2 Kings, 17
1. Hoshea, son of Elah, began to reign in Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah. He reigned for nine years in the city of Samaria,
2. and he acted badly towards Yahweh though not as bad as the previous kings of Israel.
3. Shalmaneser, king of Asshur, came with his army to attack Hoshea, who surrendered to him and began paying taxes to him.
4. But the king of Asshur discovered that Hoshea was plotting against him, for Hoshea had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and did not pay him the taxes as he had done every year. Shalmaneser arrested him, and then put him in prison.
5. The army of the king of Asshur subjected the whole of Israel, and they came to Samaria and laid siege to it for three years.
6. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, exiled the Israelites to Asshur and made them settle in Halah, at the banks of Habor, the river of Gozan, as well as in the cities of the Medes.
7. This happened because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh, their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, where they were subject to Pharaoh, but they had turned back to other gods.
8. They followed the customs of the nations which Yahweh had driven out before them.
9. The children of Israel introduced many innovations that offended Yahweh, their God. They built sanctuaries in all the cities, from the watchtowers to the fortified cities.
10. They placed images and sacred pillars on all the hills and under every green tree.
11. There they burned incense in their sanctuaries on the hills, like the nations Yahweh had dispossessed for them. They did wicked things, provoking Yahweh to anger.
12. They served their filthy idols in spite of what Yahweh had told them: "You must not do such a thing."
13. Yahweh warned Israel and Judah through the mouth of every prophet and seer, saying: "Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and precepts according to the laws which I commanded your fathers and which I have sent to you by my servants, the prophets."
14. But they did not listen and refused as did their fathers who did not believe in Yahweh, their God.
15. They despised his statutes and the covenant he had made with their fathers, and the warnings he had given them. They went after worthless idols and they themselves became worthless, following the nations which surrounded them, in spite of what Yahweh had said, "Do not do as they do."
16. They abandoned all the commandments of Yahweh and fashioned two calves of bronze. They made sacred pillars and knelt before all the stars of heaven, and worshiped Baal.
17. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire, practiced divination and magic, and sold themselves to evildoing in the sight of Yahweh enkindling his anger.
18. So Yahweh became indignant with Israel and cast them far away from his presence, leaving only the tribe of Judah.
19. But neither did Judah keep the commandments of Yahweh, their God; on the contrary, they followed the customs practiced in Israel.
20. Because of this, Yahweh rejected the whole race of Israel. He humbled them and delivered them into the hands of plunderers, until the day came when he drove them far away from his presence.
21. When he divided the kingdom of David, Israel chose Jeroboam, son of Nebat, as king: he made them commit a great sin by separating themselves from Yahweh.
22. The Israelites followed Jeroboam in his sins, and did not turn away from them
23. until Yahweh had removed Israel from his presence, according to the warning given them through his servants, the prophets. So Israel was exiled from its land to the country of Asshur until this day.
24. The king of Asshur brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, and he settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. These people occupied the country of Samaria and resided in its cities.
25. When they first settled there they did not worship Yahweh, so Yahweh sent lions which killed many of them.
26. Then it was reported to the king of Asshur, "The people you deported and sent to Samaria to settle in its cities do not know how Yahweh, the God of the land, should be honored, so he has sent lions which are killing them."
27. So the king of Asshur commanded, "Let one of the priests we have banished from Samaria return there. Let him go and live with those people and teach them how to honor the God of that land."
28. So, one of the priests who had been banished from Samaria came back, and staying in Bethel, taught these people how they should honor Yahweh.
29. Yet each of these nations made its own gods, and placed them in the sanctuaries on the hills which the Samaritans had built. Each of these nations put their god in the city where they settled:
30. the Babylonians set up the idol Succoth, the inhabitants of Cuth made Negal, the inhabitants of Hamath made Ashima,
31. those of Avva made Nibjaz and Tartak. Those of Sepharvaim burned their children in the fire in honor of Adrammelech and Anammelech, their gods.
32. They worshiped Yahweh, but they appointed for themselves priests from among their people, who served Yahweh in the Houses on the hills.
33. They honored Yahweh but at the same time, served their own gods, according to the customs of the nations where they had been banished.
34. Until this very day, they still observe the old customs. They do not honor Yahweh since they do not follow the precepts and customs, the Law or the commandments which Yahweh had given to the children of Jacob to whom he had given the name Israel.
35. Yahweh had made a covenant with them, commanding them, "Do not honor other gods or bow down before them, or serve them or offer them sacrifices.
36. You shall honor Yahweh alone, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with the strength of his arm; before him you shall bow and to him alone shall you offer sacrifices.
37. Keep the precepts, the ordinances, the Law and the commandments he wrote for you. Fulfill them all your days and do not adore strange gods.
38. Do not forsake the covenant he made with you and do not adore strange gods,
39. but adore only Yahweh, your God, and he shall free you from the hand of all your enemies."
40. But they did not pay attention; instead they followed their ancient customs.
41. So these people honored Yahweh, but at the same time also served their idols; and after them, their children and their children's children continued doing what their fathers had done.