2 Kings, 17
1. In the twelfth year of Ahaz, the king of Judah: Hoshea, the son of Elah, reigned over Israel, in Samaria, for nine years.
2. And he did evil before the Lord, but not like the kings of Israel who had been before him.
3. Shalmaneser, the king of the Assyrians, ascended against him. And Hoshea became a servant to him, and he paid him tribute.
4. And when the king of the Assyrians discovered that Hoshea, striving to rebel, had sent messengers to Sais, to the king of Egypt, so as not to present the tribute to the king of the Assyrians, as he had been accustomed to do each year, he besieged him. And having been bound, he cast him into prison.
5. And he wandered through the entire land. And ascending to Samaria, he besieged it for three years.
6. And in the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of the Assyrians captured Samaria, and he carried away Israel to Assyria. And he stationed them in Halah and in Habor, beside the river of Gozan, in the cities of the Medes.
7. For it happened that, when the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord, their God, who had led them away from the land of Egypt, from the hand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, they worshipped strange gods.
8. And they walked according to the rituals of the nations that the Lord had consumed in the sight of the sons of Israel, and of the kings of Israel. For they had acted similarly.
9. And the sons of Israel offended the Lord, their God, with deeds that were not upright. And they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.
10. And they made for themselves statues and sacred groves, on every high hill and under every leafy tree.
11. And they were burning incense there, upon altars, in the manner of the nations that the Lord had removed from their face. And they did wicked deeds, provoking the Lord.
12. And they worshipped impurities, concerning which the Lord instructed them that they should not do this word.
13. And the Lord testified to them, in Israel and in Judah, through the hand of all the prophets and seers, saying: “Return from your wicked ways, and keep my precepts and ceremonies, in accord with the entire law, which I instructed to your fathers, and just as I sent to you by the hand of my servants, the prophets.”
14. But they did not listen. Instead, they hardened their necks to be like the neck of their fathers, who were not willing to obey the Lord, their God.
15. And they cast aside his ordinances, and the covenant that he formed with their fathers, and the testimonies which he testified to them. And they pursued vanities and acted vainly. And they followed the nations that were all around them, concerning the things which the Lord had commanded them not to do, and which they did.
16. And they abandoned all the precepts of the Lord, their God. And they made for themselves two molten calves and sacred groves. And they adored the entire celestial army. And they served Baal.
17. And they consecrated their sons and their daughters through fire. And they devoted themselves to divinations and soothsaying. And they delivered themselves into the doing of evil before the Lord, so that they provoked him.
18. And the Lord became vehemently angry with Israel, and he took them away from his sight. And there remained no one, except the tribe of Judah alone.
19. But even Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord, their God. Instead, they walked in the errors of Israel, which they had wrought.
20. And the Lord cast aside all of the offspring of Israel. And he afflicted them, and he delivered them into the hand of despoilers, until he drove them away from his face,
21. even from that time when Israel was torn away from the house of David, and they appointed for themselves Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, as king. For Jeroboam separated Israel from the Lord, and he caused them to sin a great sin.
22. And the sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, which he had done. And they did not withdraw from these,
23. even when the Lord carried away Israel from his face, just as he had said by the hand of all his servants, the prophets. And Israel was carried away from their land into Assyria, even to this day.
24. Then the king of the Assyrians brought some from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim. And he located them in the cities of Samaria, in place of the sons of Israel. And they possessed Samaria, and they lived in its cities.
25. And when they had begun to live there, they did not fear the Lord. And the Lord sent lions among them, which were killing them.
26. And this was reported to the king of the Assyrians, and it was said: “The peoples that you transferred and caused to live in the cities of Samaria, they are ignorant of the ordinances of the God of the land. And so the Lord has sent lions among them. And behold, they have killed them, because they were ignorant of the rituals of the God of the land.”
27. Then the king of the Assyrians commanded, saying: “Lead to that place one of the priests, whom you brought as a captive from there. And let him go and live with them. And let him teach them the ordinances of the God of the land.”
28. And so, when one of the priests, who had been led away captive from Samaria, had arrived, he lived in Bethel. And he taught them how they should worship the Lord.
29. And each of the nations made gods of their own, and they placed them in the shrines of the high places, which the Samaritans had made: nation after nation, in their cities in which they were living.
30. So the men of Babylon made Soccoth-benoth; and the men of Cuth made Nergal; and the men of Hamath made Ashima;
31. and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak. Then those who were from Sepharvaim burned up their children with fire, for the gods of Sepharvaim: Adram-melech and Anam-melech.
32. But nevertheless, they worshipped the Lord. Then they made for themselves, from the least of the people, priests of the high places. And they placed them in the shrines of the high places.
33. And though they worshipped the Lord, they also served their own gods, according to the custom of the nations from which they had been transferred into Samaria.
34. Even to the present day, they follow the ancient customs; they do not fear the Lord, and they do not keep his ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and commandment, which the Lord had instructed to the sons of Jacob, whom he named Israel.
35. And he had struck a covenant with them, and he had commanded them, saying: “You shall not fear foreign gods, and you shall not adore them, and you shall not worship them, and you shall not sacrifice to them.
36. But the Lord, your God, who led you away from the land of Egypt, with great strength and with an outstretched arm, him shall you fear, and him shall you adore, and to him shall you sacrifice.
37. Also, the ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and commandment, which he wrote for you, you shall keep so that you do them for all days. And you shall not fear strange gods.
38. And the covenant, which he struck with you, you shall not forget; neither shall you worship strange gods.
39. But you shall fear the Lord, your God. And he will rescue you from the hand of all your enemies.”
40. Yet truly, they did not listen to this. Instead, they acted in accord with their earlier custom.
41. And such were these nations: to some extent fearing the Lord, yet nevertheless also serving their idols. As for their sons and grandsons, just as their fathers acted, so also did they act, even to the present day.