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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Kings 17

Reign of Hoshea in Israel, The israelites carried captives by the Assyrians. (1-6) Captivity of the Israelites. (7-23) The nations placed in the land of Israel. (24-41)

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Reign of Hoshea in Israel, The israelites carried captives by the Assyrians

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years.

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.

4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present 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.

5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Captivity of the Israelites

7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,

8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.

9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:

11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:

12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.

13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye 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.

14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.

15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.

16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.

20 And the LORD 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.

21 For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.

22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them;

23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

The nations placed in the land of Israel

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.

25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them.

26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.

27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.

28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

29 Howbeit 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 wherein they dwelt.

30 And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,

31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;

35 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:

36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.

38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.

39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.

41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Twelfth. Houbigant would substitute 14th, to make the dates agree, p. 113. See C. xv. 30. H. — Till this time, Osee had been tributary to the Assyrian monarch. Grotius. — Heb. may be, “in the 12th year…Osee…had reigned…nine years; which his true. C. — He reigned so long afterwards, v. 6. H.

Ver. 2. Him. The Jews say, that he did not hinder his subjects from going to Jerusalem to adore. One of the golden calves had been sent away by Manahem. Osee x. 5. C. — Yet under the less wicked king the nation is destroyed, as their crimes were come to the height; and Osee had not sufficient virtue to suspend the stroke of divine justice any longer. H.

Ver. 3. Salmanasar, who is called Salman, or Salomo; (Osee x. 14.) and Enemassar, in the Greek of Toby. The Tyrians relate that he took many of their towns, but that Tyre sustained a siege of five years. Joseph. ix. 14.

Ver. 4. Sua; probably Sabachon, king of Ethiopia, who made himself master of Egypt, and burnt king Bocchoris alive. Herodotus (ii. 137.) calls him Abacus. Jocquelot thinks that Sethon is meant, and that he was invaded by Sennacherib on account of this league with Osee. C. — Prison, after he had taken the city, (H.) which held out three years. This great city was then reduced to a heap of ruins, and so continued till after the captivity of the Jews, (1 Esd. iv. 17.) when it began to be peopled again. The inhabitants revolted against Alexander the Great, who placed Macedonians in their city, and gave the territory to the Jews. It was afterwards seized by the kings of Egypt and of Syria. But Hyrcan retook it, and levelled it with the ground. Gabinius built another town here, which bore his name till Herod greatly enlarged it, and called it Sebaste. C. — The prophets describe the distress of Samaria. Osee x. 4. and xiv. 1. Mic. i. 6. Jer. xxxi. 5.

Ver. 6. Medes. See C. xvi. 9. The great maxim and policy of these nations, was to transport the conquered nations to a distant country, in order to prevent any revolts. C.

Ver. 9. Offended. Heb. “They concealed (or spoke secretly, H.) words, which were not right before the Lord:” (C.) being guilty of hypocrisy or of blasphemy. H. — Watchmen: the meanest huts. T. — All was contaminated. C. — Towers were erected to guard the flocks from thieves. 2 Par. xxvi. 10. M.

Ver. 10. Groves. Heb. Asherim, Astarte or Venus, to whom “the groves” were consecrated. C. xxi. 7. and xxiii. 4. C.

Ver. 11. Removed by the sword, (M.) or by flight. H.

Ver. 12. Abominations. Heb. gillulim, “idols of dung.” — Thing. Lit. “word.”

Ver. 13. Seers. See 1 K. ix. 9. M. — God never ceased to admonish the rebels. H. — Jer. xxv. 5. M.

Ver. 15. Testimonies. The ceremonial law was in memory of some great transactions, as the sabbath was of the creation; and the whole law was given with great solemnity, in the presence of witnesses. C.

Ver. 16. Heaven: sun and mood; and the stars, which were like the soldiers of the two former. This expression is very common in Scripture.

Ver. 17. Fire. See C. xvi. 3. — Delivered. Heb. “sold,” 3 K. xxi. 20. 1 Mac. i. 16. C. — To provoke. This was the consequence of their wickedness. W.

Ver. 18. Sight, as objects of horror, cast away from the temple, and from the promised land. — Tribe, or kingdom. See 3 K. xii. 20. Israel began to be rejected by God, when the schism took place. H. — It was entirely lost, when Salmanasar took the people into captivity. Some few were left; and these formed a part of the kingdom of Josias, on their returning to the service of the true God, (2 Par. xxiv. 6.) while others fled into Egypt. Osee viii. 13. and ix. 3. C.

Ver. 23. Day. If Esdras was the author of this book, as it is very probable, this observation would tend to show how much more favourably the Jews were treated than the kingdom of Israel, which was still, for the most part, in captivity. C.

Ver. 24. King, Assaraddon, who led away the remnants of Israel, and fulfilled the prediction, Isai. vii. 8. D. — Babylon, or the territory. These people had been lately conquered from the Babylonian empire, from Syria, &c. — Cutha: the greatest part were from this city; so that the Samaritans were afterwards called Cutheans. — Emath, on the Orontes. — Sepharvaim; or the Saspires, near Media. C. — We find several other places mentioned, 1 Esd. iv. 9. H.

Ver. 25. Lions. The Sam. Chronicle says the fruits, though beautiful to the eye, were of a poisonous quality; and Josephus, as usual, (ix. 14.) alters the text, saying that the people were afflicted with pestilence, and the oracle being consulted, told them to worship the High God; on which account, they desired the king to send them a priest. C. — These nations had not been accustomed to fear the Lord in their own country; but God was more offended when they exercised their idolatrous worship in that land, which he had chosen in a particular manner for himself. M. — He suffers wickedness and infidelity to prevail to a certain point; but when his patience is exhausted, (C.) all nature fights for him against the wicked. H.

Ver. 26. King; Assar-adon. 1 Esd. iv. 2. They did not send as soon as they came into the country. — Land. They reason according to their false notions, as if a plurality of gods were not incompatible: and all would go on well, if each were served according to his will. On the same principle, they united the worship of the true God with that of idols, (C.) as had been done before by the Israelites. M. — Yet God having shewn that he could have forced them to comply, (Tostat.) was pleased to remove the scourge; as if he preferred that imperfect worship rather than to suffer pure idolatry to reign. Genebrard.

Ver. 27. Let him. Heb. Chal. Sept. “them go.” Probably more went; but one was of superior dignity. He might have been priest of the golden calves, as none of the priests of Jerusalem had yet been taken. Hence he taught the Cutheans to join the worship of God with that of idols. Some think that no part of the Scripture was used among them, till the building of the temple by Sanballat, on Mount Garizim: (Le Quien, Antiquite. v. 13.) but this is extremely improbable. How should he pretend to teach the law without the books of Moses? H. — The Samaritans have retained the Pentateuch in the PhÅ“nician character, while the Jews have insensibly adopted the Chaldee, during their captivity. On some occasions, these people have boasted of their descent from the patriarchs. Jo. iv. 12. and 20. But in times of danger, they have confessed their true origin. Joseph. ix. fin. and xii. 5.

Ver. 28. Bethel. Garizim was not then honoured with the temple, as the Samaritans would pretend. Chron. They wished to join in building that at Jerusalem, under Esdras. C. — Lord. Collins would make us believe, that the Samaritans continued “for a long time” without the Pentateuch, and all “heathens for many ages.” But the first supposition “is to me incredible,” says Kennicott; and Hottinger himself allows, that the priests did bring back a copy of the law “exactly corresponding with the autograph of Moses.” Exert. p. 8. And as for the Samaritans being heathens, Prideaux, whom this infidel writer quotes, (H.) says, “consistently with his Bible, that they continued in that gross idolatry of worshipping other gods in conjunction with the True; which last words are very unfairly omitted.” Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 115. — This was the true origin and state of this mixture of nations, who were sent to cultivate the lands of Samaria. H.

Ver. 29. Dwelt. This impure service did not deserve a mitigation of the late chastisement. But God often punishes in this world (H.) to manifest his glory, (Jo. ix. 3.) and spares to display his power (C.) and goodness. H. — He had sufficiently convinced these nations of his dominion over all.

Ver. 30. Socoth-benoth, “the tents of young women,” who prostituted themselves once in their lives at Babylon, in honour of Mylitta. Herod. ii. 199. — Nergel, “light.” C. — The Pyreia (H.) of the Persians are famous in history. Strabo xv. Selden, Synt. ii. 8. — Asima, like an ape, goat, &c. C.

Ver. 31. Hevites, who came from Ava. — Nebahaz. “Nebo the seeing, or living and possessing.” Nebo was a famous idol of Babylon. — Tharthac; perhaps Sar, (prince) Sak, or Sesac, (Jer. xxv. 26. and li. 41.) the sun, &c. — Adramelech, “the magnificent king,” and Anamelech, “the king of clemency,” may denote the sun and moon; as these were the divinities commonly adored in the East, under various names. The same victims were offered to these as to Moloc and Saturn; whence we may infer, that they were the same idols. S. Jerom translates the work of Eusebius on the Heb. (C.) and places without any disapprobation of his opinion, that Socoth-benoth, &c. were the names of towns, which the people built in Samaria. H.

Ver. 32. Worshipped, or appeared to worship: for true religion admits of no false god. W. — Lowest. This expression sometimes means the most noble. H. — But the priests were chosen from the midst of the people, without examination. They employed the priest, whom the king had sent for the worship of the true God, whilst others were appointed to serve the idols. C.

Ver. 34. His ceremonies. Heb. “they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes.” Prot. H. — This involves a sort of contradiction, unless we explain it of the Israelites; thought hey had not been mentioned before. There is a confusion in the original text; and v. 41 seems to require that we should understand it in this manner, as the Cutheans could hardly be blamed for neglecting a thing of which they had before no knowledge. The Israelites are justly blamed for obstinately continuing in their prevarication, even in the midst of their captivity. The Syr. and Arab. translate, “The Israelites have been forced to leave their country, because they have abandoned the Lord; and they have not obeyed his laws, his precepts, and his ordinances, which he gave to,” &c. Many adopt this explanation. Jun. Vatab. &c. C. — Sept. make these people unite the true and the false worship, as v. 41. “They did according to their judgment. These fear, and do according to their justifications (dikaiomata) and decision; and according to the law,” &c. H.