17:7 This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of 1 Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped 2 other gods; 17:8 they observed the practices 3 of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 4 17:9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. 5 They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 6 17:10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 17:11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away from before them. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 7 17:12 They worshiped 8 the disgusting idols 9 in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 10
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.” 11 17:14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, 12 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. 13 They paid allegiance to 14 worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. 15 They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 16 17:16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, 17 and worshiped 18 Baal. 17:17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, 19 and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry. 20
1 tn Heb “and from under the hand of.” The words “freed them” are added in the translation for stylistic reasons.
2 tn Heb “feared.”
3 tn Heb “walked in the customs.”
4 tn Heb “and [the practices of] the kings of Israel which they did.”
5 tn The meaning of the verb וַיְחַפְּאוּ (vayÿkhappÿ’u), translated here “said,” is uncertain. Some relate it to the verbal root חָפַה (khafah), “to cover,” and translate “they did it in secret” (see BDB 341 s.v. חָפָא). However, the pagan practices specified in the following sentences were hardly done in secret. Others propose a meaning “ascribe, impute,” which makes good contextual sense but has little etymological support (see HALOT 339 s.v. חפא). In this case Israel claimed that the
6 sn That is, from the city’s perimeter to the central citadel.
7 tn Heb “and they did evil things, angering the
8 tn Or “served.”
10 tn Heb “about which the
11 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.”
12 tn Heb and they stiffened their neck like the neck of their fathers.”
13 tn Or “and his warnings he had given them.”
14 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
15 tn Heb “they followed after the worthless thing/things and became worthless.” The words “to the
16 tn Heb “and [they walked] after the nations which were around them, concerning which the
17 tn The phrase כָל צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם (khol tsÿva’ hashamayim), traditionally translated “all the host of heaven,” refers to the heavenly lights, including stars and planets. In 1 Kgs 22:19 these heavenly bodies are pictured as members of the Lord’s royal court or assembly, but many other texts view them as the illegitimate objects of pagan and Israelite worship.
18 tn Or “served.”
20 tn Heb “they sold themselves to doing what was evil in the eyes of the