The Samaritans . .

That’s part of what puzzled me: if the imported people were instructed by priests, then the men would have undergone circumcision and by the rules of the covenant they were then counted as Israelites.
And an imperial order, “This is Who and how you will worship!” would be a pretty convincing reason for getting it right!

as always, personalising with the intent to incite trouble. The correct way to read my statement is contrary to your comprehension here. That is all that i will say in response. If you will not move beyond your biases, then it wouldn’t matter if i drew roses, all you would see are the thorns.

I think it should also be remembered that many of these other religious orders outside of Judaism and Christianity engaged in abominable sexual acts and murder of young children all in the name of their gods. Perhaps let’s not lose sight of what the “other side was up to” in order to keep a balanced perspective on this.

Circumcision is a difficult concept to get ones head around…what possible relevance could such a habit have with being Godly? There are theories:

  1. cleanliness…some have proposed that it was less likely to get infection without a foreskin
  2. class separation
  3. religious seal - ie the ratification of a covenant via physical demonstration of allegiance

I do not have an extensive explanation as to why God demanded it of the Israelites and then threw it out when the gospel was taken to the Gentiles.

The best that i can come up with based on my theological knowledge is that like many historical accounts of events in the old testament, a physical action/event usually held some future importance in that it would help explain theological concepts to Gods people. There are a number of examples where this is the case, the most significant being the sacrificial system (it pointed towards the incarnate God dying on the cross for our sins). Strangely enough, whilst it was a covenant between men and God, it represented purity by some definitions. The following is a wild thought…even absolutely outrageous, however, perhaps prior to the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden, Adam did not have one and we evolved to being born with them later on? (see following references)

Um, what?

You made this rather loaded statement:

To which he gregoreite responded:

Which is two objective statements.

And in response you’re the one that got personal:

“The correct way to read my statement is contrary to your comprehension here. That is all that i will say in response. If you will not move beyond your biases, then it wouldn’t matter if i drew roses, all you would see are the thorns.”

Again…um, what?

Why are you bringing in “other religious orders outside of Judaism and Christianity”? That has nothing to do with my comment on the Samaritans becoming Jewish.

I think it may help the discussion to view a graphic of the 12 tribes of Israel.


Jews are either the descendants of the tribe of Judah, or those who belong to the kingdom of Judah (i.e. Judahites and Benjaminites). Historically, most Israelites were not Jews. If the small number of Assyrians who were imported into the lands of the northern kingdom of Israel were assimilated into northern Israel, they did not become Jews, but they did become Israelites.

The religious temptation for both Samaritans and Jews was to combine the worship of Yahweh with the worship of other gods. This would result in a “mongrel” religion. The Samaritans were no more inclined to do this than the Jews.

As I noted earlier, I think that with an imperial command behind it, the Samaritans would likely have become very devoted Israelites, while the Jews in the south would lack that impetus.

God gave Solomon the task of building the Temple. Which he did. Temple worship was supposed to be centralized. The issue came up in Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus confirms that the Jewish view is correct. She says to Jesus,

Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what
we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Abraham was a Chaldean. The Jews did not exist as a people yet. The Samaritans were looked down on because of both their religion (they accepted the Pentateuch only as scriptural) and race (they intermarried with foreign peoples)

Intermarriage with pagans was considered a sin. In Nehemiah 23 he says,

And I contended with them and cursed them and beat some of the men and pulled out their hair, and I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not King Solomon of Israel sin on account of such women?

Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin. Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by m
marrying foreign women?”

Notice how he blames it on the foreign women. Not cool, Nehemiah!

You might be interested to know that the Samaritans have survived to the present day. They only accept the Pentateuch as scriptural, and they continue offer Passover sacrifices.

I think you have made a mistake here which arises from reading the New Testament in English. In modern English there is no distinction between “you” (singular) and “you” (plural). It is a bit of a problem, which some have attempted to remedy by saying “you all” or y’all" in the case of the plural.
Jesus sees his opportunity for a drink from the spring/well when the Samaritan woman approaches with the right utensils. The woman is shocked by Jesus’ request. Either she, or the narrator of the Gospel, explains that Jews (plural) and Samaritans (plural) do not associate with each other. Clearly Jesus, a Jew in the singular, does not think like Jews in the plural.

On realizing that Jesus is a prophet (at the very least), the woman moves to one of the critical theological questions which a prophet might have an answer for. The woman’s Samaritan ancestors say that Israelite worship should be centralized on this mountain (Mt Gerizim), “but you (plural) say … Jerusalem”. When using the word translated as “you”, the woman is using the plural. In context, this can only mean “Jews”. Many, if not most, translations avoid the confusion in the English by translating this part of the sentence as “you Jews”. However, Jesus for a second time in this story will show how he, a Jew in the singular, differs from Jews in the plural, by saying that the place of worship is neither here nor there. Nevertheless, salvation comes from the Jews, not any place of worship, because it comes from Jesus.


The two split after the death of king Solomon.

As prophesied by Ahijah (1 Kings 11:31-35), the house of Israel was divided into two kingdoms. This division, which took place approximately 975 B.C., after the death of Solomon and during the reign of his son, Rehoboam, came about as the people revolted against heavy taxes levied by Solomon and Rehoboam.

During Rehoboam’s reign, the tribe of Judah and the majority of the tribe of Benjamin accepted Rehoboam as their king. They became the kingdom of Judah, or the southern kingdom of Israel, with its capital at Jerusalem.The other 10 tribes and the remainder of the tribe of Benjamin - usually spoken of as the Ten Tribes - chose Jeroboam as their king. The collective Ten Tribes retained the title of Israel, and became known also as Ephraim, which was the dominant tribe. It became the northern kingdom, with headquarters at Shechem in Samaria.

On the whole, Judah remained more faithful to Jehovah. Almost as soon as the northern kingdom of Israel was established, it went into apostasy. Although great prophets such as Elijah and Amos ministered in the kingdom, the people worshiped false gods and adopted many practices of Baalism.

The kingdom of Israel was more populous and powerful, but it fell some 135 years before Judah did. In about 721 B.C., Israel was captured by the Assyrians, under Shalmanezer, and carried away, and subsequently, became lost to the knowledge of men. They are now referred to as “the lost ten tribes.”

Geographically, Judah was less exposed to attack, but in about 588 B.C., Babylonia’s Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem and virtually put an end to the kingdom of Judah as its people were taken captive into Babylon. After nearly 70 years, Persia’s king Cyrus subdued Babylon and permitted Judah to return to Jerusalem. Many of the people of Judah had become scattered throughout Asia, but the majority did return to Jerusalem. Assailed by Syria and Egypt, Judah never regained its former power. By the time of Jesus, Jerusalem had become a tributary of Rome. Israel divided into two kingdoms - Church News

This is an interesting post on a Mormon website, but it is way out of date with regard to Samaritan studies. While in some areas, deportation was complete, in other areas the Israelites of the northern kingdom continued and prospered. In due course, they would be called Samaritans or Samarians after the provincial name given to the area by successive empires. However, they did not cease to be Israelites, worshipping Yahweh with an integrity that matched that of their southern cousins, the Judahites.

In my initial post, I gave some references to the massive and meticulous work undertaken by Samaritan scholars supporting this view. This work is too extensive to be reproduced in posts to this website. Perhaps a single quote from Knopper will summarize the current state of affairs.

“This brings us back to the question with which we began: What happened to the “ten lost tribes?” A significant proportion of the “ten lost tribes” was never lost. In the region of Samaria, most of the indigenous Israelite population - those who survived the Assyrian onslaughts - remained in the land.”

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Nehemiah may have regarded marriage to foreign woman a sin. However, it seems to have eluded his mind that Moses, himself, the great Lawgiver, married a foreign woman. In fact, Israelite religion made it possible for foreigners to join Israel and cease to be foreigners. The Book of Ruth appears to have been written to counter any kind of xenophobia.

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There is no need to obfuscate a simple story. Jesus confirms that the place to worship is Jerusalem, the Jewish way, but points to a future time when the way you worship would be more important than where you worship. Jesus doesn’t teach against worship at the temple. Later on in John, he visits the Temple and teaches there. And after the resurrection of Jesus, Luke tells us that his disciples were “continually in the temple blessing God.”

When Moses married, he had not yet encountered God, let alone received the Law. He did receive some flak from Aaron and Miriam for marrying a Cushite (Ethiopian)

I will grant you that the Bible doesn’t speak with one voice.

I think this is a little bit of theological overreach. It begs the question of how one encounters God. Some Christian groups have a tendency to limit encounter with God to the dramatic. But God’s grace comes before faith and awakens it. When Moses killed the Egyptian who bullied the people of Israel, he reveals his own ethnic awareness, and with it, the whole story to that date of being God’s chosen people. The Law would come later, but if Moses was true to Nehemiah’s stance, he would then have “put away” (i.e. divorced) Zipporah. He did not.

The narrative, around the criticism of Moses’ wife in the Masoretic tradition on Numbers 12, creates a problem. According to Exodus, Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro/Reuel, a priest and prince of the Midianites. Thus, Zipporah was a Midianite. So, who was this Cushite wife of Moses? Did Moses have two wives? At the same time or sequentially?

We are saved from this conundrum by the Samaritan text of the Pentateuch. Which reveals that Moses’ wife was a “Kaashet” or “beautiful woman”, not “Cushit” meaning black or Cushite woman. It would have been an easy mistake to make in oral tradition. This is not to say that black women are not beautiful. I’ve known a number of very beautiful black women over the years. It is rather that a problem of ethnic identity is solved by the Samaritan Pentateuch.

Of course, it is no sin to be beautiful, except through the eyes of the jealous. The whole Biblical narrative shows how, time and again, jealousy rears its head to impede God’s plan of redemption. Christian leaders over the centuries have known of the strategy of some of their critics to attack their wives as a means of attacking them. However, regardless of whether you see the criticism of Moses’ wife by Aaron and Mariam as a matter of jealousy or racism, God’s response is not ambiguous. He “calls out” Aaron and Mariam (literally), fumes with anger against them, and punishes Mariam through the whitening of her skin. I think if Nehemiah had been familiar with this passage, he too would have turned a whiter shade of pale.

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So, Moses (following God’s instruction) ordered his in-laws wiped out in Numbers 31? One way of starting with a clean slate.

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Oh, there are no simple stories in the Bible! Stories in the Bible are edited over and over to extract theological meaning.

Remember that this discussion thread is about the Samaritans and the issue concerns claims by either side over whether Mt Gerizim or the Jerusalem Temple is the exclusive place. I agree with you, Jesus doesn’t teach against worship in the Jerusalem Temple, because he says one can worship anywhere, which includes the Jerusalem Temple, but also Mount Gerizim. Note that he says, the time “now is” when one can worship anywhere.

There is little doubt that the earliest Christians went to the Temple as a primary mission field, just as St Paul usually went first to the synagogues around the Mediterranean. However, if you want to accept Luke-Acts version of events, you need to take into account other things in Luke-Acts. In Luke-Acts, as Jesus approaches Jerusalem he says:

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:40-44 NIV)

And then we must cope with Stephen’s speech before martyrdom in Luke-Acts wherein he includes the building of the Jerusalem Temple as one of the acts of rebellion against God.

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This story (Numbers 31) seems to confuse Moabites and Midianites. Perhaps it is confused morally as well. Let’s turn the question on its head. Can we imagine Jesus Christ ordering genocide? If not, perhaps we should question whether, in this case, it truly was the Lord’s words to Moses.

Returning to our discussion of the Samaritans, the subject of this thread, it appears from Luke 9:52-55 that Jesus will not permit hostility to the Samaritans.