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Hoshea, Last King of Israel

17 Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. This was during Ahaz’s twelfth year as king of Judah. Hoshea ruled in Samaria nine years. He did what the Lord said was wrong. But he was not as bad as the kings of Israel who had ruled before him.

Shalmaneser king of Assyria came to attack Hoshea. Hoshea had been Shalmaneser’s servant. He had made the payments to Shalmaneser that he had demanded. But the king of Assyria found out that Hoshea had made plans against him. Hoshea had sent messengers to So, the king of Egypt. And Hoshea had quit giving Shalmaneser the payments he demanded. In the past Hoshea had paid him every year. So the king put Hoshea in prison. Then the king of Assyria came and attacked all the land of Israel. He surrounded Samaria and attacked it for three years. He defeated Samaria in the ninth year Hoshea was king. He took the Israelites away to Assyria. He settled some of them in Halah. Some were made to settle in Gozan on the Habor River. Others were settled in the cities of the Medes.

Israelites Punished for Sin

All these things happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God. He had brought them out of Egypt. He had rescued them from the power of the king of Egypt. But the Israelites had honored other gods. They lived like the nations the Lord had forced out of the land ahead of them. They also lived as the evil kings had shown them. They secretly sinned against the Lord their God. They built places in all their cities where false gods were worshiped. They built them everywhere from the watchtower to the strong, walled city. 10 They put up stone pillars for worshiping false gods. And they put up Asherah idols on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 The Israelites burned incense everywhere false gods were worshiped. The nations who lived there before them had done this. And the Lord had forced them out of the land. The Israelites did wicked things that made the Lord angry. 12 They served idols. And the Lord had said, “You must not do this.” 13 The Lord used every prophet and seer to warn Israel and Judah. He said, “Stop your evil ways. Obey my commands and laws. Follow all the teachings that I commanded your ancestors to obey. I sent you this law through my servants the prophets.”

14 But the people would not listen. They were stubborn, just as their ancestors had been. Their ancestors did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected the Lord’s laws and the agreement he had made with their ancestors. And they refused to listen to his warnings. They worshiped useless idols and became useless themselves. They did what the nations around them did. And the Lord had warned them not to do this.

16 The people disobeyed all the commands of the Lord their God. They made statues of two calves from melted metal. And they made an Asherah idol. They worshiped all the stars of heaven and served Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. And they tried to find out the future by magic and witchcraft. They always chose to do what the Lord said was wrong. And this made him angry. 18 So he was very angry with the people of Israel. He removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left.

Judah Is Also Guilty

19 But even Judah did not obey the commands of the Lord their God. They did what the Israelites had done. 20 So the Lord rejected all the people of Israel. He punished them and let people destroy them. He threw them out of his presence. 21 The Lord separated them from the family of David. And the Israelites made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam led the Israelites away from following the Lord. He caused them to sin greatly. 22 So they continued to do all the sins Jeroboam did. They did not stop doing these sins 23 until the Lord removed the people from his presence. This was just as he had said he would do. He had said this through all his servants the prophets. So the Israelites were taken out of their land to Assyria. And they have been there to this day.

The Beginning of the Samaritan People

24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim. He put them in the cities of Samaria to replace the Israelites. These people took over Samaria and lived in the cities. 25 At first they did not worship the Lord. So he sent lions among them. The lions killed some of them. 26 The king of Assyria was told this. It was said, “You sent foreigners into the cities of Samaria. They do not know the law of the god of the land. This is why that land’s god has sent lions among them. The lions are killing them because they don’t know what the god wants.”

27 Then the king of Assyria gave a command. He said, “You took Samaria’s priests away. Send back one of the priests to live there. Let him teach them what the god wants.” 28 So one of the priests who had been carried away from Samaria returned. He came to live in Bethel. And he taught the people how to worship the Lord.

29 But each nation made gods of its own. They put them in the cities where they lived. They put them in the temples where false gods were worshiped. These temples had been made by the Samaritans. 30 The men from Babylon made Succoth Benoth their god. The men from Cuthah worshiped Nergal. The men of Hamath worshiped Ashima. 31 The Avvites worshiped Nibhaz and Tartak. And the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire. They sacrificed them to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 They also worshiped the Lord. But they chose priests for the places where false gods were worshiped. The priests were chosen from among themselves. And they made sacrifices for the people. 33 The people worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods. They served their gods as the nations did from which they had been brought. 34 Even today they do as they did in the past. They do not worship the Lord. They do not obey his rules and commands. They do not obey the teachings or the commands of the Lord. He gave these commands to the children of Jacob, whom the Lord had named Israel. 35 The Lord had made an agreement with them. He had commanded them, “Do not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them or serve them. Do not give sacrifices to them. 36 Worship the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. He did it with great power and strength. Bow to the Lord and make sacrifices to him. 37 Obey the rules, orders and the teachings. Obey the commands the Lord wrote for you. Obey and always do them. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the agreement I made with you. And do not worship other gods. 39 Instead worship the Lord your God. He will save you from all your enemies.”

40 But the Israelites did not listen. They kept on doing the same things they had done before. 41 So these nations worshiped the Lord but served their idols. And their children and grandchildren still do as their ancestors did.

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