Jews and Samaritans
Because of their defective devotion to Judaism and their partly pagan ancestry, the Samaritans were despised by ordinary Jews. Because the Samaritans were sometimes hostile, and also the fact that a Jew believed that he could become contaminated by passing through Samaritan territory, Jews who were traveling from Judea to Galilee or vice versa would cross over the Jordan river and avoid Samaria by going through Transjordan, and cross back over the river again once they had reached their destination.
(See Map of Samaria in NT Times)
The Samaritans often taunted the Jews. They rejected all of the Old Testament except the Pentateuch, and they claimed to have an older copy than the Jews and boast that they observe the precepts better.
The Jews repaid them with hatred. They rejected the Samaritan copy of the law and publicly denounced that Samaritans were of any Jewish birth (John 4:12).
- The Samaritan was publicly cursed in their synagogues.
- He could not serve as a witness in the Jewish courts.- He could not be converted to Judaism as a proselyte.
- He was excluded from the after life."
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." (John 4:10)
The Samaritans in the Bible
In the New Testament the Samaritans were considered inhabitants of the district of Samaria. (see Map). They descended from the exchange of population effected by the Assyrians after their conquest of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. Pursuing their policy of transferring conquered peoples, the Assyrians deported many of the original inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom and replaced them with a mixture of people from the east: from Babylon, Avva, Hamath, Sepharvaim and Cuth (deriving from the latter, the Samaritans are often referred to in rabbinic literature as Cuthim).
Bible History Online
The Story of the Bible
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