23 until the Lord removed them from his presence,(A) as he had warned(B) through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland(C) into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.

Samaria Resettled

24 The king of Assyria(D) brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim(E) and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns. 25 When they first lived there, they did not worship the Lord; so he sent lions(F) among them and they killed some of the people. 26 It was reported to the king of Assyria: “The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires.”

27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.

29 Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns(G) where they settled, and set them up in the shrines(H) the people of Samaria had made at the high places.(I) 30 The people from Babylon made Sukkoth Benoth, those from Kuthah made Nergal, and those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelek(J) and Anammelek, the gods of Sepharvaim.(K) 32 They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts(L) of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

34 To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship the Lord nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel.(M) 35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship(N) any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them.(O)

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