Samaritans Encyclopedia

The Samaritans. The origin of the Samaritans is inseparably linked from the captivity of Israel, the ten northern tribes (2 Kings 17:7-41). Because the children of Israel had sinned, God cast them out of their land. They were taken captive by the king of Assyria and settled in various places, and they have not yet been restored to their land. Instead, "the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and made them dwell in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in its cities" (2 Kings 17:24). At the beginning they did not know Jehovah at all, and He sent lions among them to teach them to fear Him. God allowed the Samaritans to remain in His land as stewards of the land, not because they were better than Israel, but because He did not want the land to fall back under the curse of idolatry as it had under the reign of the Amorites. The Samaritans understood that to remain in the land required them to acknowledge Jehovah. But not knowing Jehovah, the Samaritans appealed to the king of Assyria, who sent one of the priests back to the northern part of the land to teach the Samaritans "the manner of the god of that land". The result was that they feared Jehovah in an outward way, but also served other gods. The Samaritans had a version of the Pentateuch, but they worshiped in Mount Gerizim rather than at Jerusalem. The restored captives of Judah deeply despised the Samaritans and had no relationship with them (John 4:9) because the Samaritans were not true Jews. Yet, in their religious pride, the Jews did far worst than that, and said to their Messiah, “Thou art a Samaritan!” (John 8:48). They religiously judged other men meanwhile they themselves were far worse. In doing that they were judging God! The Lord Jesus fulfilled the type of Joseph as a fruitful branch reaching over the wall of separation when He visited the town of Sychar in Samaria (John 4). Several years later Philip brought the gospel there to the cities, towns, and villages of Samaria, and the result was a tremendous harvest of souls (Acts 8).