17 In the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria 1 for nine years. 2 He did evil in the sight of 2 the Lord, but not to the same degree as the Israelite kings who preceded him. 3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria threatened 3 him; Hoshea became his subject and paid him tribute. 4 The king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was planning a revolt. 4 Hoshea had sent messengers to King So 5 of Egypt and had not sent his annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested him and imprisoned him. 6 5 The king of Assyria marched through 7 the whole land. He attacked Samaria and besieged it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the people of Israel 8 to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes.
7 This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of 9 Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped 10 other gods; 8 they observed the practices 11 of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 12 9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. 13 They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 14 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away from before them. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 15 12 They worshiped 16 the disgusting idols 17 in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 18
13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 19 14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, 20 who had not trusted the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. 21 They paid allegiance to 22 worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. 23 They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 24 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, 25 and worshiped 26 Baal. 17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, 27 and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry. 28
18 So the Lord was furious 29 with Israel and rejected them; 30 only the tribe of Judah was left. 19 Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. 31 20 So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated 32 them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. 21 He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, and Jeroboam son of Nebat became their king. 33 Jeroboam drove Israel away 34 from the Lord and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 35 22 The Israelites followed in the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and did not repudiate 36 them. 23 Finally 37 the Lord rejected Israel 38 just as he had warned he would do 39 through all his servants the prophets. Israel was deported from its land to Assyria and remains there to this very day.
24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners 40 from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria 41 in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first moved in, 42 they did not worship 43 the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 26 The king of Assyria was told, 44 “The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people 45 because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 27 So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you 46 deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 47 28 So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel. 48 He taught them how to worship 49 the Lord.
29 But each of these nations made 50 its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria 51 had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 30 The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, 52 the people from Cuth made Nergal, 53 the people from Hamath made Ashima, 54 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, 55 and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech, 56 the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 At the same time they worshiped 57 the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places. 58 33 They were worshiping 59 the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.
34 To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship 60 the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave 61 the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 35 The Lord made an agreement 62 with them 63 and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 36 Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; 64 bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 37 You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 38 You must never forget the agreement I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 39 Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 40 But they 65 pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 41 These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.
18 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. 1 His mother 2 was Abi, 3 the daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 4 He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. 5 He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time 6 the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. 7 5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. 8 6 He was loyal to 9 the Lord and did not abandon him. 10 He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to 11 Moses. 7 The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. 12 He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 13 8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress. 14
9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched 15 up against Samaria 16 and besieged it. 10 After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 11 The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel 17 to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 12 This happened because they did not obey 18 the Lord their God and broke his agreement with them. 19 They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded. 20
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, “I have violated our treaty. 21 If you leave, I will do whatever you demand.” 22 So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred talents 23 of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver in 24 the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the metal overlays from the doors of the Lord’s temple and from the posts which he had plated 25 and gave them to the king of Assyria.
17 The king of Assyria sent his commanding general, the chief eunuch, and the chief adviser 26 from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 27 along with a large army. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They went 28 and stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 29 18 They summoned the king, so Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet them.
19 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 30 20 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 31 In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? 21 Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 22 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem.’ 23 Now make a deal 32 with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 24 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 33 25 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this place to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March 34 up against this land and destroy it.’”’” 35
26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 36 for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 37 in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27 But the chief adviser said to them, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 38 His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you.” 39
28 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 40 “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 41 30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 42 Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” 33 Have any of the gods of the nations actually rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 43 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? 44 Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 45 from my power? 46 35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’” 47 36 The people were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”
37 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn 48 and reported to him what the chief adviser had said.