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2 Kings 17:13-15

Context

17:13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 1  17:14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, 2  who had not trusted the Lord their God. 17:15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. 3  They paid allegiance to 4  worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. 5  They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 6 

1 tn Heb “obey my commandments and rules according to all the law which I commanded your fathers and which I sent to you by the hand of my servants the prophets.”

2 tn Heb and they stiffened their neck like the neck of their fathers.”

3 tn Or “and his warnings he had given them.”

4 tn Heb “They went [or, ‘followed’] after.” This idiom probably does not mean much if translated literally. It is found most often in Deuteronomy or in literature related to the covenant. It refers in the first instance to loyalty to God and to His covenant or His commandments (1 Kgs 14:8; 2 Chr 34:31) with the metaphor of a path or way underlying it (Deut 11:28; 28:14). To “follow other gods” was to abandon this way and this loyalty (to “abandon” or “forget” God, Judg 2:12; Hos 2:13) and to follow the customs or religious traditions of the pagan nations (2 Kgs 17:15). The classic text on “following” God or another god is 1 Kgs 18:18, 21 where Elijah taunts the people with “halting between two opinions” whether the Lord was the true God or Baal was. The idiom is often found followed by “to serve and to worship” or “they served and worshiped” such and such a god or entity (Jer 8:2; 11:10; 13:10; 16:11; 25:6; 35:15).

5 tn Heb “they followed after the worthless thing/things and became worthless.” The words “to the Lord” are not in the Hebrew text but are implicit from the context. There is an obvious wordplay on the verb “became worthless” and the noun “worthless thing”, which is probably to be understood collectively and to refer to idols as it does in Jer 8:19; 10:8; 14:22; Jonah 2:8.

6 tn Heb “and [they walked] after the nations which were around them, concerning which the Lord commanded them not to do like them.”



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