The King of Assyria Populates Israel with Foreigners
17:24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners40 from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria41 in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 17:25 When they first moved in,42 they did not worship43 the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 17:26 The king of Assyria was told,44 “The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people45 because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 17:27 So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you46 deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.”47 17:28 So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel.48 He taught them how to worship49 the Lord.
17:29 But each of these nations made50 its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria51 had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 17:30 The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth,52 the people from Cuth made Nergal,53 the people from Hamath made Ashima,54 17:31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak,55 and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech,56 the gods of Sepharvaim. 17:32 At the same time they worshiped57 the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places.58 17:33 They were worshiping59 the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.
17:34 To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship60 the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave61 the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 17:35 The Lord made an agreement62 with them63 and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 17:36 Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability;64 bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 17:37 You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 17:38 You must never forget the agreement I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 17:39 Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 17:40 But they65 pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 17:41 These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.
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