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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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a mount near Shechem, in Ephraim, a province of Samaria. Shechem lay at the foot of two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim. Gerizim was fruitful, Ebal was barren. God commanded that the Hebrews, after passing the Jordan, should be so divided; that six tribes might be stationed on Mount Gerizim, and six on Mount Ebal. The former was to pronounce blessings on those who observed the law of the Lord; the others, curses against those who should violate it, Deuteronomy 11:29; Deuteronomy 27:12 . As to the original of the temple upon Gerizim, we must take Josephus's relation of it. Manasseh, the grandson of Eliashib, the high priest, and brother to Jaddus, high priest of the Jews, having been driven from Jerusalem in the year of the world 3671, and not enduring patiently to see himself deprived of the honour and advantages of the priesthood, Sanballat, his father-in- law, addressed himself to Alexander the Great, who was then carrying on the siege of Tyre; and having paid him homage for the province of Samaria, whereof he was governor, he farther offered him eight thousand of his best troops, which disposed Alexander to grant what he desired for his son-in- law, and for many other priests, who being married, as well as he, contrary to the law, chose rather to forsake their country than their wives, and had joined Manasseh in Samaria. When Antiochus Epiphanes began to persecute the Jews, A.M. 3836; B.C. 186, the Samaritans entreated him that their temple upon Gerizim, which hitherto had been dedicated to an unknown and nameless god, might be consecrated to Jupiter the Grecian, which was easily consented to by Antiochus. The temple of Gerizim subsisted some time after the worship of Jupiter was introduced into it; but it was destroyed by John Hircanus Maccabaeus, and was not rebuilt till Gabinius was governor of Syria; who repaired Samaria, and called it by his own name. It is certain, that, in our Saviour's time, this temple was in being; and that the true God was worshipped there, since the woman of Samaria, pointing to Gerizim, said to him, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship," John 4:20 . We are assured, that Herod the Great, having rebuilt Samaria, and called it Sebaste, in honour of Augustus, would have obliged the Samaritans to worship in the temple which he had erected there, but they constantly refused.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Gerizim'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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