

Only the people living in Judah were left, 19 but they also disobeyed the Lord’s commands and acted like the Israelites. 20 So the Lord turned his back on everyone in Israel and Judah[f] and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left.

21 Earlier, when the Lord took the northern tribes away from David’s family,[g] the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshiping the Lord. 22 The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23 until the Lord got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets.

That’s why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that’s where they remained.

Foreigners Are Resettled in Israel

24 The king of Assyria took people who were living in the cities of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and forced them to move to Israel. They took over the towns where the Israelites had lived, including the capital city of Samaria.

25 At first these people did not worship the Lord, so he sent lions to attack them, and the lions killed some of them. 26 A messenger told the king of Assyria, “The people you moved to Israel don’t know how to worship the god of that country. So he sent lions that have attacked and killed some of them.”

27 The king replied, “Get one of the Israelite priests we brought here and send him back to Israel. He can live there and teach them about the god of that country.” 28 One of the Israelite priests was chosen to go back to Israel. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the Lord.

29 But in towns all over Israel, the different groups of people made statues of their own gods, then they placed these idols in local Israelite[h] shrines. 30 The people from Babylonia made the god Succoth-Benoth; those from Cuthah made the god Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their children to their own gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32-33 They worshiped their own gods, just as they had before they were taken away to Israel. They also worshiped the Lord, but they chose their own people to be priests at the shrines. 34 Everyone followed their old customs. None of them worshiped only the Lord, and they refused to obey the laws and commands that the Lord had given to the descendants of Jacob, the man he named Israel. 35 At the time when the Lord had made his solemn agreement with the people of Israel, he told them:

Do not worship any other gods! Do not bow down to them or offer them a sacrifice. 36 Worship only me! I am the one who rescued you from Egypt with my mighty power. Bow down to me and offer sacrifices. 37 Never worship any other god, always obey my laws and teachings, 38 and remember the solemn agreement between us.

I will say it again: Do not worship any god 39 except me. I am the Lord your God, and I will rescue you from all your enemies.

40 But the people living in Israel ignored that command and kept on following their old customs. 41 They did worship the Lord, but they also worshiped their own idols. Their descendants did the same thing.

Footnotes

  1. 17.3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria: The son of Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 727 to 722 B.C.
  2. 17.6 The Assyrian king: Probably Sargon, Shalmaneser’s successor. Shalmaneser died after the city of Samaria was captured (722 B.C.) but before the people were taken away as prisoners (720 B.C.). Sargon ruled Assyria from 721 to 705 B.C.
  3. 17.10 sacred poles: See the note at 13.6,7.
  4. 17.11 shrines: See the note at 12.3.
  5. 17.12 the Lord. . . idols: See Exodus 20.4,5.
  6. 17.20 Israel and Judah: Or “Israel,” that is, the northern kingdom only.
  7. 17.21 when the Lord. . . family: See 1 Kings 11.29-39.
  8. 17.29 Israelite: The Hebrew text has “Samaritan,” which is a later word to describe the people who lived in northern Israel at this time.

Hoshea Last King of Israel(A)

17 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea(B) son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years. He did evil(C) in the eyes of the Lord, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.

Shalmaneser(D) king of Assyria came up to attack Hoshea, who had been Shalmaneser’s vassal and had paid him tribute.(E) But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was a traitor, for he had sent envoys to So[a] king of Egypt,(F) and he no longer paid tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore Shalmaneser seized him and put him in prison.(G) The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege(H) to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria(I) captured Samaria(J) and deported(K) the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan(L) on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.

Israel Exiled Because of Sin

All this took place because the Israelites had sinned(M) against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt(N) from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations(O) the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city(P) they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones(Q) and Asherah poles(R) on every high hill and under every spreading tree.(S) 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. 12 They worshiped idols,(T) though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”[b] 13 The Lord warned(U) Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers:(V) “Turn from your evil ways.(W) Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”(X)

14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked(Y) as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant(Z) he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols(AA) and themselves became worthless.(AB) They imitated the nations(AC) around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”

16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves,(AD) and an Asherah(AE) pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts,(AF) and they worshiped Baal.(AG) 17 They sacrificed(AH) their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens(AI) and sold(AJ) themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.

18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence.(AK) Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.(AL) 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers,(AM) until he thrust them from his presence.(AN)

21 When he tore(AO) Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king.(AP) Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin.(AQ) 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them 23 until the Lord removed them from his presence,(AR) as he had warned(AS) through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland(AT) into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.

Samaria Resettled

24 The king of Assyria(AU) brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim(AV) and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. 25 When they first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions(AW) among them and they killed some of the people. 26 It was reported to the king of Assyria: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”

27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.

29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns(AX) where they settled, and set them up in the shrines(AY) the people of Samaria had made at the high places.(AZ) 30 The people from Babylon made Sukkoth Benoth, those from Kuthah made Nergal, and those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelek(BA) and Anammelek, the gods of Sepharvaim.(BB) 32 They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts(BC) of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.(BD) 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship(BE) any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.(BF) 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm,(BG) is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful(BH) to keep the decrees(BI) and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget(BJ) the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord,(BK) they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Kings 17:4 So is probably an abbreviation for Osorkon.
  2. 2 Kings 17:12 Exodus 20:4,5

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