They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left,
and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.
Therefore the LORD rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.
When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the LORD and caused them to commit a great sin.
The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them
until the LORD removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.
The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns.
When they first lived there, they did not worship the LORD; so he sent lions among them and they killed some of the people.
It was reported to the king of Assyria: "The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires."
Then the king of Assyria gave this order: "Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires."
So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the LORD.
Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places.
The men from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men from Cuthah made Nergal, and the men from Hamath made Ashima;
the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
They worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places.
They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the LORD nor adhere to the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands that the LORD gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.
When the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: "Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.
But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices.
You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods.
Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.
Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies."
They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices.
Even while these people were worshiping the LORD, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done.
He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan. )
Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.
And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.
From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
In King Hezekiah's fourth year, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria marched against Samaria and laid siege to it.
At the end of three years the Assyrians took it. So Samaria was captured in Hezekiah's sixth year, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel.
The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes.
This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant--all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.