5Then the king of Assyria marched against the whole land; he came to Samaria and besieged it for three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, at the [River] Habor, at the River Gozan, and in the towns of Media.     2Kings 17/5-kl6 Tanakh JPS 1985

 

24“The king of Assyria brought [people] from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and he settled them in the towns of Samaria in place of the Israelites; they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its towns.

25When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; so the Lord sent lions against them which killed some of them.

26They said to the king of Assyria: “The nations which you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know the rules of the God of the land; therefore He has let lions loose against them which are killing them—for they do not know the rules of the God of the land.”

27The king of Assyria gave an order: “Send there one of the priests whom you have deported; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the practices of the God of the land.”

28So one of the priests whom they had exiled from Samaria came and settled in Bethel; he taught them how to worship the Lord.

29However, each nation continued to make its own gods and to set them up in the cult places which had been made by the people of Samaria; each nation [set them up] in the towns in which it lived.

30The Babylonians made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,

31and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children [as offerings] to Adrammelech and Anamelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed from their own ranks priests of the shrines, who officiated for them in the cult places.

33They worshiped the Lord, while serving their own gods according to the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.

34To this day, they follow their former practices. They do not worship the Lord [properly]. They do not follow the laws and practices, the Teaching and Instruction that the Lord enjoined upon the descendants of Jacob—who was given the name Israel—

35with whom He made a covenant and whom He commanded: “You shall worship no other gods; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them.”     2Kings 17/24-35 Tanakh JPS 1985

 

6As for the foreigners
Who attach themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him,
And to love the name of the Lord,
To be His servants—
All who keep the sabbath and do not profane it,
And who hold fast to My covenant—

7I will bring them to My sacred mount
And let them rejoice in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
Shall be welcome on My altar;
For My House shall be called
A house of prayer for all peoples.”      Isaiah 56/6-7 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Commentary:

Samaria was the northern kingdom often referred to as the kingdom of Israel and sometimes Ephraim who was an adopted child of Jacob born in Egypt of an Egyptian mother whose father was Joseph.

Assyria conquered and deported all the Israelites of the north kingdom and tried to conquer the kingdom of Judah.

The important testimony of G-d in this story is that the imported strangers recognized the G-d of Israel but continued to make their own gods and to set them up in the cult places which had been made by the people of Samaria.

The king of Assyria was told that the nations which he deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know the rules of the God of the land; therefore He had let lions loose against them which were killing them—for they do not know the rules of the God of the land.

These rules of G-d are made a part of the end times prophecy of Isaiah where G-d says “As for the foreigners Who attach themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, And to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants—All who keep the sabbath and do not profane it, And who hold fast to My covenant— I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My altar; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.”

The Sabbath in the land of Israel is Saturday. For the foreigner to hold fast to G-d’s covenant which is between Him and the Jewish people the foreigner must recognize and respect that covenant and abide in those commandments that apply to all people. The commandment emphasized in this story of the rules of the G-d of the land is “You shall worship no other gods; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them.” Jesus and Allah are other gods.

Burnt offerings and sacrifices will not be welcomed and there will be no altar at the third Temple other than for symbolism. This is another example of prophecy being for the people who first hear it in ancient times and for those in the medieval times but not for the end times when man no longer worships G-d with the killing of animals.

The aroma of burnt offerings does not really please G-d. He told a primitive people it did for many different purposes. That does not mean G-d lies. He had a purpose. Parents often tell their children things and have to provide explanations in a way the child can understand that may not actually be true. It is part of parenthood. It is the same for G-d and His children Israel.

The child grows up and knows better and understands why those things were said.

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