Originally Posted by Jayhawker Soule
From 2 Kings 17:24-41
The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities. When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So the king of Assyria was told, ‘The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.’ Then the king of Assyria commanded, ‘Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.’ So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the Lord.
But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived; 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 the Lord and 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 the Lord, but they also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. To this day they continue to practise their former customs.
They do not worship the Lord and they do not follow the statutes or the ordinances or the law or the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. The Lord had made a covenant with them and commanded them, ‘You shall not worship other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall worship the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship other gods; you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not worship other gods, but you shall worship the Lord your God; he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.’ They would not listen, however, but they continued to practise their former custom.
So these nations worshipped the Lord, but also served their carved images; to this day their children and their children’s children continue to do as their ancestors did.
What I find interesting here is the awkward (or, better, intrusive) shift in focus: the third paragraph looks very much like a later addition.
The "they" shifts in the second sentence of the third paragraph ("The Lord had made a covenant with them..."), and shifts back again at the penultimate sentence ("They would not listen..."). I think the main "they" of the passage cited is clearly the foreign populace imported by the Assyrians; the shift is to the People Israel, to which these people are attempting to be incorporated; and then back again.
The third paragraph may indeed be a later interpolation-- I think you're right in saying it bears the hallmarks of just that likelihood. But what I find interesting is that unlike many other later interpolations elsewhere in the text that seem to contradict or alter or retroject change into the earlier narrative structure, this one reinforces the narrative in the direction it was already moving.
I think the episode as a whole is actually an excellent prooftext (not that one is really needed, but if it were ever called for) to reject forced proselytization and/or mass proselytization. It just doesn't work, and everyone ends up hurt because of it.