בִּשְׁנַת שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה לְאָחָז מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה מָלַךְ הוֹשֵׁעַ בֶּן־אֵלָה בְשֹׁמְרוֹן עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים׃ 17:1
2Kin. 17:1 In the year of twelve for Ahaz, king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria nine years.
וַיַּעַשׂ הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה רַק לֹא כְּמַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ לְפָנָיו׃ 17:2
2Kin. 17:2 And he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not like the kings of Israel who were before him.
עָלָיו עָלָה שַׁלְמַנְאֶסֶר מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וַיְהִי־לוֹ הוֹשֵׁעַ עֶבֶד וַיָּשֶׁב לוֹ מִנְחָה׃ 17:3
2Kin. 17:3 Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, came up against him, and Hoshea was a servant for him and he brought gifts for him. [Return to Hose. 10:14]
וַיִּמְצָא מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר בְּהוֹשֵׁעַ קֶשֶׁר אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַח מַלְאָכִים אֶל־סוֹא מֶלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם וְלֹא־הֶעֱלָה מִנְחָה 17:4 לְמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר כְּשָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה וַיַּעַצְרֵהוּ מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וַיַּאַסְרֵהוּ בֵּית כֶּלֶא׃
2Kin. 17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea, that he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and had not offered a gift to the king of Assyria like year after year. So the king of Assyria retained him and bound him in a prison. [Return to Jere. 37:4]
וַיַּעַל מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּעַל שֹׁמְרוֹן וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים׃ 17:5
2Kin. 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout the land, and he came up to Samaria and lay siege against it three years.
בִּשְׁנַת הַתְּשִׁיעִית לְהוֹשֵׁעַ לָכַד מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר אֶת־שֹׁמְרוֹן וַיֶּגֶל אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל אַשּׁוּרָה וַיֹּשֶׁב אֹתָם בַּחְלַח 17:6 וּבְחָבוֹר נְהַר גּוֹזָן וְעָרֵי מָדָי׃
2Kin. 17:6 In the eighth year for Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and took Israel captive to Assyria and set them down in Halah and in Habor, the river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes.
וַיְהִי כִּי־חָטְאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם הַמַּעֲלֶה אֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִתַּחַת יַד פַּרְעֹה 17:7 מֶלֶךְ־מִצְרָיִם וַיִּירְאוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים׃
2Kin. 17:7 And it had happened because the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord, their God, Who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharoah, king of Egypt, and had worshipped other gods,
וַיֵּלְכוּ בְּחֻקּוֹת הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר הוֹרִישׁ יְהוָה מִפְּנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ׃ 17:8
2Kin. 17:8 and went in the customs of the nations that the Lord had cast out from the presence of the children of Israel, and the kings of Israel that practiced,
וַיְחַפְּאוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל דְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־כֵן עַל־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיִּבְנוּ לָהֶם בָּמוֹת בְּכָל־עָרֵיהֶם מִמִּגְדַּל 17:9 נוֹצְרִים עַד־עִיר מִבְצָר׃
2Kin. 17:9 and the children of Israel had done things secretly, that were not right, against the Lord, their God, and they had built for themselves high places in all their cities, from the towers of the watchmen to the fortified cities,
וַיַּצִּבוּ לָהֶם מַצֵּבוֹת וַאֲשֵׁרִים עַל כָּל־גִּבְעָה גְבֹהָה וְתַחַת כָּל־עֵץ רַעֲנָן׃ 17:10
2Kin. 17:10 and they set up pillars and Asherim for themselves on every hill and beneath every leafy tree,
וַיְקַטְּרוּ־שָׁם בְּכָל־בָּמוֹת כַּגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר־הֶגְלָה יְהוָה מִפְּנֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲשׂוּ דְּבָרִים רָעִים לְהַכְעִיס אֶת־יְהוָה׃ 17:11
2Kin. 17:11 and they offered there in all the high places like the nations that the Lord had carried away from their presence, and did wicked things to provoke the Lord,
וַיַּעַבְדוּ הַגִּלֻּלִים אֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה לָהֶם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃ 17:12
2Kin. 17:12 and they served the idols of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.”
Verses 17:7 to this one constitute a single statement, and is the explanation by the scribe (or the one who dictated this to the scribe) for the misfortune of the Jews of Israel. We can plainly see that the statement expresses the belief that these events were brought about by the straying of the inhabitants and their kings. Notice that the statement does not necessarily interpret the events as a punishment. The implication is merely that the events are a consequence of the people’s free-will behavior.
The reason I bring this point up is the following. Many Jews today object when anyone implies that we are ourselves responsible for the hardships we face as a nation (and as individuals) and the world’s hatred of us. The objectors accuse them of self-loathing or misplaced guilt feelings. Yet here, and in Deuteronomy Chapter 28 (remember the so-called “blessings” and “curses?”), and elsewhere, we are told that our behavior does have consequences. Behavior borne of our ignoring or rejecting God results in difficulty whereas God-loving and God-revering behavior produces better results. I have to suggest that those who object to this are ignoring one of the central messages of the Torah and the bible.
וַיָּעַד יְהוָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וּבִיהוּדָה בְּיַד כָּל־נְבִיאוֹ כָל־חֹזֶה לֵאמֹר שֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים וְשִׁמְרוּ מִצְוֺתַי 17:13 חֻקּוֹתַי כְּכָל־הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶת־אֲבֹתֵיכֶם וַאֲשֶׁר שָׁלַחְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם בְּיַד עֲבָדַי הַנְּבִיאִים׃
2Kin. 17:13 Yet the Lord had admonished, in Israel and in Judah, by the hand of all His prophets, of every seer, saying, “Turn back from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes, according to the entire law that I commanded your fathers and that I sent to you by the hand of My servants, the prophets.”
וְלֹא שָׁמֵעוּ וַיַּקְשׁוּ אֶת־עָרְפָּם כְּעֹרֶף אֲבוֹתָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ בַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃ 17:14
2Kin. 17:14 But they did not listen and stiffened their necks like the necks of their fathers, who did not trust in the Lord, their God.
וַיִּמְאֲסוּ אֶת־חֻקָּיו וְאֶת־בְּרִיתוֹ אֲשֶׁר כָּרַת אֶת־אֲבוֹתָם וְאֵת עֵדְוֺתָיו אֲשֶׁר הֵעִיד בָּם וַיֵּלְכוּ אַחֲרֵי 17:15 הַהֶבֶל וַיֶּהְבָּלוּ וְאַחֲרֵי הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתָם אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֹתָם לְבִלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת כָּהֶם׃
2Kin. 17:15 And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies by which He gave warning against them, and went after vanity and became vain, and after the heathen who were around them, of whom the Lord had commanded them to not do like them.
וַיַּעַזְבוּ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם מַסֵּכָה (שְׁנֵים) [שְׁנֵי] עֲגָלִים וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֲשֵׁירָה 17:16
וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְכָל־צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֶת־הַבָּעַל׃
2Kin. 17:16 But they had forsaken all the commandments of the Lord, their God, and had made for themselves two molten images of calves, and had made an Asherah, and bowed down to all the host of the air, and served Baal.
The word in parentheses is in the wrong form for a separate adjective (the number two). The correct word appears in the brackets.
וַיַּעֲבִירוּ אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם בָּאֵשׁ וַיִּקְסְמוּ קְסָמִים וַיְנַחֵשׁוּ וַיִּתְמַכְּרוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי 17:17 יְהוָה לְהַכְעִיסוֹ׃
2Kin. 17:17 And they made their sons and their daughters to pass into fire, and used divinations, and used enchantments, and gave themselves to doing what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking Him.
וַיִּתְאַנַּף יְהוָה מְאֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְסִרֵם מֵעַל פָּנָיו לֹא נִשְׁאַר רַק שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה לְבַדּוֹ׃ 17:18
2Kin. 17:18 So the Lord became very “angry” with Israel and removed them from His sight. He did not leave any remaining, only the tribe of Judah by itself.
גַּם־יְהוּדָה לֹא שָׁמַר אֶת־מִצְוֺת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיֵּלְכוּ בְּחֻקּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ׃ 17:19
2Kin. 17:19 Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord, their God, and went by the customs of Israel that they did.
וַיִּמְאַס יְהוָה בְּכָל־זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְעַנֵּם וַיִּתְּנֵם בְּיַד־שֹׁסִים עַד אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִיכָם מִפָּנָיו׃ 17:20
2Kin. 17:20 So the Lord was disdained with all the seed of Israel and He afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers until when He had cast them out of His sight.
כִּי־קָרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעַל בֵּית דָּוִד וַיַּמְלִיכוּ אֶת־יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־נְבָט (וַיַּדֵּא) [וַיַּדַּח] יָרָבְעָם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל 17:21 מֵאַחֲרֵייְהוָה וְהֶחֱטֵיאָם חֲטָאָה גְדוֹלָה׃
2Kin. 17:21 Therefore He had torn Israel from the house of David when they had made Jeroboam son of Nabat king, and Jeroboam had drawn Israel away from following the Lord and made them sin a great sin,
The word in parentheses, translated as and ... had drawn ... away, appears no where else in the bible, and seems to be the wrong word in this context. It implies more force (for example, to cast away) than is expected here. The word in the brackets seems to be more appropriate, in that it can mean a drawing away. The roots of the two words differ in only the last letter, one ending in a heh and the other ending in a chet.
וַיֵּלְכוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל־חַטֹּאות יָרָבְעָם אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לֹא־סָרוּ מִמֶּנָּה׃ 17:22
2Kin. 17:22 and the children of Israel went by all the sins of Jeroboam that he did; they did not turn away from it
עַד אֲשֶׁר־הֵסִיר יְהוָה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעַל פָּנָיו כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּיַד כָּל־עֲבָדָיו הַנְּבִיאִים וַיִּגֶל יִשְׂרָאֵל 17:23 מֵעַל אַדְמָתוֹ אַשּׁוּרָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃
2Kin. 17:23 until when the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He had spoken by the hand of all His servants, the prophets. So Israel was carried away from its soil to Assyria until this day.
From the second sentence of this verse, we can surmise that this chapter, at least, was written during the approximately 135 years between the fall of Israel and the fall of Judah (and destruction of the Temple).
וַיָּבֵא מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר מִבָּבֶל וּמִכּוּתָה וּמֵעַוָּא וּמֵחֲמָת וּסְפַרְוַיִם וַיֹּשֶׁב בְּעָרֵי שֹׁמְרוֹן תַּחַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל 17:24 וַיִּרְשׁוּ אֶת־שֹׁמְרוֹן וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בְּעָרֶיה׃ָ
2Kin. 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and set in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel, and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in its cities.
From this verse we can assume that pagans, foreigners, inhabited Samaria instead of Israelites.
וַיְהִי בִּתְחִלַּת שִׁבְתָּם שָׁם לֹא יָרְאוּ אֶת־יְהוָה וַיְשַׁלַּח יְהוָה בָּהֶם אֶת־הָאֲרָיוֹת וַיִּהְיוּ הֹרְגִים בָּהֶם׃ 17:25
2Kin. 17:25 And it was at the start of their dwelling there, they did not revere the Lord, so the Lord sent lions into them and they were killing among them.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ לְמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר לֵאמֹר הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר הִגְלִיתָ וַתּוֹשֶׁב בְּעָרֵי שֹׁמְרוֹן לֹא יָדְעוּ אֶת־מִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהֵי 17:26 הָאָרֶץ וַיְשַׁלַּח־בָּם אֶת־הָאֲרָיוֹת וְהִנָּם מְמִיתִים אוֹתָם כַּאֲשֶׁר אֵינָם יֹדְעִים אֶת־מִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ׃
2Kin. 17:26 And they spoke to the king of Assyria saying, “The nations that you have removed and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the manner of the God of the land, so He has sent lions into them and, behold, they are slaying them, because there is not one of them knowing the manner of the God of the land.”
וַיְצַו מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר לֵאמֹר הֹלִיכוּ שָׁמָּה אֶחָד מֵהַכֹּהֲנִים אֲשֶׁר הִגְלִיתֶם מִשָּׁם וְיֵלְכוּ וְיֵשְׁבוּ שָׁם וְיֹרֵם 17:27 אֶת־מִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ׃
2Kin. 17:27 So the king of Assyria commanded saying, “Lead one from the priests there whom you brought from there and let them go and dwell there and he will teach them the manner of the God.”
וַיָּבֹא אֶחָד מֵהַכֹּהֲנִים אֲשֶׁר הִגְלוּ מִשֹּׁמְרוֹן וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּבֵית־אֵל וַיְהִי מוֹרֶה אֹתָם אֵיךְ יִירְאוּ אֶת־יְהוָה׃ 17:28
2Kin. 17:28 So one from the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelled in Beth-el, and he was teaching them how they should revere the Lord.
וַיִּהְיוּ עֹשִׂים גּוֹי גּוֹי אֱלֹהָיו וַיַּנִּיחוּ בְּבֵית הַבָּמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ הַשֹּׁמְרֹנִים גּוֹי גּוֹי בְּעָרֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר הֵם 17:29 יֹשְׁבִים שָׁם׃
2Kin. 17:29 But every nation was making its own gods and they were set down in the houses of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities where they were dwelling there.
וְאַנְשֵׁי בָבֶל עָשׂוּ אֶת־סֻכּוֹת בְּנוֹת וְאַנְשֵׁי־כוּת׳3׳ עָשׂוּ אֶת־נֵרְגַל וְאַנְשֵׁי חֲמָת עָשׂוּ אֶת־אֲשִׁימָא׃ 17:30
2Kin. 17:30 And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
וְהָעַוִּים עָשׂוּ נִבְחַז וְאֶת־תַּרְתָּק וְהַסְפַרְוִים שֹׂרְפִים אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם בָּאֵשׁ לְאַדְרַמֶּלֶךְ וַעֲנַמֶּלֶךְ (אֱלֹהַּ) 17:31 [אֱלֹהֵי] (סְפַרִים) [סְפַרְוָיִם]׃
2Kin. 17:31 and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites were burning their children in the fires to Adramelech and Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim.
All the names mentioned in these two verses, 17:30 and 17:30, are those of pagan gods.
Also the word in the first pair of parentheses is missing a yad, the correction being in the first set of brackets. The second set of parentheses encloses a word that is missing a vav. Its correction is in the second set of brackets. The Sepharvites were the inhabitants of the city of Sepharvaim.
וַיִּהְיוּ יְרֵאִים אֶת־יְהוָה וַיַּעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם מִקְצוֹתָם כֹּהֲנֵי בָמוֹת וַיִּהְיוּ עֹשִׂים לָהֶם בְּבֵית הַבָּמוֹת׃ 17:32
2Kin. 17:32 So they were fearing the Lord and they made priests of the high places for themselves from any of them and they were sacrificing for them in the houses of the high places.
אֶת־יְהוָה הָיוּ יְרֵאִים וְאֶת־אֱלֹהֵיהֶם הָיוּ עֹבְדִים כְּמִשְׁפַּט הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר־הִגְלוּ אֹתָם מִשָּׁם׃ 17:33
2Kin. 17:33 They were fearing the Lord, but were serving their gods like the manner of the nations from which they had removed them.
עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה הֵם עֹשִׂים כַּמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֵינָם יְרֵאִים אֶת־יְהוָה וְאֵינָם עֹשִׂים כְּחֻקֹּתָם 17:34 וּכְמִשְׁפָּטָם וְכַתּוֹרָה וְכַמִּצְוָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם שְׁמוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
2Kin. 17:34 Up to this day they have been doing like the former customs. There is none of them revering the Lord, and there is none of them doing after their statutes or after their ordinances or after the law or after the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom He had made his name Israel,
וַיִּכְרֹת יְהוָה אִתָּם בְּרִית וַיְצַוֵּם לֵאמֹר לֹא תִירְאוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְלֹא־תִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לָהֶם וְלֹא תַעַבְדוּם 17:35 וְלֹא תִזְבְּחוּ לָהֶם׃
2Kin. 17:35 and the Lord had made a covenant with them and commanded them saying, “You shall not revere other gods and you shall not bow down to them,
כִּי אִם־אֶת־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בְּכֹחַ גָּדוֹל וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה אֹתוֹ תִירָאוּ וְלוֹ 17:36 תִשְׁתַּחֲווּ וְלוֹ תִזְבָּחו׃ּ
2Kin. 17:36 but only the Lord, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall revere and to Him you shall bow down and to Him you shall sacrifice,
וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וְהַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוָה אֲשֶׁר כָּתַב לָכֶם תִּשְׁמְרוּן לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל־הַיָּמִים וְלֹא 17:37 תִירְאוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים׃
2Kin. 17:37 and the statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that He wrote for you, you shall take heed to observe all the time, that you shall not revere other gods,
וְהַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר־כָּרַתִּי אִתְּכֶם לֹא תִשְׁכָּחוּ וְלֹא תִירְאוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים׃ 17:38
2Kin. 17:38 and the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, and you must not revere other gods,
כִּי אִם־אֶת־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם תִּירָאוּ וְהוּא יַצִּיל אֶתְכֶם מִיַּד כָּל־אֹיְבֵיכֶם׃ 17:39
2Kin. 17:39 but if you will revere the Lord, your God, then He will rescue you from the hand of all your enemies.”
וְלֹא שָׁמֵעוּ כִּי אִם־כְּמִשְׁפָּטָם הָרִאשׁוֹן הֵם עֹשִׂים׃ 17:40
2Kin. 17:40 However they did not listen, for they were observing only their former customs.
The foregoing seven verses, from v. 17:34 to this one, are rather peculiar, and leave me more than a little confused. It seems that these pagans, who were brought there to settle the cities of at least Samaria (v. 17:24), were expected to conform to the covenant of Israel, to observe the Torah. This is rather hard for me to believe or understand, a real mystery. I’m at a complete loss to explain the meaning of these verses. And the commentaries I have looked at don’t help. They seem to be of the opinion that these verses are perfectly normal even if they apply to pagans. Very strange, these apologists.
וַיִּהְיוּ הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה יְרֵאִים אֶת־יְהוָה וְאֶת־פְּסִילֵיהֶם הָיוּ עֹבְדִים גַּם־בְּנֵיהֶם וּבְנֵי בְנֵיהֶם כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ 17:41 אֲבֹתָם הֵם עֹשִׂים עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃
2Kin. 17:41 So these nations were fearing the Lord, but they were serving their graven images, also their children and the children of their children. As did their fathers, they have been doing up to this day.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? How can anyone fear the Lord while ignoring all His words?
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