17:2 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, a but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.
(a) Though he invented no new idolatry or impiety as others did, yet he sought help from the Egyptians, whom God had forbidden. 17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, b as [he had done] year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.
(b) For he had paid tribute for eight years. 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the c Medes.
(c) For at this time the Medes and Persians were subject to the Assyrians. 17:7 For [so] it was, that the children of Israel had d sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
(d) He sets forth at length the cause of this great plague and perpetual captivity, to admonish all people, and nations to cleave to the Lord God, and worship only him for fear of similar judgment. 17:9 And the children of Israel did secretly [those] things that [were] not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower e of the watchmen to the fenced city.
(e) Meaning, throughout all their borders. 17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their f fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
(f) So that to allege the authority of our fathers or great antiquity, except we can prove that they were godly, is but to declare that we are the children of the wicked. 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, [even] two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the g host of heaven, and served Baal.
(g) That is, the sun, moon and stars, ( Deuteronomy 4:19 ). 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to h pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and i sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
(h) Read ( 2 Kings 16:3 ). 17:18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah k only.
(i) Read of this phrase in ( 1 Kings 21:20 1 Kings 21:25 ).
(k) No whole tribe was left but Judah, and they of Benjamin and Levi who remained were counted with Judah. 17:20 And the LORD rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his l sight.
(l) Out of the land where he showed the greatest tokens of his presence and favour. 17:21 m For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.
(m) That is, God cut off the ten tribes, ( 1 Kings 12:16 1 Kings 12:20 ). 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought [men] from Babylon, and from n Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
(n) Of these people came the Samaritans, of which mention is so often made in the gospel, and with whom the Jews would have nothing to do, ( John 4:9 ). 17:25 And [so] it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, [that] they o feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew [some] of them.
(o) That is, they served him not: therefore, lest they should blaspheme him, as though there were no God, because he chastised the Israelites, he shows his mighty power among them by this strange punishment. 17:27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God p of the land.
(p) That is, how to worship him: thus the wicked rather than losing their conveniences will change to all religions. 17:30 And the men of Babylon made q Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
(q) Meaning that every country served the idol that was most esteemed in the place to which they came. 17:33 They r feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
(r) That is, they had a certain knowledge of God, and feared him because of the punishment, but they continued to be idolaters as do the papists who worship both God and idols: but this is not to fear God, as appears in ( 2 Kings 17:34 ). 17:34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after s their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
(s) He means by this the Israelites to whom God had given his commandments. 17:41 So these t nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their childrens children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
(t) That is, these strangers who were sent into Samaria by the Assyrians.