2 Kings 17:7-23

Why the Lord punished Israel

7 All this happened because the Israelites did bad things against the Lord, their God. The Lord had brought them safely out of Egypt. He had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. But now they worshipped other gods. 8 They did the same bad things that the nations that lived in Canaan did. The Lord had chased those nations out of Canaan so that the Israelites could live there. The Israelites copied the bad things that the kings of Israel were doing. 9 They secretly did things that the Lord their God said were not right. In all their towns, they built altars to worship false gods. They built them everywhere, in small villages and in strong cities. 10 They put up stone pillars and Asherah poles to worship their gods. They put them on top of all the high hills and under all the big trees. 11 At all those places they burned incense to worship their gods, as the nations in Canaan had done. The Lord had chased those nations out of Canaan so that the Israelites could live there. The Israelites did evil things that made the Lord very angry. 12 They refused to obey the Lord's command and they worshipped useless idols.

13 The Lord had used his prophets and his other servants to warn the people of Israel and Judah. He told them, ‘Stop living in an evil way. Obey my Law, with its commands and its rules. I gave my Law to your ancestors so that they would obey it. I also used my servants, the prophets, to teach it to you.’

14 But the Israelites would not agree to obey God's Law. They were proud and they refused to obey. Like their ancestors, they did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They did not obey God's rules. They did not accept the covenant that he had made with their ancestors. They did not listen when he warned them. Instead, they worshipped useless idols, which caused them to become useless themselves. The Lord had commanded them not to live in the same way that the nations around them did. But they did that anyway. 16 They turned away from all the commands of the Lord their God. They used metal to make images of two calves as their idols. They also made an Asherah pole to worship. They worshipped all the stars in the sky and they served Baal. 17 They burned their sons and their daughters in fire as offerings to Baal. They used magic to find out what would happen in the future. They chose to do things that the Lord said were evil. That made him very angry.

18 The Lord was so angry with Israel that he sent them far away from himself. Only the tribe of Judah remained. 19 But even the people of Judah did not obey the commands of the Lord their God. They did the same bad things that the Israelites had done. 20 So the Lord turned against all the descendants of Israel. He punished them. He put them under the power of robbers. In that way, he chased them far away from himself.

21 God made Israel become a separate kingdom from David's family, Judah. Then Israel chose Nebat's son Jeroboam to be their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to turn away from the Lord. He led them to do terrible sins. 22 The Israelites continued to live in the bad way that Jeroboam showed them. They did not turn away from those sins. 23 In the end, the Lord sent the Israelites away from himself. He had used his servants, the prophets, to warn them that this would happen. As a result, the Assyrian army took the Israelites away from their own land as prisoners to Assyria. They still live there, even today.