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