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 Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods; 17:8 they observed the practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 17:9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 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. 17:12 They worshiped the disgusting idols in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command.
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.” 17:14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, 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. They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 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, and worshiped Baal. 17:17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry.
17:18 So the Lord was furious with Israel and rejected them; only the tribe of Judah was left. 17:19 Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. 17:20 So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. 17:21 He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, and Jeroboam son of Nebat became their king. Jeroboam drove Israel away from the Lord and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 17:22 The Israelites followed in the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and did not repudiate them. 17:23 Finally the Lord rejected Israel just as he had warned he would do through all his servants the prophets. Israel was deported from its land to Assyria and remains there to this very day.
17:24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities.