2Kgs 17-18

Hoshea Reigns over Israel 1In the twelfth year of King Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel; he reigned nine years.2He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not like the kings of Israel who were before him.3King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against him; Hoshea became his vassal, and paid him tribute.4But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to King So of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; therefore the king of Assyria confined him and imprisoned him.Israel Carried Captive to Assyria 5Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it.6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.7This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods8and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced.9The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city;10they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree;11there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger;12they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.”13Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”14They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.15They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did.16They rejected all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.17They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.18Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.19Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced.20The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel; he punished them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had banished them from his presence.21When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord and made them commit great sin.22The people of Israel continued in all the sins that Jeroboam committed; they did not depart from them23until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.Assyria Resettles Samaria 24The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities.25When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them.26So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.”27Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.”28So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the Lord.29But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived;30the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima;31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.32They also worshiped the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.33So they worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.34To this day they continue to practice their former customs. They do not worship the Lord and they do not follow the statutes or the ordinances or the law or the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel.35The Lord had made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not worship other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them,36but you shall worship the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice.37The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship other gods;38you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not worship other gods,39but you shall worship the Lord your God; he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.”40They would not listen, however, but they continued to practice their former custom.41So these nations worshiped the Lord, but also served their carved images; to this day their children and their children's children continue to do as their ancestors did.Chapter 18Hezekiah's Reign over Judah 1In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign.2He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi daughter of Zechariah.3He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done.4He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan.5He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him.6For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses.7The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.8He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.9In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it,10and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken.11The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,12because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.Sennacherib Invades Judah 13In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.14King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.15Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king's house.16At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria.17The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller's Field.18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.19The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours?20Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me?21See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him.22But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?23Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them.24How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?25Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.”27But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”28Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria!29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand.30Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’31Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern,32until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us.33Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?35Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”36But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, “Do not answer him.”37Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.