Read - 2 Kings 17:1-23

King Hoshea of Israel

1Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz's rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. 2Hoshea disobeyed the Lord and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.

3During Hoshea's rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. 4But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.

Samaria Is Destroyed and the Israelites Are Taken to Assyria

5Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, 6before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. The Assyrian king took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived.

7All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshiped foreign gods, 8followed the customs of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. 9Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the Lord their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel—from small towns to large, walled cities. 10 They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11They offered sacrifices at the shrines, just as the foreign nations had done before the Lord forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the Lord very angry.

12Even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols, they did it anyway. 13So the Lord made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: “I, the Lord, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you.”

14But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the Lord their God. 15They ignored the Lord's warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The Lord had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.

16 The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the Lord their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshiped the stars and the god Baal. 17 They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the Lord hated. 18The Lord became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.

Only the people living in Judah were left, 19but they also disobeyed the Lord's commands and acted like the Israelites. 20So the Lord turned his back on everyone in Israel and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left.

21Earlier, when the Lord took the northern tribes away from David's family, the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshiping the Lord. 22The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23until the Lord got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets.

That's why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that's where they remained.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®) © 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.