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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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SAMARITANS . The descendants of the Cuthites, Avvites, Sepharvites, and Hamathites, established by Sargon in Samaria after he had put an end to the Israelite kingdom. They were instructed in a form of the Hebrew religion (which they grafted on to their own worships) in order to appease the ‘God of the land’ ( 2 Kings 17:24 ). To these colonists Ashurbanipal made considerable additions ( Ezra 4:9-10 ). The enmity between Jews and Samaritans began to make its appearance immediately after the return from the Captivity. The Samaritans endeavoured to prevent the re-building of Jerusalem ( Ezra 4:7 , Nehemiah 4:7 ), and from time to time their subsequent aggressions and insults to the re-founded Jewish State are recorded by Josephus. After the battle of Issus the Samaritans offered assistance to Alexander, and were allowed to build a temple on Gerizim , where they sacrificed after the manner of the Jews though they were quite ready to repudiate Jewish origin, rite, and prejudice whenever occasion arose (see Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant. XII. v. 5). This temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus. The disputes between the Jews and the Samaritans were at last referred to Rome ( BJ II. xii. 3 7). Throughout the Gospel history the ill-feeling is conspicuous: the Samaritans were ‘strangers, ( Luke 17:18 ), and their admixture of heathen worship seems still to have persisted ( John 4:22 ). Vespasian inflicted a crushing blow upon them by massacring 11,600 on Mt. Gerizim. From this and other sufferings later inflicted by Zeno and Justinian they never recovered. They still persist, to the number of about 150, in Nâblus. They acknowledge the Pentateuchal legislation only, and endeavour to preserve intact the Mosaic rites and ordinances.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Samaritans'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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