helped them out of
trouble. Still they did not lead their people back to God.
God allowed the
Assyrians, whose capital city was Nineveh, to capture some of the
Israelites and take them as slaves to a strange land. For a while,
Hoshea, king of Israel, paid heavy taxes to the Assyrians.
One year Hoshea
refused to pay. Again the king of Assyria sent his army. He took
Hoshea and many of his people to Assyria. Only the poorest
Israelites were left in the land. Those who were taken away were
never again allowed to return to their homeland.
Since he had
conquered the country, the Assyrian king ruled the land of Israel.
He decided it was not good to leave the Israelite cities empty,
and so he brought heathen people from the east to live in Samaria.
He told the, "You can work the fields and care for the
vineyards. Each year when you sell your crops, you can pay me for
letting you use the land."
The heathen who
came to live in the cities of Israel did not know about the true
God. They sent a messenger to tell the king of Assyria, "We
do not know how to worship the God of this land and we are afraid
The king of
Assyria commanded, "Send back one of the priests that we
captured. He can teach the heathen there to worship the God of
A priest of the
Israelites taught the heathen about the true God, and the heathen
tried to worship the God of Israel. Because they still worshiped
their own idols, the right and wrong got mixed up.
Of the twelve
Israelite tribes, only the tribe of Judah was not carried into