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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Samaritans

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The only place in the O.T. where these are mentioned gives their origin, and the mixed character of their worship. The king of Assyria had peopled the cities by colonists from the East, they were then in Jehovah's land, but they did not fear Him, therefore He sent lions among them. On the king of Assyria being informed of this, a priest who had been carried away from Samaria was sent thither, to teach them how they should fear the God of that land. The result was that they feared Jehovah, and served their own gods! 2 Kings 17:24-41 .

When Ezra returned from exile to build the temple, some of these people came and said, "Let us build with you: for we seek your God as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him, since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither." Ezra refused to let them have anything to do with building the temple, and this aroused their hatred and opposition. Ezra 4:1-4 . We further read that Nehemiah ejected one of the priests who had defiled the priesthood by marrying the daughter of Sanballat the Horonite. Nehemiah 13:28 . Josephus speaks of him as Manasseh, and relates that Sanballat built a temple for him at Gerizim, which became a refuge for apostate Jews. This naturally increased the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans.

This temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, son of Simon Maccabaeus, about B.C. 109. The animosity, however, was not removed. The woman of Samaria in John 4 alluded to the differences between Jews and Samaritans, and in Luke 9:52,53 it is said of a village of the Samaritans that the inhabitants would not receive the Lord because His face was turned towards Jerusalem. A Jew regarded it as the extreme of opprobrium, to be called a Samaritan, and those of Judaea added this to the other insults they heaped on the blessed Lord. John 8:48 .

The Samaritans claimed to be true Israelites. The woman of Samaria said to the Lord, "Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well?" As to their religion, she spoke of 'this mountain' as the proper place to worship; but the Lordsaid, "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." The hour had however arrived when they that worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Many of the Samaritans believed and received the Holy Spirit. John 4:9-42 ; Acts 8:5-17 .

It is remarkable that while the Jews have lost all means of keeping their feasts at Jerusalem, a few, still calling themselves Samaritans, at Nablus, in a humble synagogue at the foot of the mountain, continue their worship, and annually ascend the mountain and keep the feast of the Passover with a roasted lamb: a marked instance of imitation, now so common in Christendom. They have an ancient MS called the SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH (q.v. ), for which they claim great antiquity.


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Samaritans '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/s/samaritans.html. 1897.

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