“This exile occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their God. Yahweh had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt. However, they had worshipped other gods. They walked in the customs of the nations whom Yahweh drove out before the people of Israel. They followed the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against Yahweh their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree. There they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom Yahweh carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking Yahweh to anger. They served idols, of which Yahweh had said to them. ‘You shall not do this.’”
This is a reflective attempt to try to understand what happened to the Kingdom of Israel. Basically, Israel had sinned against Yahweh, not just the kings, but the people themselves. Yahweh had brought them out of Egypt. However, this was a distant memory since it probably happened about at least 500 years before this time. Not only did they forget the Exodus, they followed the customs of the people who had lived here before them. In other words, they were no better than the Canaanites and the others who had lived there before the Israelites came. They built the high places of worship all over the place with totem poles here and there. They served idols so that they provoked the anger of Yahweh, who told them repeatedly not to do that.