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17 During the 12th year of Ahaz (Judah’s king), Hoshea (Elah’s son) inherited Israel’s throne in Samaria. His reign lasted nine years. He committed evil in the Eternal’s eyes, but not in the same way some of Israel’s kings had.

Shalmaneser, Assyria’s king, waged war against Hoshea, but Hoshea humbled himself before Shalmaneser by paying tribute. But Shalmaneser sensed a secret plot in Hoshea who, instead of paying the expected tribute to Shalmaneser as he had done yearly, had sent messengers to So, the king of Egypt. Because of this, Assyria’s king bound and locked Hoshea in prison.

The easiest way to make Assyria angry is to attempt an alliance with Egypt. During this time, Assyria and Egypt are the two “world powers,” struggling to expand their borders and continually fighting over Israel and Judah, who are stuck in the middle. Hoshea’s appeal to Egypt for help is a perfectly logical move. Unfortunately, Egypt does not help, and without military power to back up Hoshea’s bold refusal to pay tribute, the Northern Kingdom is doomed.

Assyria’s king then invaded Israel and besieged Samaria for three years. During Hoshea’s ninth year, Assyria’s king captured Samaria and carried off the Israelites to exile in Assyria. The exiles were forced to stay in Halah and Habor on the Gozan River and also in the cities of the Medes.

This all happened because the Israelites had committed countless wicked deeds against their God, the Eternal One, who brought them out of Egypt and freed them from the oppression fueled by Pharaoh, Egypt’s king. They revered gods other than the Lord and lived by the wicked traditions of the people whom the Eternal had forced out of the land before the Israelites arrived. They lived by the religious and cultural practices that Israel’s kings had introduced. The Israelites committed unrighteous acts and tried to hide them from the Eternal their God; but of course, the Lord witnessed them all. They constructed high places everywhere, small or large—from lookout towers to fortified cities. 10 They decorated every hill and the shade of every tree with holy pillars and sacred poles. 11 They burned incense at all the high places just as the people whom the Eternal One had forced out of the land before them had done. They repeated the very same sins. They did many wicked deeds, provoking the anger of the Eternal. 12 They placed themselves in the service of idols—the same ones He had given them instructions about, commanding, “Do not do this. They are evil![a]

13 The Eternal One gave fair warning to Israel and Judah. He gave His warning through the mouths of prophets and seers throughout the land: “Abandon your wickedness, and obey My commands and laws which I gave to your ancestors through the mouths of My servants, the prophets.”

14 But the Israelites were fools and did not heed the warning. They were stubborn just like their ancestors who did not trust in the Eternal One their God. 15 They spurned His laws and even the covenant He had entered into with their ancestors. They rejected the fair warnings He gave to them. They were devoted to their own vanity and followed the same wicked path as the neighboring nations—the ones He had instructed them not to imitate. 16 They abandoned all the laws the Eternal One their God had given to them. They crafted two golden calves, put up a sacred pole, and also praised the sun, the moon, the stars, and Baal as their master. 17 They made their children pass through the fire, they performed witchcraft and divining, and they committed evil in the eyes of the Eternal and provoked Him to burn with anger. 18 Therefore, He was furious with Israel, so He banished them from His sight. The only tribe that remained was Judah. 19 But Judah also abandoned the laws of their God, the Eternal One, and they walked the same wicked path the Israelites had walked. 20 He rejected all the sons and daughters of Israel and banished them from His sight. He made them suffer and handed them over to pillagers until they were finally cast out of His presence.

21 After the Eternal had cut Israel out of the house of David, the people made Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) their first king. But he caused the people to turn away from the Eternal One and caused Israel to sin in every way. 22 The Israelites walked the wicked path of Jeroboam 23 until the Eternal removed Israel from His presence, just as He had said through the mouths of His servants the prophets. The Israelites were forced to leave their own land and go live in Assyria, where they still dwell today.

24 Assyria’s king transported men from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sephar-vaim, and he made them live in the Samaritan towns and cities where the Israelites had lived. Samaria now belonged to these new inhabitants of the towns and cities. 25 When they first began living in Samaria, the foreigners lacked any fear of the Eternal One. So He caused lions to invade their ignorant community and kill some of the people. 26 One of them contacted Assyria’s king.

New Samaritan: The people you have transported to the cities of Samaria from foreign lands do not know the ways of Samaria’s God. He caused lions to invade our community and kill some of the people who are ignorant of the ways of Samaria’s God.

King of Assyria: 27 Send for one of the exiled priests, and take him back there so he can teach these new inhabitants the ways of Samaria’s God.

28 Ironically a priest who was exiled by God for not following His ways was brought back to Samaria and became responsible for teaching the new inhabitants how to revere the Eternal. He stayed at Bethel.

29 Even after all of this, all the nations were still crafting their own gods and placing them in the high places built by the Samaritans, each nation in the cities where it settled. 30 The Babylonian men crafted Succoth-benoth, the Cuth men crafted Nergal, the Hamath men crafted Ashima, 31 the Avvites crafted Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites gave their own children as burnt sacrifices to their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32 They also greatly feared the Eternal One and nominated some of their own men to act as priests at the high places, interceding for them at the high places’ temples. 33 They feared Him while at the same time honoring the gods of the nations from where they had been exiled.

34 Still today, they honor the earlier traditions of the wicked people before them, and they fail to revere the Eternal properly. They do not honor the sacred laws and judgments that He gave to the descendants of Jacob (whom He called Israel). 35 He entered into a sacred covenant with the new Samaritans and gave them the same sacred commands to follow.

Eternal One: I am your God! Do not fear, bow down to, serve, or sacrifice to any other gods except for Me. 36 You should only fear, bow down to, and sacrifice to Me who led you out of Egypt with My great power and an outstretched arm. 37 Be careful to observe all the laws, statutes, ordinances, and commands I have inscribed for you. And do not revere any other gods. 38 Remember the sacred covenant you have entered into with Me, and do not revere any other gods except Me. I am your God—your only God! 39 You should only fear the Eternal One your God. I will deliver you from the grip of your enemies.

40 But they did not listen to the Lord’s message. Instead they did just as they had done when they lived in their own nations. 41 They feared the Eternal One while at the same time serving their own idols. Their descendants have done the same ever since.

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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