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2 Kings 17, Those of Israel Exiled and Overrun, by Their Sins They Were Directly Warned About


Hoshea Last King of Israel — Note added context from AI is at the bottom and it’s worth reading.

17 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.

Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up to attack Hoshea, who had been Shalmaneser’s vassal and had paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was a traitor, for he had sent envoys to So[a] king of Egypt, and he no longer paid tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore Shalmaneser seized him and put him in prison. The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.

Israel Exiled Because of Sin

All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that aroused the Lord’s anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”[b] 13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”

14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”

16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.

18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19 and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.

21 When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin. 22 The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them 23 until the Lord removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.

Samaria Resettled

24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. 25 When they first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people. 26 It was reported to the king of Assyria: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”

27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.

29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places. 30 The people from Babylon made Sukkoth Benoth, those from Kuthah made Nergal, and those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelek and Anammelek, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful to keep the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.


any idea what this great sin wasChatGPT

The passage in II Kings 17 attributes the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the sins of its people. While the specific sins are mentioned throughout the chapter, a general overview reveals that the Israelites were condemned for turning away from the worship of the Lord and engaging in idolatry.

Here are some key aspects of their disobedience as outlined in II Kings 17:

  1. Worship of Other Gods: The Israelites were condemned for worshiping and serving other gods, a direct violation of the commandments that emphasized the exclusive worship of the God of Israel.
  2. Idolatry and Asherah Poles: The people indulged in the making and worship of idols and erected Asherah poles. These practices were explicitly forbidden in the Mosaic Law.
  3. Rejection of God’s Commandments: Despite numerous warnings from prophets whom God had sent to guide and correct them, the Israelites rejected the commandments of the Lord. The passage emphasizes the persistent disobedience of the people and their refusal to listen to the prophets.
  4. Following the Practices of Surrounding Nations: The Israelites were influenced by the customs and practices of the nations around them, engaging in detestable practices that were contrary to God’s instructions.

In essence, the “great sin” that led to the downfall of Israel was a departure from their covenant relationship with the God of Israel. Their worship of other gods, engagement in idolatry, and rejection of divine commandments ultimately brought about the Assyrian invasion and the subsequent exile of the northern kingdom’s inhabitants.


When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin.ChatGPT

The passage you’ve mentioned is from the Old Testament, specifically 1 Kings 14:15. Here’s the verse in context:

1 Kings 14:15 (New International Version):


15 And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the Lord’s anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

In this context, the passage is referring to the sin of Jeroboam, who was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel after the kingdom split into two (Israel in the north and Judah in the south). When Jeroboam became king, he was concerned that the people of the northern kingdom would continue to go to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, which was in the southern kingdom of Judah. In an attempt to consolidate his power and prevent the people from reuniting with the southern kingdom, Jeroboam set up two golden calves for worship—one in Bethel and the other in Dan.

This act of setting up alternative places of worship, complete with idols, was a deviation from the commandments of the Lord and led the people away from the true worship of God. It is often considered a great sin because it involved not only idolatry but also the intentional diversion of the people from the proper worship prescribed by God. The reference to “Asherah poles” in the verse further emphasizes the idolatrous practices that contributed to God’s judgment on Israel.


what are those polesChatGPT

Asherah poles were objects associated with the worship of the Canaanite goddess Asherah. In the context of ancient Israelite history and the Old Testament, these poles represented a form of idolatry and false worship that was explicitly prohibited by the Mosaic Law.

Asherah was a fertility goddess, and her worship often involved sacred groves, carved wooden images, and poles. The Asherah poles were typically made of wood or metal and were erected near altars or in designated places of worship. The people would engage in rituals, including offerings and various forms of worship, as part of their devotion to Asherah.

The worship of Asherah, along with other pagan practices, became a persistent challenge for the Israelites throughout their history. Despite clear prohibitions in the commandments given by God, some kings and individuals deviated from the worship of the Lord and embraced the fertility cults associated with Asherah.

The mention of Asherah poles in the Bible, including passages such as 1 Kings 14:15, is often a signal of the people’s departure from the true worship of God and their engagement in syncretistic and idolatrous practices. The destruction of Asherah poles and the eradication of idolatry were key themes in various periods of Israel’s history, as recorded in the biblical narrative.


Where is assyria then and now, and the statement that they are still there, does that have truth at the time, or now or both. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.ChatGPT

Historically, Assyria was an ancient kingdom located in the region that is now part of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran. The capital of the Assyrian Empire was Nineveh. The Assyrian Empire existed from the 25th century BCE until its fall in 609 BCE.

Regarding the statement about the people of Israel being taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria and the claim that they are still there, this needs clarification. The biblical accounts, particularly in the books of Kings and Chronicles, describe the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. The Assyrians, under various kings, invaded Israel, captured its capital Samaria in 722 BCE, and deported many of its inhabitants to Assyria.

The idea that the Israelites are still in Assyria today is not accurate in a literal sense. Over time, the descendants of those deported from Israel would have assimilated into various cultures and regions. The Assyrian Empire itself eventually fell, and the region underwent numerous changes in terms of rulership and demographics.

In the contemporary context, the term “Assyria” is more commonly associated with the Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East. The descendants of the ancient Assyrians still live in the region, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and parts of Turkey. However, it’s important to note that their presence in these areas does not imply a direct, unbroken line from the ancient Assyrians of biblical times.

In summary, while there is a historical connection between the ancient Assyria and the modern Assyrian people in the Middle East, the notion that the people of Israel deported to Assyria during ancient times are still there today is not accurate. The diaspora of the Israelites led to their integration into various societies throughout history.

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