1In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, andreigned for nine years. 2He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, though not like the preceding kings of Israel. 3Shalmaneser king of Assyria made war on Hoshea who submitted to him and paid him tribute. 4But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was playing a double game with him; he had sentmessengers to Sais, to the king of Egypt, and had not, as in previous years, handed over the tribute to the kingof Assyria. For this the king of Assyria imprisoned him in chains. 5The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites toAssyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God who had brought them outof Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, 8they fol owed the practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for them. 9The Israelites spoke slightingly of Yahweh their God. They built themselves high places wherever theylived, from watchtower to fortified town. 10They set up pil ars and sacred poles for themselves on every high hil and under every luxuriant tree. 11They sacrificed on al the high places like the nations which Yahweh had expelled for them, and didwicked things there, provoking Yahweh's anger. 12They served idols, although Yahweh had told them, 'This you must not do.' 13And yet through al the prophets and the seers, Yahweh had given Israel and Judah this warning,'Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law whichI laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.' 14But they would not listen, they were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had no faith in Yahweh theirGod. 15They despised his laws and the covenant which he had made with their ancestors and the warningswhich he had given them. Pursuing futility, they themselves became futile through copying the nations roundthem, although Yahweh had ordered them not to act as they did. 16They rejected al the commandments of Yahweh their God and cast themselves metal idols, twocalves; they made themselves sacred poles, they worshipped the whole array of heaven, and they served Baal. 17They caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire of sacrifice, also they practiseddivination and sorcery, they sold themselves to doing what displeases Yahweh, provoking his anger. 18Because of which, Yahweh became enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. The tribe ofJudah was the only one left. 19Judah did not keep the commandments of Yahweh their God either but copied the practices whichIsrael had introduced. 20Yahweh rejected the whole race of Israel; he brought them low, delivering them into the hands ofmarauders, until at length he thrust them away from him. 21And indeed he had torn Israel away from the House of David, and they had made Jeroboam son ofNebat king; Jeroboam had drawn Israel away from Yahweh and led them into a great sin. 22The Israelites copied the sin which Jeroboam had committed; they did not give it up, 23until at length Yahweh thrust Israel away from him, as he had foretold through all his servants theprophets; he deported the Israelites from their own country to Assyria, where they have been ever since. 24The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, andsettled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites; these took possession of Samaria and lived in itstowns. 25When they first came to live there, they did not worship Yahweh; hence, Yahweh set lions on them,which kil ed a number of them. 26Consequently, the king of Assyria was informed as follows, 'The nations whom you deported andsettled in the towns of Samaria do not know how to worship the local god, and he has set lions on them; andnow these are kil ing them because they do not know how to worship the local god.' 27So the king of Assyria gave this order, 'Send back one of the priests whom I deported from there; lethim go and live there and teach them how to worship the local god.' 28Accordingly, one of the priests who had been deported from Samaria came to live in Bethel; he taughtthem how to worship Yahweh. 29Each nationality made gods of its own and put them in the shrines on the high places built by theSamaritans; each nationality did this in the towns where it lived. 30The people from Babylon had made a Succoth-Benoth, the people from Cuthah a Nergal, the peoplefrom Hamath an Ashima, 31the Avvites a Nibhaz and a Tartak; while the Sepharvites caused their children to pass through the fireof sacrifice to Adrammelech and Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim. 32They worshipped Yahweh as well, and they appointed priests out of their own number for the highplaces, and these officiated in the shrines on the high places. 33They worshipped Yahweh and served their own gods at the same time, with the rites of the countriesfrom which they had been deported. 34They stil fol ow their old rites even now. They did not worship Yahweh and did not conform to hisstatutes or ritual, or the law or the commandments, which Yahweh had laid down for the sons of Jacob to whomhe gave the name Israel. 35Yahweh had made a covenant with them and had given them this command, 'You are not to worshipalien gods, you are not to bow down to them or serve them or offer them sacrifices. 36You are to bow down and offer sacrifice only to Yahweh who brought you out of Egypt with greatpower and outstretched arm. 37You are to observe the statutes and ritual, the law and the commandments which he has given you inwriting and to which you are always to conform; you are not to worship alien gods. 38Do not forget the covenant which I have made with you, and do not venerate alien gods. 39But venerate Yahweh your God, and he wil deliver you from the clutches of all your enemies.' 40But they would not listen and stil followed their old rites. 41These nationalities, then, worshipped Yahweh and served their idols as well, as did their children; andtheir children's children still behave today as their ancestors behaved in the past.
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