"The pagan half-Jews."
The Samaritans were a pagan sect that grew out of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim after their deportation in 722 BC into Assyria by Shalmaneser.
The basic philosophies of the Samaritans originated with Jeroboam. This is why we call the Samaritans, "Neo-Jeriboamites". Samaritans carry on the basic traditions that Jeroboam set in order in 930 BC when he set up two pagan worship centers to replace Jerusalem: Bethel and Dan.
A small population that had been deported in 722 BC from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, were brought back by Shalmaneser and they intermarried with the Gentiles.
In about 516 BC, after Judah returned from Babylonian captivity, the Samaritans chose Mt. Gerizim as the location where Abraham sacrificed Isaac. To the Samaritans, Mt. Gerizim is their "Jerusalem". This has caused the Jews to hold the Samaritans with contempt to this day. The Samaritans and the Jews are historic enemies.
In the New Testament, Jesus used the "parable of the good Samaritan" as an example of how lost Samaritans can be more moral, than those who consider themselves saved.
The Samaritans had three periods of development: 1. Incubation stage in the anti-Jerusalem ideology promoted by Jeroboam which laid the ground work for the sect to develop. (930 - 722 BC) 2. The birth stage of becoming a formal "Samaritan sect" in reaction to Nehemiah's efforts to rebuilt Jerusalem as the center of Mosaic religion. (720 -516 BC) 3. The born again stage in their conversion to Christ by being baptized for the remission of their sins upon their confession of faith. (30 AD)
In 622 AD the devil would duplicate another counterfeit religion through Mohammed who said that Mecca was the place where Abraham sacrificed Ishmael. For the Muslims, Mecca is their Jerusalem.
A. The origin of Samaritans ideology is Jeroboam: Incubation stage: 930-722 BC
The "Incubation stage" of Samaritan history is from the time of the divided kingdom to the time of the Assyrian captivity. (930-722 BC)
The history of the Samaritans starts with Solomon's son Rehoboam who went to Shechem to become king: "Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king." (1 Kings 12:1). Since Solomon was anointed king at the Gihon spring (1 Kings 1:33)
Here is a photo of the coronation spot at the Gihon spring in the city of David that was discovered in 2005 AD. Solomon rode David's mule to the Gihon spring. The rock had been ridged so that the mule would have traction and not slip. There was a post hole to tie up the mule. You can see both features in the photograph. Because Rehoboam went to Shechem and not this location, it seems it was not "the place" for kings to get anointed. Perhaps Solomon was the only king anointed here.
Rehoboam acted foolishly and caused the Kingdom to split in two. The ten northern tribes became the Kingdom of Israel under King Jeroboam.
About 930 BC, Jeroboam deliberately created a counterfeit replica of the religion Moses revealed in the Wilderness. He set up two "Jerusalems": One in Bethel and one in Dan. Here is the worship site he set up in Dan to compete with the real Jerusalem. The basic philosophies of the Samaritans where Mt. Gerizim is the real "holy mountain" not Jerusalem, had their origin in Jeroboam. This is why we call the Samaritans, "Neo-Jeriboamites". Jeroboam's famous quote, "Its too far for you to go to Jerusalem", was the foundation of the Samaritans making Mt. Gerizim as their holy mountain 200 years later.
Here is the 3000 year old altar that Jeroboam set up in Dan. It is the little square of blocks inside the larger replica steel altar. The area has been rebuilt and enlarged during the Hellenistic period (400 BC). The Jeroboam's original altar area was expanded and enlarged and included cut stones with stairs rather than uncut stones with ramps. But Jeroboam's original altar was found below the newer and larger Hellenistic altar. The steel replica gives the size and height of the Hellenistic altar that was built over top of Jeroboam's altar. You can see the 3000 year old male cult oak tree at the rear right hand side of the photo. Nearby is the 3000 year old female cult myrtle tree. The oak tree was seen as a male deity and the Myrtle as female deity. These two tree were part of the pagan worship of the site. Pagan worship under trees was one of the reasons why the kingdom of Israel went into extinction: "They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree" 2 Kings 17:10
Notice that Shechem, a valley town between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, was Jeroboam's original home base. The Samaritans, influence by Jeroboam, adopted Shechem as their home base with Mt. Gerizim as their "real Jerusalem" where Abraham sacrifices Isaac:
"Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. "If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah." So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense." 1 Kings 12:25-33
In 722 BC, when the 10 northern tribes (Kingdom of Israel) went into permanent extinction by being deported into Assyria by Shalmaneser, the Assyrian king, God blamed Jeroboam for misleading the nation with his counterfeit religion:
"Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the Lord their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the Lord had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the Lord. They served idols, concerning which the Lord had said to them, "You shall not do this thing." Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets." However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them not to do like them. They forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah. Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced. The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight. When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin. The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day." 2 Kings 17:7-23
Kermes Oak and the Scarlet worm: If you look at the photo above, you can see the male cult Kermes oak tree. Henry Morris talks about the scarlet worm that fed upon this tree.
Look at the 22nd Psalm. This is the great Psalm of the crucifixion of Christ written 1,000 years before it was fulfilled. It describes in great detail the sufferings of Christ on the cross. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" he cries out. Then down in verse 6...he says "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." What did he mean by saying "I am a worm"?...This particular worm is different from other kinds of worms. There are different kinds of worms, different varieties, but this is a particular worm. It means more than just he is not a man. Isaiah 52 says, "his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." He was literally made corruption personified; he didn't even look like a man there on the cross; it is talking about more than that here. He says "I am a worm and no man." This is a scarlet worm and the reason it was called that was because it had the ability to secrete a scarlet fluid which was used in making the scarlet dye that they used in ancient days. As a matter of fact, when you find the word "scarlet" in the bible, it's the same word. "Though your sins be as scarlet," it's the same word exactly. The worm was identified with the crimson color. The life cycle of that worm is something like this: when the mother worm was ready to give birth to the baby worms, she would find the trunk of a tree, a post or a stick somewhere and then she would plant her body in that wood and she would implant her body so firmly in it that she could never leave it again. And then the young would be brought forth and the mother's body would provide protection for the babies as long as they needed before they could get out and take care of themselves. Then the mother would die, and in the process, the scarlet fluid would stain her body and the body of the young and the tree and so on. The Lord Jesus said "I am like that scarlet worm." He's making peace through the blood of his cross; he's bringing many sons into glory through the suffering. And this is a graphic testimony of the fact that eternal life comes out of the suffering and death of the Son of God" (Bible & Science tape series, Henry Morris). The Kermes Oak was historically important as the food plant of the Kermes insect from which a red dye was obtained and used toward the end of the second Holy Temple (70 CE). The color red, translated as 'scarlet,' or 'crimson,' in Hebrew is usually referred to as 'shani' or more fully as 'tolaat shani.' (In Chronicles, the color is referred to as karmil: "with purple and blue and crimson yarn", II Chron. 2:6,13). The "scarlet worm", Tola`ath shani, "scarlet," Cermes vermilio is a scale-insect which feeds upon the oak and it is not a worm. The female is wingless and adheres to its favorite plant by its long, sucking beak, by which it extracts the sap on which it lives. After once attaching itself it remains motionless, and when dead its body shelters the eggs which have been deposited beneath it. The males, which are smaller than the females, pass through a complete metamorphosis and develop wings. The dye is made from the dried bodies of the females. The word 'crimson' comes from kermes, although the color produced was more of an orange-red. The Cermes vermilio also gave rise to one other word for red, vermillion (Latin "worm-colored", from vermiculus, the Latin term for the kermes). Vermilion, in Hebrew shashar, also appears two times in the Bible (Ezek. 23:14 and Jer. 22:14). This red color was early known; "...and took a scarlet thread" (Gen 38:2). It was one of the colors of the ephod (Exo 28:6), the girdle (Exo 28:8), and the breastplate (Exo 28:15) of the high priest. It is also mentioned in various other connections (Jos 2:18; Sa2 1:24; Lam 4:5; Nah 2:3). A scarlet robe was in mockery placed on our Lord (Mat 27:28; Luk 23:11 Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool (Isa 1:18). Scarlet and crimson were the firmest of dyes, and thus not easily washed out.
Acorn from a Kermes Oak
B. The Samaritans formally began in 720 -516 BC:
722 - 516 BC: The first phase of Samaritan history is from the time of the divided kingdom to the time of Judah returned from Babylonian captivity in 516 BC. The second phase was after Judah returned from Babylonian captivity.
Shalmaneser moved non-Gentile natives of Assyria (Modern Iraq, Babylon) and other places into Samaria to occupy the land to retain control. When God killed these non-Jews with lions the people requested one of the "priests" of Jeroboam's religion, to return and teach them about the "God of the land". Shalmaneser chose one of the priests who was from Bethel to move back into Canaan and educate the gentiles about this God who was killing them. Bethel was one of the two pagan altars that Jeroboam had set up.
"The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them which killed some of them. So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have carried away into exile in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them because they do not know the custom of the god of the land." Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Take there one of the priests whom you carried away into exile and let him go and live there; and let him teach them the custom of the god of the land." So one of the priests whom they had carried away into exile from Samaria came and lived at Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord. But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived. The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim. They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who acted for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile. To this day they do according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments which the Lord commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel; with whom the Lord made a covenant and commanded them, saying, "You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them. "But the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice. "The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever; and you shall not fear other gods. "The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods. "But the Lord your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." However, they did not listen, but they did according to their earlier custom. So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day." 2 Kings 17:24-41
In the end the Hebrew priest of Bethel, who had been trained to function in the false religion Jeroboam invented, learned no lessons from being deported to Assyria. They continued to worship both idols and Yahweh, the one true God of Israel. This is exactly why Yahweh punished them by deporting them for eternal extinction into Assyria.
C. The Samaritans chose Mt. Gerizim after the Babylonian captivity in 516 BC
516 BC - 30 AD: The second phase of Samaritan history is from the time Judah returned from Babylonian captivity in 516 BC to the time of Christ's birth.
After Judah returned from exile, the idol worshipping Samaritans were confronted with a zealous and repentant group of Hebrews who immediately started rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple. Judah had learned in exile what the Samaritans never did: Follow the word of God exactly as it is written as a blueprint. Many churches today are very "Samaritan like" in that they teach both the Gospel and things that had their origin in the human mind. The biggest false doctrine floating around churches today is: "Doctrine doesn't matter."
Tobiah (an Ammonite) and the men of Samaritan mocked and opposed Nehemiah's efforts to rebuild Jerusalem: "When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel." Nehemiah 2:10 "He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?" Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, "Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!"" Nehemiah 4:2-3
About 515 BC, When the Jews succeeded in completing rebuilding Jerusalem, Tobiah went off in a huff, and built his own temple and royal palace, which was located transjordan in his native homeland of the Ammonites. The temple can be seen today with amazing full size rock carved lions all the way around the top of the temple. There are also lions at ground level. One is pictured below. There are many "house of David" symbols including lily flowers and capitals of the same style that David used.
Tobiah's royal palace was built about 2 kms away up in the side of a rock cliff. It was a massive structure and twice an inscription can be found on the palace walls that identify it as "Tobiah". Here is the first "Tobiah" inscription right of the door that is cut out of solid rock.
Here is a close up of the second of two "Tobiah" inscriptions on the palace walls:
Here is a more detailed look at Tobiah's temple and palace.
The arrival of Judah after 516 BC back to Jerusalem was a social force that caused the Samaritan's to get back into the "religious counterfeiting business" of their founder Jeroboam. No doubt they were challenged by this groups of zealous "follow the book, Bible thumping" Judeans. We can hear the Judeans chastising the Samaritans for their continued idolatry. "You never learned your lesson. We have returned back from Babylon and we have learned our lesson. We are not going to worship idols any more. You need to repent. We have the truth, you are worshipping idols still. When will you ever learn?" Of course the Samaritans did not listen, but continued to manufacture lies about Mt. Gerizim being the holy mountain of God, and not Jerusalem.
Looking back to 930 BC, notice that the first place Jeroboam built a home was at Shechem located in the valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal. The anti-Jerusalem sentiment of Jeroboam is the foundation of what eventually gave birth to the Samaritans who are equally anti-Jerusalem. With the return of Judah from Babylon, the Samaritans were suddenly forced to defend, for the second time, why they would not worship in Jerusalem. Out of this the Samaritans chose Mt. Gerizim as their "Jerusalem".
Since the grand-daddy and "high priest" of the Samaritans was Jeroboam, it makes sense that they decided to center their religion on a mountain that overlooks their founder's first residence in the valley city of Shechem.
But they needed to make one more important changes to history. They started teaching that Abraham sacrificed Isaac on Mt. Gerizim, not Mt. Moriah (ie. Jerusalem). So Mt. Gerizim became the "Holy Mountain" of the Samaritans after 516 BC, which was nothing more than a continuation of the ideas Jeroboam had introduced in 930 BC.
Today the Jews in Israel have irreconcilable differences because Muhammad, like Jeroboam, was a master at myth making and the rewriting of history. For example, Muslims today teach that Moses, Isaiah and Jesus were all Muslims! Being at odds with every history book in every library in every university in the world doesn't seem to be problem for Muslims!
The true history is that Abraham sacrificed Isaac in Jerusalem. The Samaritans rewrote history and teach Abraham sacrificed Isaac in Mt. Gerizim. The Muslims rewrote history and teach Abraham sacrificed Ishmael in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In the parable of the Tares, the Devil is the counterfeiter of religion. Today many churches are counterfeits of the true church you read about in the Bible.
By 500 BC, we have two sects of Jews who have irreconcilable differences in theology because the Samaritans rewrote history into a lie. The Samaritans also intermarried with the gentiles. This is the foundation of the contempt that the Jews have for the Samaritans.
D. How the Jews viewed the Samaritans in 30 AD:
The Jews at the time of Christ viewed the Samaritans as idol worshipping apostates to be shunned who had intermarried with the Gentiles.
Not once are the Samaritans referred to as a sect in the Old Testament, Nehemiah 4:2 shows how the "wealthy men of Samaria" mocked Nehemiah's efforts to rebuilt Jerusalem.
"For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." John 4:9
The Jews falsely slandered Jesus for being a Samaritan probably because he was from Nazareth, a city north of Mt. Gerizim. Guilt by geography: "The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" John 8:48
E. How the Jesus viewed the Samaritans in 30 AD:
Jesus' viewed the Samaritans as apostates, just like the rest of Jews did. However, unlike his fellow Jews, Jesus did not shun them.
At the early stages of Jesus' ministry he did not view the Samaritans as being part of Israel but on the same level as Gentiles. This is important since the Samaritans were originally from the tribes that were part of the Kingdom of Israel as part of the 10 northern tribes:
"These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:6
Jesus viewed the Samaritans as foreigners. Of the one Samaritan leper who Jesus cleansed:
"Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine-where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?"" Luke 17:11-18
Jesus was rejected by the Samaritans simply because he was on his way to Jerusalem. The bad feelings between the Jews and the Samaritans went both ways:
"When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." And they went on to another village." Luke 9:51-56
A later time Jesus was making a similar trip to Jerusalem he healed a Samaritan of Leprosy. A miracle like this would surely impact his Samaritan village.
"While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine-where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?"" Luke 17:11-18
Jesus bluntly told the woman at the well her religion is wrong: "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." John 4:22
In spite of all this, Jesus used a Samaritan as the timeless example of a man doing unconditional good to a stranger in the Parable of the good Samaritan.
F. The parable of the good Samaritan:
"Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."" Luke 10:30-37
- Jesus knew exactly how separate the good honest hearts from the bad in the way He told stories.
- This amazing parable was spoken to a Jewish Lawyer and he made a Samaritan the hero! A Jewish Lawyer was one who is an expert in Mosaic law.
- He used a priest, Levite and a Samaritan. The priest and Levite are vilified and the Samaritan is the hero! Wow how to make your audience hate you! But the honest listener would have to agree.
- In this parable, an expert in Mosaic law, was being told to imitate the morals of a Samaritan who was being held up as a role model.
- It is entirely possible that this was a recent and real news event.
G. The Samaritan woman at the well converts to Christ:
"There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, "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." She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw." He said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly." The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why do You speak with her?" So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, "Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?" They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. "For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor." From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done." So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."" John 4:7-42
- The Samaritan woman at the well resulted in evangelizing the entire Samaritan city. Jesus Disciples are now told to start teaching the Samaritans. This reverses his previous ban on teaching them earlier on in his ministry.
- It is important to keep in mind that Jesus bluntly told the Samaritan woman to her face that her religion was wrong, and yet she was honest enough to accept this and convert to Christ.
- He told her: "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews."
- She could have taken offence, instead she went and brought back the whole town to hear more of this.
H. The Samaritans were included in the great commission:
The day Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus gave three stages of evangelizing the world: "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."" Acts 1:8
- the Samaritan who were pagan 1/2 Jews
- The pagan Gentiles:
I. The city of Shechem and Simon become Christians:
"Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city. Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God." And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! "You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity." But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans." Acts 8:4-25
- Shechem, the capital city of the Samaritans and Simon the sorcerer are converted. (Although some suggest the city of Samaria was "Sebaste", 11 km NW of ancient Shechem).
- Shechem was converted though the preaching of Philip. Simon the sorcerer, was an example of the type of religion the Samaritans were willing to accept.
- Simon used the same three techniques that modern Pentecostal/Charismatic preachers use to deceive followers into believing they possess supernatural powers: 1. Talk: "claiming to be someone great". 2. Testimony (of deceived followers): "This man is what is called the Great Power of God." 3. Tricks: "he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts". (Max Dawson)
- Simon presents a warning to those to follow Pentecostal/Charismatic preachers because: 1. Large numbers of people listen to them: "all were giving attention". The fact that large numbers of people supported Simon did not change the fact that he was a fraud. The fact that important people could vouch for him did not change error into truth, or change tricks into miracles. 2. The rich, famous and important people follow them: "greatest". 3. Long periods of time: "for a long time". (Max Dawson)
J. Churches established in Samaritan cities:
Churches were established in Samaritan cities: "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase." Acts 9:31
So after 1000 years the Samaritans had finally come home to their God by repenting and believing in Jesus and being baptized for the remission of their sins.
The Samaritans who rejected Jesus would share the same fate as the Jews who rejected Jesus: Hell. As far as Christianity is concerned, there is no spiritual difference between a pagan Gentile, a Samaritan and Jew today: They are all lost and need the blood of Jesus in order to be saved and get to heaven. Learn for yourself how to be saved.
K. Mt. Gerizim is located next to Shechem and beside the oaks of Moreh:
"The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain [Gerizim], and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."" John 4:19-24
- The Samaritans believed two false doctrines: 1. that Mt. Gerizim was the Holy Mountain of God. 2. The myth that Abraham sacrificed Isaac at Mt. Gerizim instead of Jerusalem as the Bible says.
- Historically, the orthodox Jews who lived in Jerusalem began to claim that the "Mt. Gerizim" Samaritans had chosen, was in fact the wrong mountain. The orthodox Jews knew the Samaritans were at the true Mt. Gerizim, but were wanting to counter their anti-Jerusalem teachings by saying, "You Samaritans claim the Mt. Gerizim is your holy mountain, but you haven't chosen the wrong mountain for Mt. Gerizim. Obviously then, you are wrong when you say Jerusalem is not the true mountain of God." So the Orthodox invented a new lie to counter the lies of the Samaritans. This was unfortunate because even today in modern Israel, some Jews today continue to claim that the Mt. Gerizim of the Samaritans, is the not the true Mt. Gerizim. The true Mt. Gerizim, is located elsewhere near Jericho and Gilgal.
- However the Bible is clear in that Mt. Gerizim is located beside Shechem, not Gilgal: The oaks of Moreh were beside Mt. Gerizim and two Bible verses place the oaks of Moreh beside Shechem (modern Nabulus). (Genesis 12:6 and Genesis 35:4.) Judges 9:7 likewise places Mount Gerizim directly beside Shechem: "Jotham went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. Thus he said to them, "Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you." (Judges 9:7)
- In 325 AD, Eusebius believed that the Samaritan's choice for Mt. Gerizim was wrong and said so in his Onomasticon which he wrote in 325 AD. He likely based this on the Bible verse that said it was opposite Gilgal: "Are they [Mt. Ebal and Gerizim] not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh?" Deuteronomy 11:30. It is clear that "opposite Gilgal", does not mean beside Gilgal, as Eusebius claimed. It was beside the oaks of Morah, which was beside Shechem: Genesis 12:6 and Genesis 35:4.
- In 325 AD Eusebius wrongly chose mountains sometimes called "Tyros" and "Thrax" above Aqaba jabr near Jericho. The Samaritans chose "Jebel es-Slamiyeh" and "Jebel et Tur". These are the traditional locations on all Bible maps today and are the correct locations.
- Here is what Eusebius wrote in his Onomasticon in 325 AD:
Mt. Ebal: "Gaibal (Gebal). Mountain in the Promised Land where Moses commanded an altar to be built (at the command of Moses an alter was built). They say (there are) two neighboring mountains facing each other located at (near) Jericho, one of which (is said) to be Garizin [Gerizim], the other Gaibal [Ebal]. But the Samaritans erroneously point out two others near Neapolis (argue for two mountains near Neapolis but they err greatly) since the great distance of one from the other there shows that they are not able to hear one another when calling out from one (hear the voices calling out in turn blessing or cursing as Scripture records)." (Eusebius, Onomasticon 325 AD)
Mt. Gerizim: "Garizein (Garizin). Mountain where those calling out the blessing (curse) stood. Read the above mentioned Gaibal (Gebal)." (Eusebius, Onomasticon 325 AD)
Gilgal: "Golgol or Galgal. The Scriptures teach this is near Mt. Garisein and Mt.Gaibal. The place of Galgal is in the Jericho region (near Jericho). [Therefore the Samaritans err who would point out Mt.Gairsin and Mt.Gebal near Neapolis which Scripture testifies are near Galgal.]" (Eusebius, Onomasticon 325 AD)
Footnote from Onomasticon : This and the following entry can be treated together. The Onomasticon begins by recording the simple biblical information here. The generally accepted tradition is to follow the Samaritan tradition as given here. The two mountains are on either side of Neapolis (K. 4:28) and are Jebel es-Slamiyeh and Jebel et Tur. The Madaba Map reflects this tradition by having them near Shechem (K. 150:1) called Garizin and Gōbel. The pilgrims also recognize this identity. "At Neapolis is Mt Gazaren where the Samaritans say Abraham brought the sacrifice. And to ascend up to the summit are 300 steps. At the foot of the mountain is located a place by the name of Shechem" (Itin. Bourd. PPT I, 18). Zeno and Justinian built churches on Garizein according to Procopius Buildings V, vii, 5-17. Excavation of this area is going on. But Eusebius and Jerome prefer to follow an anti-Samaritan location. The Madaba map hesitates between the two opinions and so locates Gebal Garizeini near Ierichō [Jericho] (K. 104:25). The use of the LXX names in Ierichō region and the Aramaic in the Neapolis area may signify some preference. Since Josephus and the later Byzantines had the correct tradition, this rabbinic tradition must have developed in the late first and early second centuries. Procopius 905C is also confused: "This is situated at the Eastern part of Ierichō beyond Galgal" and he continues by denying the Samaritan tradition. Yet in 908A he seems to accept the Samaritan location and tradition. The two mountains near Jericho are probably those above Aqaba jabr sometimes called Tyros and Thrax. The Roman road to Jerusalem passed between them. In Interpretation of Hebrew Names "Gebal, ancient abyss or stone building" (87). (Eusebius, Onomasticon 325 AD)
- In 542 AD, the Madaba map places the two mountains twice, in two different locations: On the Madaba map, the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim are in two different locations. One is at Shechem (Modern Nabulus) and one near Jericho and Gilgal. This is because the Orthodox Jews had created a new location near Jericho in their longstanding dispute with the Samaritans. Eusebius, Jerome and the creators of the Madaba map were fully aware of the two traditions and chose to represent both on the map.
- Herbert Donner comments on this: "The mountains Gerizim and Ebal are represented twice on the Madaba Map: near Jericho and near Neapolis. What has happened here? The problem can be solved on the basis of Eus. On. 64:9-14 where, strangely enough, both mountains are indeed located near Jericho. Eusebius, however, does not fail to add: "The Samaritans show other ones near Neapolis, but they are wrong, for the mountains shown by them are too far from each other, so that it is impossible to hear one´s voice when calling to each other." Although this seems to be entirely intelligible and is confirmed by Deut. 27, the Samaritans were by no means wrong. Eusebius was wrong, and everybody knew it, perhaps he himself included. The Samaritans laid claim to the mountains, considering them to be their own holy mountains. Hostility to the Samaritans forced the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem to locate both mountains at another spot, for the Samaritans were not allowed to be right. Eusebius followed the orthodox Jewish tradition. The mosaicist, however, being well informed, preferred a Solomonic solution: he listed the mountains twice, indicating by larger letters that he regarded the location near Nabulus as being correct." (Herbert Donner, The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Kampen 1992, 24.48)
- In the 1980's, Adam Zertal has chosen an entirely new location for Mt. Gerizim after discovering Joshua's Altar. Zertal believes the Samaritans chose the wrong mountain in 500 BC this was about 1000 years after Joshua built his altar in 1406 BC. Zertal reasons that the chances of them getting the mountain wrong is high because of the long time frame between Joshua and when they first chose Gerizim to be their "holy mountain". (900 years)
There is also a possibility that the Samaritans deliberately chose a different mountain because they wanted to create a new myth that Abraham sacrificed Isaac there. While Mt. Ebal is not in dispute, here is where Zertal believes Mt. Gerizim is really located. He chose this new location, because it is within view of a Hebrew altar he discovered which he believes to be Joshua's altar. One of the problems for Zertal, is that the altar doesn't directly point to his choice for Mt. Gerizim. Rather the altar is facing the open plains to the left of Zertal's Mt. Gerizim. Surely the altar would point directly to Mt. Gerizim since it was directly in view.
Here is a close up of Zertal's choice for Mt. Gerizim taken from the south side of the altar. It is unfortunate that Zertal carries on the tradition of those orthodox Jews who lived from 400 BC - 30 AD that the Samaritans had chosen the wrong mountain for Mt. Gerizim. The Samaritans chose the correct mountain. Zertal is wrong.
- When all has been examined it is clear that the correct location of Mt. Ebal is where Adam Zertal found Joshua's Altar. The correct location for Mt. Gerizim is where the Samaritans chose it. Zertal's choice for Mt. Gerizim is wrong. Eusebius is also wrong for locating the two mountains beside Jericho and Gilgal.
- The Bible locates Mt. Gerizim beside Shechem. The Samaritan location at Shechem (Nabulus) is correct. The orthodox Jewish locations near Gilgal are wrong.
L. The history of Shechem, Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim:
Today, ancient Shechem is located Tel Balata, which is about 3 km east of modern Nabulus. It may be that Tel Balata which literally means "a paving stone or tile" may in fact derive from Arabic balut, meaning "oak".
In 2085 BC Abraham left Haran at age 75 and the same year God appeared to him at Shechem: Gen 12:4. In 2085 BC, Abraham built an altar in Shechem beside the Oak of Moreh where God appeared to him and promised to give his seed the land: "Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him." Genesis 12:6-7. Regarding the "Oaks of Moreh": Not just a single oak tree but a forest called the "oaks of Moreh" were located near, but not in Shechem, (Genesis 35:4) and apparently not directly on either of the two mountains: "Are they [Mount Gerizim & Ebal] not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh?" Deuteronomy 11:29-30. The location of the oaks of Moreh are clearly outside the formal city limits of Shechem: "Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him." Genesis 34:6
In 1900 BC, Jacob after he had fled from Laban back to Canaan, he built an altar at the place he camped "before the city of Shechem", not in Shechem. He bought this land: "Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel." Genesis 33:18-20
In 1900 BC, just before Jacob moved from Shechem to Bethel, he hid the idols of his family under the "oak of Moreh" which was the very spot where Abraham had built an altar: "So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem." Genesis 35:4
In 1893 BC, Joseph was sold into slavery. Jacob sent Joseph to Shechem to find his brothers, who had moved on to Dothan, where they betrayed him: "Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go."" Genesis 37:13
Joshua lived 1460 - 1350 BC: Joshua is described as a young man, a youth, when Israel left Egypt: (Ex 33:11; Num 11:28) He was chosen by Moses to fight Amalek at (Exodus 17:9) Rephidim. We would estimate that Joshua need be no less than 20 and probably 30 years old when he was given the responsibility of leading the armies of Moses. Since the exodus was 1446 BC and Joshua lived to be 110 years old. (Joshua 24:29) This means Joshua was born about 1466 BC and died 1356 BC. This means that Joshua began serving Moses at age 30, and served Moses for 40 years in the wilderness and then 40 years in Canaan after crossing the Jordan.
In 1406, when Israel crossed the Jordan, the tabernacle was first set in the Gilgal (Josh 4:19).
In 1390 BC, Joshua traveled from Gilgal, where the tabernacle was located, to Mt. Ebal beside Shechem to built the "altar of Joshua". The ark of the covenant was taken to Mt. Ebal and used in the blessings and curses ceremony, while the tabernacle remained at Gilgal. Josh 8:30
In 1385 BC, the tabernacle then moved to Shiloh (Josh 18:1,10) where he divided up the land by lot (Joshua 19:51). Shiloh was the central gathering point for Israel at the time of Joshua: "When the sons of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the sons of Israel gathered themselves at Shiloh to go up against them in war." Joshua 22:12.
In 110 AD, Josephus says that the tabernacle was first at Gilgal, then Shiloh after which Joshua built the Altar on Mt. Ebal. The correct order was Gilgal, Ebal, Shiloh: "The fifth year was not past, and there was not one of the Canaanites remained any longer, excepting some that had retired to places of great strength. So Joshua removed his camp to the mountainous country, and placed the tabernacle in the city of Shiloh, for that seemed a fit place for it, because of the beauty of its situation, until such time as their affairs would permit them to build a temple; and from thence he went to Shechem, together with all the people, and raised an altar where Moses had beforehand directed; then did he divide the army, and place one half of them on Mount Gerizim, and the other half on Mount Ebal, on which mountain the altar was; he also placed there the tribe of Levi, and the priests. (And when they had sacrificed, and denounced the [blessings and the] curses, and had left them engraved upon the altar, they returned to Shiloh. (Josephus, Antiquities 5.1.19, 68-70)
In 1385, Shechem became a central "city of refuge" for Ephraim and Manasseh: "They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands," Joshua 21:21 (Josh 20:2,7; 1 Chronicles 6:67)
In 1380, From Shiloh, Joshua sent the tribe of Reuben transjordan for their inheritance: Joshua 22:9. The sons of Reuben built an exact replica of the altar of burnt offering in the tabernacle at Shiloh on the east side of the Jordan which created a huge problem. Altars had to be endorsed directly by God or else they were considered apostate and rebellious: "Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, 'What is this unfaithful act which you have committed against the God of Israel, turning away from following the Lord this day, by building yourselves an altar, to rebel against the Lord this day?" Joshua 22:16 "Therefore we said, 'It shall also come about if they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, then we shall say, "See the copy of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, not for burnt offering or for sacrifice; rather it is a witness between us and you." '" Joshua 22:28
In 1350 BC Just before Joshua died, the tabernacle "sanctuary of the Lord" was moved from Shiloh to Shechem and placed near the Oaks of Moreh. Joshua gathered all the people there for his farewell address: "Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, ... and they presented themselves before God." (Joshua 24:1). He also set up a memorial stone directly underneath the very oak that Abraham had built an altar near and Jacob had hid his family idols underneath: "So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak [of Moreh] that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God." Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to his inheritance." Joshua 24:25-28
In 1350 BC, Joshua died and was buried at Timnath-serah: Josh 24:30. At the same time Joseph, who had died in Egypt 450 years earlier (1800 BC), was buried at Shechem in a plot of land Jacob had bought 550 years earlier (1900 BC): "Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph's sons." Joshua 24:32; Genesis 33:18-20; Acts 7:16.
Today, the tomb of Joseph is located east of modern Nabulus between Tel Balata and Sychar: "one of the tombs whose location is known with the utmost degree of certainty and is based on continuous documentation since biblical times. (Zvi Ilan, Tombs of the Righteous in the Land of Israel, p. 365)
On 7 October 2000, Joseph's Tomb, the third most holy place in Judaism, was destroyed by Muslims. It is located east of modern Nabulus between Shechem (Tel Balata) and Sychar at the foot of Mt. Ebal. It had come under attack and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew after gaining reassurances from the Palestinian Authority (PA) that they would protect the site in accordance with their obligations under the Oslo Accords to protect holy sites. Two hours after the withdrawal Muslims began destroying the site. It was burned and torn down stone by stone, then bulldozed. It was immediately declared a Muslim holy site.
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.
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