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CHAPTER 17 Sep. 11 
Israel Are Taken Captive into Assyria
In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel for nine years. 2He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and brought him tribute. 4The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. 5Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7It was so, because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had feared other gods, 8and walked in the statutes of the kings of Israel which they had made, and of the nations, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel. 9The children of Israel did secretly things that were not right against Yahweh their God. They built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city; 10and they set them up pillars and Asherim on every high hill, and under every green tree. 11There they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the nations whom Yahweh carried away before them; and they worked wicked things to provoke Yahweh to anger; 12and they served idols, of which Yahweh had said to them, You shall not do this thing. 13Yet Yahweh testified to Israel and to Judah, by every prophet and every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets. 14Notwithstanding, they would not listen, but stiffened their neck, like the neck of their fathers, who didn’t believe in Yahweh their God. 15They rejected His statutes and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified to them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom Yahweh had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16They forsook all the commandments of Yahweh their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah, and worshipped all the army of the sky, and served Baal. 17They caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke Him to anger. 18Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only. 19Also Judah didn’t keep the commandments of Yahweh their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. 20Yahweh 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 sight. 21For He tore Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Jeroboam drove Israel from following Yahweh, and made them sin a great sin. 22The children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they didn’t depart from them; 23until Yahweh removed Israel out of His sight, as He spoke by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria to this day. 24The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and lived in the cities of it. 25So it was, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they didn’t fear Yahweh; therefore Yahweh sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26Therefore they spoke to the king of Assyria saying, The nations which you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria, don’t know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them, because they don’t know the law of the god of the land. 27Then the king of Assyria commanded saying, Carry there one of the priests whom you brought from there; and let them go and dwell there, and let him 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, and taught them how they should fear Yahweh. 29However every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived. 30The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32So they feared Yahweh, and made to them from among themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33They feared Yahweh, and served their own gods, after the ways of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. 
The Broken Covenant
34To this day they do what they did before: they don’t fear Yahweh, neither do they follow their statutes, or their ordinances, or the law or the commandment which Yahweh commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel. 35 Yahweh had made a covenant with them and commanded them saying, You shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them; 36but you shall fear Yahweh, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, and you shall bow yourselves to Him, and you shall sacrifice to Him. 37The statutes and the ordinances, the law and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do for evermore. You shall not fear other gods. 38You shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you; neither shall you fear other gods. 39But you shall fear Yahweh your God; and He will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. 40However they did not listen, but they did what they did before. 41So these nations feared Yahweh, and served their engraved images. Their children likewise, and their children’s children, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.


17:13-18 Sinfulness is sometimes attached to people apart from the things which they currently do wrong. Sin is serious. The last generation of Israel were judged for their sins not because they had sinned more than any other generation, but because the collective, unforgiven sin of Israel had accumulated with God to such an extent that His judgments fell (:2,13-18; Ez. 9:9). God is not passive and overlooking of unrepented sin, even though His patience and the high threshold level He sets before releasing judgment may make it look like this. The Amorites were likewise only judged once the cup of their iniquities reached a certain level (Gen. 15:16). The passage of time doesn’t work some kind of atonement for our sins.
17:15 They followed vanity, and became vain- The idols are referred to as ‘vanities’; those who served them became like them (Ps. 115:8; 135:18). Whilst we may not worship pieces of wood and stone, modern society is full of vain things such as never before. The internet has encouraged this to a huge extent, so that by the end of many modern lives all a person has done is to click a mouse and hit some keys millions of times in vain entertainment and frivolous social commentary, and watched thousands of hours of movies flickering on a screen. Yet the service of the true God provides us with opportunities to use our lives with ultimate, eternal significance and purpose. If we serve Him, the God of ultimate purpose, the antithesis of vanity, we shall become like Him.
17:33,34 They feared Yahweh... they don’t fear Yahweh- To serve God and also other gods isn’t serving God at all- because we simply can’t serve two masters (Mt. 6:24). There is no third way- devotion to God must be total, for anything less than that is effectively not serving Him at all. This explains the apparently exaggerated language of :15,16- that Israel rejected all God’s laws and broke every one of His commandments. It’s clear they didn’t become atheists, they didn’t formally reject Yahweh, they kept some of His laws. But because their obedience was so incomplete, God counted them as effectively not being obedient at all. Clearly enough, our relationship with God can’t be a mere hobby, an intellectual assent, an occasional fascination, a Sundays only affair. It has to be of the heart. 
17:37 The commandment which He wrote for you- God’s word is personally written to each generation; the words of the Bible aren’t of merely historical interest. God’s word is a living word, speaking to and written for each generation in a way which human words and documents can never be. Because the Bible is literature, we can too easily assume it isonly literature. As a genre of communication, it is unique; such is the wonder of the inspired Bible.