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Who are the Samaritans?

Are they Jews or Gentiles?

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Solomon reigned over the twelve tribes of Israel; but he sinned by turning to idolatry.
1 Kings 11:5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
Because of Solomon’s sin God determined to split Israel into two kingdoms.
1 Kings 11:9And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.
When Solomon’s son Rehoboam came to the throne the kingdom was divided. Ten tribes broke away and made Jeroboam king. They became known as the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam made two Golden Calves and set one at Bethel and the other at Dan to stop the people going to Jerusalem to worship.
1 Kings 12:28Whereupon the king (Jeroboam) took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
The Capital City of the ten tribes was originally Shechem and then Tirzah, but when Omri came to the throne he purchased the hill of Samaria and built a Capital City for the ten tribes there.
1 Kings 16:23In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. 24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.
Samaria remained the Capital City of the ten tribes until the Assyrians carried them into captivity c.722BC. The Assyrians left some of Israel in the land and imported people from other nations.
2 Kings 17:24And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. 25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. 26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. 29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.
From this we see that the Samaritans had their roots in a corrupted form of the worship of the true God. How much intermarriage took place between the descendents of Jacob left in the land and the foreigners brought in by the Assyrians cannot be known.
Hezekiah made an effort to reclaim those that were left in the land back to the worship of the true God. He had limited success.
2 Chronicles 30:1And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel... 6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. 8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. 9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem...18 For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one 20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
The kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity to Babylon c.586BC. When they returned after 70 years, they refused to let the people in the land have any part with them in rebuilding the Temple and the City.
Nehemiah 2:20Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.
The Scriptures give us no further information concerning the Samaritan form of worship. From secular historians we learn that they changed the location of the place that God has chosen to place his name (Jerusalem) and chose Mount Gerizim, seemingly altering their version of Deuteronomy to specify the place.
They built a Temple there; which was no longer standing in Christ’s day.
A fairly informative article can be found here:http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_Item_eng.asp?sec_id=36&subj_id=286
Thus the Samaritan woman’s question re the correct place of worship:
John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
The Samaritans are believed to be descendents mainly of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Levi also; because the Levites were scattered throughout Israel in 48 cities, having no inheritance of their own.
See here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans
Samaritans who based their worship on the writings of Moses would certainly have a blood relationship to the Jews. The woman was sure that she was a descendent of Jacob and she knew about the promise of the Messiah; probably from the Samaritan Pentateuch.
John 4:25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
This is almost certainly a reference to Deuteronomy 18:18
Deuteronomy 18:18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Peter quotes it at Pentecost.
Acts 3:22For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
The Samaritans came next after the Jews in the order of preaching.
Acts 1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Samaria was fertile ground for sowing the gospel.
Acts 8:5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city...12... when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
There are still Samaritans today with their own religious observances including the Passover. They do not recognise Jesus as the promised Messiah.
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless,
Glenn
thisisyourbible.com
 
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