The Samaritans
The SamaritansIndex to the Samaritans

Historical Quotes


Why Jews Exclude Samaritans

7 Why are Samaritans (kuthim) excluded from entering Israel?
--Because they were mixed up with the priests of the high places.
Rabbi Ishmael said:

"They were righteous proselytes in the beginning."

Why are they excluded?
--Because they marry illegitimate women but not a brother's widow.

When will they be accepted?
--When they deny Mount Gerazim and confess Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead. After this, he who robs a Samaritan is like one who robs an Israelite.

--- Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Kuthim 2.7

The Samaritan Temple

342 Now [in 333 BCE] all (Jews) to whom (Alexander the Great) presented himself, received him with a friendly mind. At that time the Samaritans had their capital at Shechem, which lies beside Mount Gerazim and is inhabited by apostates from the Jewish people. When these saw that Alexander had so clearly honored the Jews, they thought to claim that they were Jews. So, while he was still very near Jerusalem, they presented themselves to the king with a splendid display...

343 And when Alexander encouraged them, the Shechemites came to him...calling upon him to come to their city and honor their temple also. And he promised to submit to their request when he came back again. But when they begged him to forgive their tribute every seventh year, because they did not sow during it, he asked who they were to ask these things. And when Alexander encouraged them, the Shechemites came to him...calling upon him to come to their city and honor their temple also. And he promised to submit to their request when he came back again. But when they begged him to forgive their tribute every seventh year, because they did not sow during it, he asked who they were to ask these things. And when they said they were Hebrews...he again asked if they were Jews. And they said that they were not.

346 Now when Alexander died, his realm was divided among his twelve generals. And the [Samaritan] temple remained on Mount Gerazim. But if anyone was charged by Jerusalemites with eating unclean things, or with violating the Sabbath or some other such sin, he fled to the Shechemites, saying he had been unjustly banished.

--- Josephus, Antiquities 11.342-346


Temple Rivalry

74 Now [about 180 BCE] in Alexandria [Egypt] the Jews and the Samaritans -- who worshipped on Mount Gerazim at the temple built under Alexander* -- happened to quarrel with each other. And they debated about (their) temples before Ptolemy (VI Philometer). The Jews said the one in Jerusalem was built according to laws of Moses and the Samaritans, the one on Gerazim. And they called on the king in session with his comrades to hear their arguments about this and to put the losers to death...

77 Now the Jews who happened to be in Alexandria were in great anxiety... For they took it hard that anyone might destroy (their shrine)....

79 [But] Andronicus persuaded the king to judge that the temple in Jerusalem had been built according to laws of Moses and to execute (their Samaritan opponents).

--- Josephus, Antiquities 13.74, 77-79

Samaritans Desecrate Judean Temple

29 Now [about 9 CE] when Judea was administered by Coponius, who was sent out by Quirinius [the Roman governor of Syria]...these things occurred: During the celebration of the feast of Unleavened Bread, which we call Passover, in a custom of the priests the gates of the temple [in Jerusalem] were opened after midnight.

30 And then, when their opening first occurred, Samaritan men coming into Jerusalem in secret, began to scatter human bones in the porticoes and throughout the temple. (So, the priests), who were not accustomed to such things before, managed the temple with greater care.

--- Josephus, Antiquities 18.29-30


Murdered Galilean Avenged

232 Next [about 50 CE] came a conflict of Galileans and Samaritans. For at a village called Gema, which lies in the great plain of Samaria, a certain Galilean was murdered, one of many Jews going up to the feast [in Jerusalem].

233 Thus, many from Galilee gathered to make war on the Samaritans.

234 And when the unfortunate murder was announced in Jerusalem, the masses were agitated. And, abandoning the feast, they set out to fight with the Samaritans. They lacked a general and heeded none of the rulers, who held back.

235 A certain Eleazar ben Deinai and Alexander incited the bandits and partisans among them to attack those [Samaritans south of Shechem] on the borders of the toparchy Acrabatene. And they massacred them, sparing no one regardless of age, and burned their villages.

236 But [the Roman procurator] Cumanus set out from Caesarea, taking one troop of cavalry called the "Augustans". And he arrested many of those around Eleazar and killed more.

237 But when the rest of the (Judean) masses rushed to fight the Samaritans, the rulers of Jerusalem ran out, wearing sack-cloth and pouring ashes on their heads. And they begged them to return and not to anger the Romans against Jerusalem by revenge on the Samaritans. (They urged them) to have mercy on their country and temple, their own children and wives, who all were at risk of being destroyed, on account of revenge for one Galilean.

--- Josephus, Jewish War 2.232-237


Assyrians Occupy Samaria [722 BC]

5 Then [in 724 BCE] the king of Assyria invaded all the land [of Israel] and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria,and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria...

24 And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon and Kuthah...and set them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.

25 At the beginning of their possession there they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

26 So the king of Assyria was told:

"The nations which have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land..."

28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and he dwelt in Bethel and taught them how to fear the LORD.

29 But every nation still made gods of its own and placed them in the shrines of the high places which the Samaritans had made...

32 They also feared the LORD and from among themselves they appointed all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.

33 So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from which they were deported.

34 And to this day they do according to the preceding manner.

--- Hebrew Bible, 1 Kings 17:5-6, 24-34


Celebration of God

1 Great is the chief Power who abides forever!

Let us put on fear [dahaltah = "worship"] of him before we speak of him!

The secret is not hidden from him and everything is within his power.

He knows what was and what (is) now and what will take place.

He stands to strengthen himself, he who is not in need of anything.

He learns all secrets without learning;

and he is not discovered, but he does what he requires.

(There is) no king and no ruler who can withstand him.

YHWH, he (is) God and there is none beside him!

Great is he who is not large and all greatness belongs to him!

He taught Moses the secrets in the bush (Exod 3:2f),

which revealed his greatness and his glory!

And the angel first confronted him and spoke with him

about what was and what will take place.

--- Marqah, Memar 1.1


Exaltation of Moses

9 And should we search for the Truth and learn Wisdom no apostasy will be found in us; except any time we run to the guidance of the wicked.

Let's attend to the Truth and trust in YHWH, our Lord and our Maker;

and also in Moses, our Prophet and Redeemer!

Except for Moses the world would not have been created and none of these wonders would have been revealed.

12 Lifted up is Moses, the great Prophet,

whom his Lord clothed with his name [cf. Exod 7:1]!

He dwelt in hidden things and was surrounded with Light.

The Truth was revealed to him and he gave him the writing of his own hand.

He gave him to drink from ten precious springs, seven above and three below.

Deity drew for him the waters of Life [mayah chayyah]

which watered his heart, until it produced that which gives life.

Prophecy drew for him the waters of Life which purified his soul,

until it made every soul great.

Truth drew for him the waters of Life which made his spirit great,

until it was able to illumine.

And the four Names [of God]* drew for him the waters of life,

so that he might be lifted up and glorified in every place.

--- Marqah, Memar 2.9, 12


  • The four Names are:
    Elah [God] (Exod 7:1);
    Ekhyeh asher ekhyeh [I am who I am] (Exod 3:14),
    Anaki [I am] (Exod 3:15), and
    YHWH (Exod 6:3).


Waters of Life

1 In the depths of an abundant spring is the life of the world.

Let us rise with understanding to drink from its waters!

We thirst for the waters of life.

There are great rivers here before us.

Blessed be God who brought into being (all) kinds of creatures

for the sake of Adam.

Worthy is the form which is in the Image of God!

The form of the heart is not the form of the appearance!

--- Marqah, Memar 2.1


Well of Living Water

3 There is a Well of living water

dug by a Prophet whose like has not arisen since Adam

and the water which is in it is from the mouth of God.

Let us eat from the fruit that is in this garden

and let us drink from the waters that are in this well.

There is no need for us to see it in a place we cannot get to.

"It is not in heaven" and it is not in crossing the sea (Deut 30:12-13).

"In the mouth and in the heart" it is done (Deut 30:14).

And woe to us! For we do not do it; it is far from us.

We do not learn it though we came down from heaven!

It was given to us and we believed in it.

It was with them; it was within the Light.

And the glory was around, for it was the word of God.

His hand wrote and the Prophet received it with signs from on high.

And YHWH came down and dwelt with him.

--- Marqah, Memar 6.3


The Prophet & the Restorer

7 Let us stand where we are and listen to the Truth,

for our Lord and Master is merciful to us...

Let us follow after the great Prophet Moses, who leads us well,

for he was sent to us by our Lord.

Where is there a prophet life Moses?

He was a good father to all Israel, bringing them up and looking after them,

appeasing God with his fast and healing them with his prayer...

He was a good physician, healing and giving compensation...

His words are from the words of his Lord:

Believe in him! You will be safe from all wrath;

on the day of vengeance you will be at rest...

He who believes in him believes in his Lord!

Woe to us if we do not remember that!

Let us believe in YHWH and in Moses his servant!...

12 A Restorer [Taheb] will come in peace;

he will rule the places of the perfect and reveal the Truth.

Heed and hear! Stand in Truth! Clear your arguments!

"For YHWH will judge his people" (Deut 32:36a):

The "people" of YHWH is Jacob, the branches and the chief root,

and the branches from fathers to sons;

from Noah, the root, even to the Restorer, the branch...

The word of Truth will penetrate and illumine the world,

in which he will come to dwell.

How great is the hour when one comes to hear the voice of God

walking throughout the world;

and all creatures shall be in order and bow their heads;

their hearts will shiver and their eyes droop

and their limbs shake from fear on the day of Judgment.

And the mouth of Deity will speak:

-- "Now see that I, I am he [ani ani hu]!" (Deut 32:39a)

Those who rest and know this will then be saved.

-- "See, I have taught you rules and judgments" (Deut 4:5).

-- "Only be on your guard" (Deut 4:9)!

I, I (am) he who stands above creation and above Mount Sinai!

I, I (am) he who is and there is none beside me!

I, I (am) he who is without time and without place!

I, I (am) he who who is the life of the world [chayyei 'olam]!

I, I (am) he who suspended and split by my power!

I, I (am) he who planted the Garden and uprooted Sodom!

I, I (am) he who uprooted and stripped away!

I, I (am) he to whom all belongs and to whom (all) return!

I, I (am) he who puts all the living to death and makes all the dead live!

I, I (am) he who encircles my foes with vengeance!

And now it is good for us to rely on the Truth

and to tremble because of his might!

Perhaps we will find the way of prosperity!

--- Marqah, Memar 4.7, 12


Jacob's Ladder

3 Wisdom is a light burning in the heart;

and any heart that does not have Wisdom as its comrade is like the blind groping in the dark.

For Wisdom is the Ladder [sollam] erected from the heart to heaven

if the heart is guarded ot sees every wonder for what it is.

The heart of Jacob was full of the Spirit of Wisdom [ruach hakamah].

There was revealed to him every good;

for the wisdom which was in it was the Wisdom of Truth [qashat].

--- Marqah, Memar 6.3


The Samaritans


The Samaritans

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