This disaster came upon the nation of Israel because the people worshiped other gods, sinning against the LORD their God, who had brought them safely out of their slavery in Egypt.
They had imitated the practices of the pagan nations the LORD had driven from the land before them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced.
The people of Israel had also secretly done many things that were not pleasing to the LORD their God. They built pagan shrines for themselves in all their towns, from the smallest outpost to the largest walled city.
They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles at the top of every hill and under every green tree.
They burned incense at the shrines, just like the nations the LORD had driven from the land ahead of them. So the people of Israel had done many evil things, arousing the LORD's anger.
Yes, they worshiped idols, despite the LORD's specific and repeated warnings.
Again and again the LORD had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: "Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and laws, which are contained in the whole law that I commanded your ancestors and which I gave you through my servants the prophets."
But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors and refused to believe in the LORD their God.
They rejected his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the LORD's command not to imitate them.
They defied all the commands of the LORD their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven.
They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. a They consulted fortune-tellers and used sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the LORD's anger.
And because the LORD was angry, he swept them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land.
But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the LORD their God. They walked down the same evil paths that Israel had established.
So the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until they were destroyed.
For when the LORD tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Then Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin.
And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins of idolatry
until the LORD finally swept them away, just as all his prophets had warned would happen. So Israel was carried off to the land of Assyria, where they remain to this day.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)