The Assyrian king brought people from Babylon, Cuth, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, resettling them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. These people took control of Samaria and settled in its cities.
But when they began to live there, they didn't worship the LORD, so the LORD sent lions against them, and the lions began to kill them.
Assyria's king was told about this: "The nations you sent into exile and resettled in the cities of Samaria don't know the religious practices of the local god. He's sent lions against them, and the lions are killing them because none of them know the religious practices of the local god."
So Assyria's king commanded, "Return one of the priests that you exiled from there. He should go back and live there. He should teach them the religious practices of the local god."
So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria went back. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the LORD.
But each nationality still made its own gods. They set them up in the houses that the people of Samaria had made at the shrines. Each nationality did this in whichever cities they lived.
The Babylonian people made the god Succoth-benoth, the Cuthean people made Nergal, and the people from Hamath made Ashima.
The Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak. The Sepharvites burned their children alive as a sacrifice to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the Sepharvite gods.
They also worshipped the LORD, but they appointed priests for the shrines from their whole population. These priests worked in the houses at the shrines.
So they worshipped the LORD, but they also served their own gods according to the religious practices of the nations from which they had been exiled.
They are still following their former religious practices to this very day. They don't really worship the LORD. Nor do they follow the regulations, the case laws, the Instruction, or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel.
The LORD had made a covenant with them, commanding them, Don't worship other gods. Don't bow down to them or serve them. Don't sacrifice to them.
Instead, worship only the LORD. He's the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great strength and an outstretched arm. Bow down to him! Sacrifice to him!
You must carefully keep the regulations and case laws, the Instruction, and the commandment that he wrote for you. Don't worship other gods.
Don't forget the covenant that I made with you. Don't worship other gods.
Instead, worship only the LORD your God. He will rescue you from your enemies' power.
But they wouldn't listen. Instead, they continued doing their former religious practices.
So these nations worship the LORD, but they also serve their idols. The children and the grandchildren are doing the very same thing their parents did. And that's how things still are today.