Samaria fell because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the king of Egypt and had led them out of Egypt. They worshiped other gods,
followed the customs of the people whom the Lord had driven out as his people advanced, and adopted customs introduced by the kings of Israel.
The Israelites did things that the Lord their God disapproved of. They built pagan places of worship in all their towns, from the smallest village to the largest city.
On all the hills and under every shady tree they put up stone pillars and images of the goddess Asherah, 1
and they burned incense on all the pagan altars, following the practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land. They aroused the Lord's anger with all their wicked deeds
and disobeyed the Lord's command not to worship idols.
The Lord had sent his messengers and prophets to warn Israel and Judah: "Abandon your evil ways and obey my commands, which are contained in the Law I gave to your ancestors and which I handed on to you through my servants the prophets."
But they would not obey; they were stubborn like their ancestors, who had not trusted in the Lord their God.
They refused to obey his instructions, they did not keep the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they disregarded his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves, and they followed the customs of the surrounding nations, disobeying the Lord's command not to imitate them.
They broke all the laws of the Lord their God and made two metal bull-calves to worship; they also made an image of the goddess Asherah, worshiped the stars, and served the god Baal. 2
They sacrificed their sons and daughters as burnt offerings to pagan gods; they consulted mediums and fortunetellers, and they devoted themselves completely to doing what is wrong in the Lord's sight, and so aroused his anger. 3
The Lord was angry with the Israelites and banished them from his sight, leaving only the kingdom of Judah.
But even the people of Judah did not obey the laws of the Lord their God; they imitated the customs adopted by the people of Israel.
The Lord rejected all the Israelites, punishing them and handing them over to cruel enemies until at last he had banished them from his sight.
After the Lord had separated Israel from Judah, the Israelites made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam caused them to abandon the Lord and led them into terrible sins.
They followed Jeroboam and continued to practice all the sins he had committed,
until at last the Lord banished them from his sight, as he had warned through his servants the prophets that he would do. So the people of Israel were taken into exile to Assyria, where they still live.