This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the LORD had driven from the land ahead of 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 offered sacrifices on all the hilltops, 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.
References for 2 Kings 17:12
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 decrees—the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.”
But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the LORD their God.
They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the LORD ’s command not to imitate them.
They rejected 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. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the LORD ’s anger.
References for 2 Kings 17:17
Because the LORD was very angry with Israel, he swept them away 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, for they followed the evil practices that Israel had introduced.
The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until he had banished Israel from his presence.
For when the LORD tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. But Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin.
References for 2 Kings 17:21
And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins
until the LORD finally swept them away from his presence, just as all his prophets had warned. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria, where they remain to this day.