II Kin. 17:5-41
“Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight…” Those were sad words written about God’s chosen people. They were a people that He had rescued from Egyptian slavery, nourished throughout a forty-year wilderness wandering and settled into a land that He had provided by fighting their wars for them.
Israel just didn’t get it. For hundreds of years later, they were a perfect picture of ingratitude as they murmured, complained and rebelled against all of the rules that God had set for them. Instead of worshipping the Lord according to His will, they worshipped the lifeless idols of the people around them. He had sent prophets to warn them of destruction if they did not turn and obey Him, but those warnings fell upon deaf ears.
God used the king of Assyria to inflict His punishment upon Israel. They were besieged during the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign and taken from their land as captives into Assyria. The Assyrian king then relocated people from other places to inhabit the land that had belonged to Israel.
The new inhabitants of Samaria soon found that they too were being punished because they were worshipping idols instead of worshipping the God of the land. An exiled priest from Israel was brought in to teach the people the rituals of the God of the land. They became like so many people today in that they tried to hold on to a relationship with God while continuing to hold to the customs around them.