2 Kings 17:24-41 (Holman Christian Standard)

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Foreign Refugees in Israel

24 Then the king of Assyria brought [people] from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria. The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first lived there, they did not fear the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 The settlers spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the God of the land. Therefore, He has sent lions among them, which are killing them because the people don't know the custom of the God of the land." 27 Then the king of Assyria issued a command: "Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the custom of the God of the land." 28 So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear the Lord. 29 But [the people of] each nation, in the cities where they lived, were still making their own gods and putting them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made.a 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvaim. 32 So they feared the Lord, but they also appointed from their number, priests to serve them in the shrines of the high places.b 33 They feared the Lord, but they also worshiped their own gods according to the custom of the nations where they had been deported from. 34 They are [still] practicing the former customs to this day. None of them fear the Lord or observe their statutes and ordinances, the law and commandments the Lord commanded the descendants of Jacob; He renamed him Israel. 35 The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, "Do not fear other gods; do not bow down to them; do not serve them;c do not sacrifice to them. 36 Instead, fear the Lord, who brought you from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm. You are to bow down to Him, and you are to sacrifice to Him. 37 You are to be careful always to observe the statutes, the ordinances, the laws, and the commandment He wrote for you; do not fear other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I have made with you. Do not fear other gods, 39 but fear the Lord your God, and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." 40 However, they would not listen but continued practicing their former custom. 41 These nations feared the Lord but also served their idols. Their children and grandchildren continue doing as their fathers did until today.
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