The introduction of foreign gods into Samaria (2 Kings 17:29-17:33)

“But every nation still made gods of its own. They put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made. People from every nation lived in the cities. The people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth. The people of Cuth made Nergal. The people of Hamath made Ashima. The Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak. The Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. They also worshipped Yahweh. They appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. So they worshipped Yahweh but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.”

This was not a simple solution since there never are simple solutions. There already were a number of shrines in the high places from when the Israelites were there. Various nationalities lived in the cities much like the USA immigrant experience in the big cities. Most of the gods mentioned here never appear elsewhere, since they were all particular local gods without wide spread acceptance. They were nothing like the more prevalent Baal worship. The Babylonian Succoth-benoth is difficult to understand since it literarily means booth of daughters indicating prostitutes. However, the god of the Babylonians was Merodach or other deities. Perhaps it was a spouse of Merodach. Nergal of the Cuth people may have been the warrior Mars. Ashima is some kind of god or goddess of all things for the Hamath people. Nibhaz was some kind of dog god while Tartak was some kind of donkey for the Avvites. Adrammelech and Anammelech were the male and female gods of the sun for the Sepharvites who sacrificed their children like the Moabites and their god Molech. Despite all these individual foreign gods, they still worshipped Yahweh. As they did not have Levites to choose from, they appointed priests from their own people. Thus we have a strange kind of ecumenism, as they worshiped Yahweh and their own particular local gods side by side. Actually that is pretty much what was going on before with the worship of Yahweh and Baal, rather than these local gods. It is strange that there is no mention of Baal. What happened to those worshippers?


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