I. For or against Jesus
- Why did Jesus allow a non-discipline using his name? (Luke
9:49-50; Acts 18:24-26)
- Why did Jesus say "he is not with me is against me"
later? (Luke 11:23)
What are Samaritans? Why did Jesus tolerate the rejection by Samaritans?
- After King Solomon, Israel spilt into the northern and southern
kingdom (Judah). Omri, the sixth king of the northern kingdom
founded his new capital in Samaria. During the latter period Samaria
symbolized the entire northern kingdom.
- Assyria conquered Samaria in 722 or 721 BC. The Assyrians
deported about 27,000 Israelites and resettled their conquered
peoples from Syria and Mesopotamia there. In the course of time
the immigrants merged with the Israelites left behind, blending
their culture and religions. Their descendants became Samaritans.
B. Built-up of hostility
- Babylon conquered the southern kingdom and captured Israelites
away from their homeland in 597 BC. Later Persia emerged as the
new power of the middle east and made Samaria a Persian province.
After the Babylonian exile, Jews were allowed to return to Judah
and rebuild the temple. The Samaritans sought a share in the
rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, but were firmly rejected
by the Jews (Ezra: 4). Samaritans then tried to obstruct the rebuilding
of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah. This was the start of hostility
between the two peoples.
- Alexander the Great conquered Samaria around 330 BC. The Samaritans
constructed a temple to rival Jerusalem's on Mount Gerizim.
- Around 6-9 AD, some Samaritans intruded and polluted the Jerusalem
temple by scattering human bones there. Samaritans were thereafter
excluded from the service.
- The Old Testament is a Jerusalem collection, which is hostile
to the north. In the New Testament, Samaritans were portrayed
as a better image (Luke 10: 30-37; 17: 11-17; John 4: 4-26). Probably
Stephen was of Samaritan origin.
C. Beliefs and Customs
- Today Samaritans still regard Mount Gerizim as their holy mountain
as opposed to Mount Zion.
- Samaritans saw themselves as the pure descendants of the northern
- They claim their form of Judaism is far purer and closer to
the original religion of Israel than that of the Jews.
- The Samaritans are now a very small community, numbering only
530 in 1987. Because they marry only among themselves, they suffer
from genetically-related disorders.