2 Kings 17
Hoshea, who was the last king of Israel
1 When Ahaz had been the king of Judah for nearly 12 years, Hoshea became the king of Israel in Samaria. Hoshea was the son of Elah and he ruled Israel for 9 years. 2 The Lord saw that he did things that were very wrong. But he was not like the kings of Israel who were before him. 3 Shalmaneser was the king of Assyria. He came up to Samaria to attack Hoshea. Hoshea had done everything that Shalmaneser had asked him to do. Every year he had paid him all the money that Shalmaneser had asked him for. 4 But Shalmaneser had discovered that now Hoshea was not a good friend of Shalmaneser. Hoshea had sent people with a message to So, the king of Egypt. Hoshea did not pay any more money to the king of Assyria, as he had done every year. So Shalmaneser caught Hoshea and put him into a prison. 5 The king of Assyria attacked all the country Israel. His army marched against Samaria and it stayed round it for 3 years.
6 When Hoshea had been king of Israel for nearly 9 years, the king of Assyria beat the people in Samaria. He sent many of the people from Israel to Assyria. He caused them to live in these places:
Gozan by the River Habor and
towns in Media.
7 All this happened because the people in Israel had not obeyed the Lord. The Lord was their God, who had brought them out of Egypt. God had made them free from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. But now they had worshipped other gods. 8 They had done the things that the people in Canaan before them had done. Those people in Canaan were the people that the Lord had caused to go to other places. The people in Israel had also done things that the kings of Israel had caused them do. 9 The people in Israel did things against the Lord their God. Those things were not right, and they did them secretly. They built high places for themselves in every town. They built them everywhere, from places where people watched their sheep to strong cities. 10 They put up special stones for their gods and Asherah poles. They put them on every high hill and under every wide tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense. The people that the Lord had sent out from Canaan before them had done that. Israel's people did very bad things that made the Lord very angry. 12 They worshipped false gods. The Lord had said, ‘You must not do that.’ 13 The Lord had sent this message to Israel and to Judah. He sent it by all his prophets and by everyone that he showed things to. ‘Do not do more bad things. Obey my words. Obey all my rules. Do everything that is in my Law. I told your ancestors that they must obey my Law. I gave you my Law by my servants who were the prophets.’ 14 But the people in Israel would not listen. They were like their ancestors had been. They would not change in their minds. Their ancestors did not believe that the Lord would help them. The Lord was their God. 15 They did not obey his Law. They did not agree with the covenant that God had made with their ancestors. God had said that bad things would happen to them. But they did not listen. They followed false gods that had no value. So they themselves became of no value. They did what the people that lived next to them did. But the Lord had said, ‘Do not do what they do!’ But they still did these things. The Lord had said that they should not do them! 16 They threw away all the laws of the Lord their God. They made 2 false gods for themselves. The shapes of those gods were the same as baby cows. They also made an Asherah pole. They went down on their knees to all the stars in the skies and they worshipped Baal. 17 They burned their sons and their daughters in fire for Baal. They used their false gods to tell them what would happen. They used bad spirits to do strange things. The Lord saw that they did very, very bad things. This made him very, very angry. 18 The Lord was so angry with Israel that he sent them away from himself. Only the tribe of Judah remained.
19 Even Judah did not obey the Law of the Lord their God. They did the same things that Israel had done. 20 So the Lord sent away all the people out of Israel. He hurt them. He gave them to people who would rob them. They had to go away from where he lived.
21 When God tore Israel away from David's family, they made Jeroboam into their king. Jeroboam was the son of Nebat. Jeroboam caused Israel not to obey the Lord. He caused them to do very bad things. 22 The people in Israel continued to do all the sins of Jeroboam. They did not turn away from them 23 until the Lord sent them away from himself. The Lord had said by all his servants the prophets that this would happen. So the soldiers from Assyria took the people in Israel away from their own country. They went into exile in Assyria and they are still there.
24 The king of Assyria brought people to live in the towns in Samaria. They came from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim. They lived in Samaria where Israel's people had lived. They lived in its towns and they ruled Samaria. 25 When those people first lived in Samaria, they did not worship the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them. The lions killed some of the people. 26 They reported this to the king of Assyria. The report said, ‘You sent some people from your country. You caused them to live in the towns in Samaria. But they do not know what the god of that country wants them to do. He has sent lions among them. The people do not know what to do. So the lions are killing them.’ 27 So the king of Assyria said, ‘You caught some priests in Samaria. Send one of them back to live there. He can teach the people what the god of that country wants them to do.’ 28 So they brought one of the priests that was in exile back to live in Bethel. He taught the people how to worship the Lord.
29 But each group of people, from different countries, made its own gods. They did this in each town where they lived. They did it in the places where the people in Samaria had made altars on the high places. 30 The men from Babylon worshipped the god called Succoth-Benoth. The men from Cuthah worshipped the god called Nergal. The men from Hamath worshipped the god called Ashima. 31 The men from Avva worshipped the gods called Nibhaz and Tartak. The people from Sepharvaim burned their children in a fire for their gods. The gods of the people from Sepharvaim were called Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32 They worshipped the Lord. But they also made many of their own people priests of their gods. They worshipped those gods at the gods' houses on the high places. 33 They worshipped the Lord, but they also worshipped their own gods. They did what they had always done in their own countries. 34 Even today, they still do those things. They do not really worship the Lord, neither do they obey his laws and his rules. They do not really do the things that the Lord asked the descendants of Jacob to do. The Lord called him and his descendants Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he said to them, ‘Do not worship any other gods. Do not go down on your knees to them. Do not be their servants. Do not burn anything for them. 36 But you must worship only the Lord. He brought you out from the country called Egypt. He did this very powerfully and he helped you very much. You must go down on your knees to him and you must burn things on your altar to him. 37 You must always obey the words that he wrote for you. And you must obey him about everything. You must obey all his laws and rules. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I made with you. Do not worship other gods. 39 Always worship the Lord your God. It is he who will save you from the power of all your enemies.’ 40 But they would not listen to him. They continued to do what they had always done.
41 Even while they were worshipping the Lord, they were also the servants of (their) idols. Until today, their children and their grandchildren do what their fathers did.
17:41Verse 9 ‘from places where people watched their sheep to strong cities’ maybe means this. ‘From lonely places to places where there were many people’.
17:41Verses 11 and 30. People thought that their gods lived in their own country. This is also what verses 26-27 mean.
17:41Verse 36 The Hebrew words for ‘very powerfully’ mean ‘by his arm’. Many students think that ‘the arm of the Lord’ is a name for the Son of God.