During a string of kings in Israel (2 Kings 14-16), the king of Assyria came and captured seven cities in the land of Napthali and “carried them captive to Assyria” (15:29). A few years later he captured Damascus “and carried the people of it away into exile” (16:7-9). “Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years” and then “captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria” (17:5-6). “Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods… So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.” (17:7-23).
Assyria brought people from other places “and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel” (17:24). One of the Israelite priests “taught them how they should fear the LORD” (17:25-28). “But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made,… So while these nations feared the LORD, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.” (17:29-41). This is why the Jews in the time of Jesus despised the people of Samaria (John 4:9).
The Lord told the people that if they would fear Him He would deliver them; but “they would not listen, but persisted in their former practices.” (17:39-40). Our main purpose in life is the same – to fear God and keep His commandments – and someday we will be judged accordingly (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Are you listening?
Have a great day in His word!