When Hoshea ruled Israel
1 Elah's son Hoshea began to rule Israel after King Ahaz had ruled Judah for twelve years. Hoshea ruled in Samaria for nine years. 2 He did many things that Yahweh said were evil, but he did not do as many evil things as the previous kings of Israel had done—the ones who had ruled Israel previously.
3 The army of King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked and defeated the army of King Hoshea. As a result, the Israelis were forced to pay a lot of tribute/taxes to Assyria each year. 4 But several years later, Hoshea secretly planned to rebel against the rulers of Assyria. He sent messengers to So/Osorkon, the king of Egypt, asking if his army could help the Israelis fight against the army of Assyria. Hoshea also stopped paying the tribute/taxes that he had been paying to Assyria every year. But the king of Assyria found out about those things, so he told his officers to put Hoshea in prison. 5 Then he brought the army of Assyria to Israel, and they attacked everywhere in that land. His army surrounded Samaria city for three years. 6 Finally, after King Hoshea had been ruling Israel for nine years, the army of Assyria [MTY] forcefully entered into the city and captured the people. They took the Israeli people to Assyria and forced some of them to live in Halah town. They forced others to live near the Habor River in Gozan district. They forced others to live in the towns where the Mede people-group lived.
The reason that the Israelis were defeated
7 Those things happened because the Israeli people had sinned against Yahweh their God. He had rescued their ancestors from the power [MTY] of the king of Egypt and brought them safely out of Egypt, but later they began to worship other gods. 8 They imitated the things that the heathen/pagan people-groups did. Those were the groups that Yahweh had expelled as the Israelis occupied their land. The Israeli people also did the evil things that the kings of Israel ◄introduced/showed to them►. 9 The Israeli people also secretly did many things that were not pleasing to Yahweh their God. They built shrines to worship idols in all their cities, including small towns and big cities with walls around them. 10 They set up stone pillars to honor gods, and poles to worship the goddess Asherah at the top of every high hill and under every big tree. 11 The Israelis burned incense in every place where they worshiped those gods, just like the people-groups who lived there previously had done—the groups that Yahweh had expelled from the land. The Israelis did many wicked things that caused Yahweh to become angry. 12 Yahweh warned them many times that they should not worship idols, but they did it anyway. 13 Yahweh frequently sent his prophets and ◄seers/those who saw visions from Yahweh► to warn the people of Israel and the people of Judah. The message that Yahweh gave them was, “Turn away from all your evil behavior. Obey my commands and my laws, the laws that I told your ancestors to obey and which I told the prophets who served me to tell to you again.”
14 But the Israeli people would not pay attention. They were stubborn [IDI] just like their ancestors were. Just like their ancestors did, they refused to believe in Yahweh their God. 15 They rejected Yahweh's laws and the agreement that he had made with their ancestors. They ignored Yahweh's warnings. They worshiped worthless idols and as a result they themselves became worthless. Although Yahweh had commanded them not to imitate the behavior of the people-groups that lived near them, they disobeyed that command.
16 The Israeli people disobeyed all of Yahweh's commands. They made two metal calves to worship. They set up two poles to worship the goddess Asherah, and they worshiped the god Baal, and the sun, the moon, and the stars. 17 They also burned their own sons and daughters to be sacrifices to those gods. They went to fortune-tellers and they practiced sorcery. They continually chose [MET] to do all kinds of evil things that caused Yahweh to become angry.
18 So, because Yahweh was very angry with the Israeli people, he allowed their enemies to take them away from their country. Only the people of the tribe of Judah were left in the land. 19 But even the people of Judah did not obey the commands of Yahweh their God. They imitated the evil customs that the Israelis had introduced. 20 So Yahweh rejected all the people of Israel and of Judah. He punished them by allowing the armies of other nations to defeat them and take them away. He got rid of all of them.
21 Earlier, when Yahweh allowed the people of Israel to separate/break away from the area [MTY] that King David had estabished, they chose Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, to be their king. Then Jeroboam enticed the people of Israel to stop worshiping Yahweh and to worship idols instead. He induced them to commit great sins. 22 And the Israeli people continued to do the evil things that Jeroboam introduced. They did not turn away from those sins, 23 until finally Yahweh got rid of them. That was just what his prophets had warned would happen. The Israeli people were taken away to the land of Assyria, and they still remain there.
Other groups settled in Israel
24 The king of Assyria ordered his soldiers to take groups of people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim cities to Samaria region, and to resettle them in the towns there, to take the place of the Israelis who lived there previously. Those people took control over the whole Samaria region and lived in the towns there. 25 But those people who came from other countries did not worship Yahweh when they first arrived in Samaria. So Yahweh sent lions to kill some of them. 26 Then those people sent a message to the king of Assyria. They wrote, “We people who have resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know how to worship the God that the Israelis worshiped in this land. So he has sent lions among us to kill us, because we have not worshiped him correctly.”
27 When the king of Assyria read this letter, he commanded his officers, “Send one of the priests whom you brought here from Samaria to go back there. Tell him to teach the people who are now living there how to worship correctly the God whom the Israelis worshiped in that land.” 28 So the officers did that. They sent one of the Israeli priests back to Samaria. That priest went to live in Bethel city, and he taught the people there how to worship Yahweh.
29 But the people who returned from Babylon and and started to live in Samaria continued to make their own idols. They placed them in the shrines that the Israelis had built. The people of each people-group made idols in the cities in which they were living. 30 The people from Babylon made idols to represent their god Succoth-Benoth. The people from Cuthah made idols to represent their god Nergal. The people from Hamath made idols to represent their god Ashima. 31 The people of Avva made idols to represent their gods Nibhaz and Tartak. The people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their own children. They completely burned them on altars to be offerings to their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32 But those people also worshiped Yahweh, and they appointed from among their own groups many people to be priests at the shrines on the tops of the hills, in order that those priests could offer sacrifices for them there.
33 So they revered Yahweh, but they also worshiped their own gods, just as the people living in the countries from which they had been taken to Samaria did. 34 They still keep their old customs. They really do not worship Yahweh, and they do not obey all the laws and commands that Yahweh gave to the descendants of Jacob, to whom he gave the new name Israel. 35 Yahweh had previously made an agreement with their ancestors, commanding them not to worship other gods or bow down to honor them or do other things to please them or offer sacrifices to them. 36 He had said to them, “You must have an awesome respect for me, Yahweh, the one who brought you out of Egypt with my very great power [DOU]. I am the one whom you must bow down to honor, and I am the one to whom you must offer sacrifices. 37 You must always obey the laws and commands that I told Moses to write for you. You must not worship other gods. 38 And you must not forget the agreement that I made with your ancestors. You must not have an awesome respect for other gods. 39 Instead, you must have an awesome respect for me, Yahweh, your God. If you do that, I will rescue you from the power [MTY] of all your enemies.”
40 But, the people from those foreign nations would not heed what Yahweh said. Instead, they continued to adhere to their old customs. 41 So, they worshiped Yahweh, but they also worshiped their idols. And their descendants still do the same thing.