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Faber

The Samaritans (Jews or Gentiles)?

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From what I see from the Scriptures they were not Jews (Matthew 10:5-6; John 4:9) nor were they Gentiles (Acts 11:18) and Paul categorized people as either Jews, Gentiles or Christians in 1 Corinthians 10:32.

 

I have no definitive answer to this so I was wondering what other people thought. - Perhaps they were just a distinct group that did not fit in any of the above categories (?) It seems from the proclamation of the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:14-40) they served as a "bridge" (Acts 8:5) to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-43). 

 

Thanks

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53 minutes ago, Faber said:

From what I see from the Scriptures they were not Jews (Matthew 10:5-6; John 4:9) nor were they Gentiles (Acts 11:18) and Paul categorized people as either Jews, Gentiles or Christians in 1 Corinthians 10:32.

 

I have no definitive answer to this so I was wondering what other people thought. - Perhaps they were just a distinct group that did not fit in any of the above categories (?)

 

Thanks

Perhaps we are looking at in the wrong way.  Rather than ethnicity, they are to be viewed or referenced in some contexts as a religious group, and in other contexts in regard to their location.  The two examples (i.e. Matt. 10:5-6, John 4:9) would fit the religious group context.

 

Outside of the Gospels the only reference to Samaritans is "the villages of the Samaritans" (i.e. location) in Acts 8:25.  The place name Samaria (i.e. again location) is referenced 7 times outside the Gospels (only in the book of Acts).

 

Thus Paul's distinction between Jews and Gentiles poses no problem.

 

To be honest I fail to understand your point concerning Acts 11:18.  I see don't how or why the Samaritans would not be considered Gentiles from that passage.

 

Just some thought on the subject.

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56 minutes ago, Faber said:

From what I see from the Scriptures they were not Jews (Matthew 10:5-6; John 4:9) nor were they Gentiles (Acts 11:18) and Paul categorized people as either Jews, Gentiles or Christians in 1 Corinthians 10:32.

 

I have no definitive answer to this so I was wondering what other people thought. - Perhaps they were just a distinct group that did not fit in any of the above categories (?) It seems from the proclamation of the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2:14-40) they served as a "bridge" (Acts 8:5) to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-43). 

 

Thanks

The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Assyria, the king of Assyria sent people from Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit Samaria (2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2-11). These foreigners intermarried with the Israelite population that was still in and around Samaria. These “Samaritans” at first worshipped the idols of their own nations, but being troubled with lions, they supposed it was because they had not honored the God of that territory. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Assyria to instruct them in the Jewish religion. They were instructed from the books of Moses, but still retained many of their idolatrous customs. The Samaritans embraced a religion that was a mixture of Judaism and idolatry (2 Kings 17:26-28). Because the Israelite inhabitants of Samaria had intermarried with the foreigners and adopted their idolatrous religion, Samaritans were generally considered “half-breeds” and were universally despised by the Jews.

Additional grounds for animosity between the Israelites and Samaritans were the following:

1. The Jews, after their return from Babylon, began rebuilding their temple. While Nehemiah was engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans vigorously attempted to halt the undertaking (Nehemiah 6:1-14).

2. The Samaritans built a temple for themselves on “Mount Gerizim,” which the Samaritans insisted was designated by Moses as the place where the nation should worship. Sanballat, the leader of the Samaritans, established his son-in-law, Manasses, as high priest. The idolatrous religion of the Samaritans thus became perpetuated.

3. Samaria became a place of refuge for all the outlaws of Judea (Joshua 20:6-7; 21:21). The Samaritans willingly received Jewish criminals and refugees from justice. The violators of the Jewish laws, and those who had been excommunicated, found safety for themselves in Samaria, greatly increasing the hatred which existed between the two nations.

4. The Samaritans received only the five books of Moses and rejected the writings of the prophets and all the Jewish traditions.

From these causes arose an irreconcilable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded the Samaritans as the worst of the human race (John 8:48) and had no dealings with them (John 4:9). In spite of the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus broke down the barriers between them, preaching the gospel of peace to the Samaritans (John 4:6-26), and the apostles later followed His example (Acts 8:25).

WWW.GOTQUESTIONS.ORG

Who were the Samaritans? What is a Samaritan? Why did the Jews hate the Samaritans? What did the Samaritans believe?

 

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1 hour ago, Origen said:

 

To be honest I fail to understand your point concerning Acts 11:18.  I see don't how or why the Samaritans would not be considered Gentiles from that passage.

 Hi Origin,

 

 It seems to me based on Acts 11:18 by their reaction it was portrayed by Luke it was news of the first time "the Gentiles" in his book received the gospel thereby eliminating the view that the Samaritans were considered to be Gentiles in their reception of the gospel years earlier as recorded in Acts 8.

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1 hour ago, Faber said:

 Hi Origin,

 

 It seems to me based on Acts 11:18 by their reaction it was portrayed by Luke it was news of the first time "the Gentiles" in his book received the gospel thereby eliminating the view that the Samaritans were considered to be Gentiles in their reception of the gospel years earlier as recorded in Acts 8.

Okay, thanks, I see what you mean.

 

In Acts 11:3 it is only those of the "circumcision party [who] criticized him," and it is to them he answered.  Could be they were unaware of the Samaritan mission?  That is at least a possibility.  Or perhaps verse 18 (i.e. “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”) is meant to be taken as further conformation that God has granted the Gentile repentance.  In other words, the verse does not necessarily imply it was the first time.  There is also a third possibility.  Again it was the "circumcision party" that had the problem with the Gentile, namely they were uncircumcised.  Samaritans like Jews were circumcised on the eighth day.

 

Just some thought on the subject.

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I do wonder what was more of a surprise for the early believers to be made aware of:

a. The conversion of Paul (who used to murder Christians cf. Acts 22:4)

or

b. The conversion of the Gentiles.

 

 I think both must have really caused the Christians at that time to stand in awe of the power of the Lord and to what He was doing and the way He was doing it.

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I don't know if this might help. There are currently 700 or so Samaritans living in a small community in the West Bank, plus a few more in Israel proper. The official position of the Israeli State is to classify them as Jews, and the Orthodox Rabbinate does not object to this classification. Their rights as a religious minority are protected under Israeli law.

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Here's something about the Shomronim here:  http://muqata.blogspot.com/2005/09/shomronim-brief-glimpse-on-har-greizim.html, here

WWW.JEWISHMAG.CO.IL

 and ( a little more fully) here: 

WWW.ISRAELITE-SAMARITANS.COM

Israelite Samaritan religion compared and contrasted with Jewish traditions, the Four Tenets, origins, persecution, pentateuch, Mount Gerizim
Read more  

 

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17 minutes ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

It should be noted that the State of Israel regards Samaritans as Jews for secular purposes. If one were to be found living outside Israel or the West Bank (highly unlikely), he would have the right to emigrate to Israel under the Right of Return. Although the Orthodox Rabbinate does not oppose THAT, I have no idea HOW they feel about intermarriage between Jews and Samaritans. That may be a rocky issue according to Jewish Halacha (Jewish Law).

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30 minutes ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

Here's something about the Shomronim here:  http://muqata.blogspot.com/2005/09/shomronim-brief-glimpse-on-har-greizim.html, here

WWW.JEWISHMAG.CO.IL

 and ( a little more fully) here: 

WWW.ISRAELITE-SAMARITANS.COM

Israelite Samaritan religion compared and contrasted with Jewish traditions, the Four Tenets, origins, persecution, pentateuch, Mount Gerizim
Read more  

 

It seems that the Samaritans aren't Jews or gentiles, but Israelites ( or people who have constructed a religion around the ancient Israelite model).

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I don't entirely know the history of the Samaritan People. I do know that the Ten Tribes were dispersed by the Assyrians, who then permitted Assyrians to take their place. Those Assyrians intermarried with the few members of the Ten Tribes still living in the region. Their descendants are the current Samaritan People. Their religion does indeed appear to be one modelled after the Ancient Israelite Faith, as they still engage in animal sacrifice and the like on Mount Gerizim. They claim that their religion is more correct than that of the Jews, and that the Temple SHOULD be on Gerizim rather than Jerusalem. As Christians, from a theological and religious perspective it is rather irrelevant what EITHER the Jews OR the Samaritans claim, as WE are the New Israel, if you will. Nevertheless, it IS interesting from a sociological standpoint, of course.

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9 minutes ago, Diego said:

I don't entirely know the history of the Samaritan People. I do know that the Ten Tribes were dispersed by the Assyrians, who then permitted Assyrians to take their place. Those Assyrians intermarried with the few members of the Ten Tribes still living in the region. Their descendants are the current Samaritan People. Their religion does indeed appear to be one modelled after the Ancient Israelite Faith, as they still engage in animal sacrifice and the like on Mount Gerizim. They claim that their religion is more correct than that of the Jews, and that the Temple SHOULD be on Gerizim rather than Jerusalem. As Christians, from a theological and religious perspective it is rather irrelevant what EITHER the Jews OR the Samaritans claim, as WE are the New Israel, if you will. Nevertheless, it IS interesting from a sociological standpoint, of course.

I tend to concur. We are the ones Chosen of God, but for a history nerd like me, I find the histories of Israel's ethno- religious minorities fascinating.

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1 hour ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

It seems that the Samaritans aren't Jews or gentiles, but Israelites ( or people who have constructed a religion around the ancient Israelite model).

The woman at the well was a Samaritan. I believe they were then and now considered Gentiles and were one of if not the first Gentiles to receive the NT message by Jesus Himself. They were disadvantaged by contrast to the Jews as they didn't have the completed OT but limited themselves to the first Five Books of Moses. They were the first of the Gentiles to receive the Gospel. Jesus likens them to the fields which are white for harvest, that is, they were at that time "able" to receive the Gospel directly by Him and then under His commission to receive those that were sent to go out to the Gentile world. The Samaritans were the first sign that Jesus' time was at hand and that the Father was bringing His Elect to His Son by the Holy Spirit as the Samaritans flocked to Him. The whole conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman reveals the divine works of the Trinity in bringing His people (no longer Jew or Gentile) to Salvation. And this event follows John chapter 3 where Jesus announces God's divine plan to bring salvation to the entire world (not only Jews).

 

In John 4:9 the Samaritan woman seemingly distinguishes herself and peoples from the Jews:

 

The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

 

And they received Jesus' message:

 

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

 

Here's some historical context:

 

The Samaritan Pentateuch are the five books of Moses (Pentateuch) which the Samaritans took over from the Jews when they gained their independence in the 4th century B.C.

Following this, the Samaritans separated themselves and restricted their canon to the first five books of Moses using their own alphabet. In this way the manuscripts they handed down remained independent of the history which led to the massoretic text which is a matter of great interest for textual criticism. A manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch was found at Damascus in 1616. It is a popular copy of the original text and contains some 6000 variants.

It is not impossible that the Samaritan Pentateuch came into the hands of the Samaritans as an inheritance from the ten tribes whom they succeeded. However, it is much more probable to conclude that it was introduced by Manasseh (Josephus Ant. 11.8. 2, 4) at the time of the foundation of the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerazim.

The Samaritans rejected all the Old Testament except the Pentateuch, and they claimed to have an older copy than the Jews and that they observe the precepts better.

Scholars have often wondered about the value of the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch for any critical study. The MSS from Khirbet Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) have now solved the problem. The variant readings in the text, the forms of its script, and the orthography in the text all date the Samaritan Pentateuch not earlier than the second generation of the Maccabees.

 

Source:

https://www.bible-history.com/Samaritans/SAMARITANSThe_Samaritan_Pentateuch.htm

 

God bless,

William

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1 hour ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

I tend to concur. We are the ones Chosen of God, but for a history nerd like me, I find the histories of Israel's ethno- religious minorities fascinating.

I totally agree. I also am a history nerd (I have a Master's Degree in the subject. If that is not a history nerd, then what is?), so I likewise find the ethno-religious groups of the Middle East who are not Jewish, Muslim, or Christian to be inherently fascinating just by definition of the fact that they have survived the State Religions of the centuries, be it Judaism as a State Faith, Islam as such, or Christianity under the Roman Imperial State.

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1 hour ago, William said:

The woman at the well was a Samaritan. I believe they were then and now considered Gentiles and were one of if not the first Gentiles to receive the NT message by Jesus Himself. They were disadvantaged by contrast to the Jews as they didn't have the completed OT but limited themselves to the first Five Books of Moses. They were the first of the Gentiles to receive the Gospel. Jesus likens them to the fields which are white for harvest, that is, they were at that time "able" to receive the Gospel directly by Him and then under His commission to receive those that were sent to go out to the Gentile world. The Samaritans were the first sign that Jesus' time was at hand and that the Father was bringing His Elect to His Son by the Holy Spirit as the Samaritans flocked to Him. The whole conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman reveals the divine works of the Trinity in bringing His people (no longer Jew or Gentile) to Salvation. And this event follows John chapter 3 where Jesus announces God's divine plan to bring salvation to the entire world (not only Jews).

 

In John 4:9 the Samaritan woman seemingly distinguishes herself and peoples from the Jews:

 

The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

 

And they received Jesus' message:

 

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

 

Here's some historical context:

 

The Samaritan Pentateuch are the five books of Moses (Pentateuch) which the Samaritans took over from the Jews when they gained their independence in the 4th century B.C.

Following this, the Samaritans separated themselves and restricted their canon to the first five books of Moses using their own alphabet. In this way the manuscripts they handed down remained independent of the history which led to the massoretic text which is a matter of great interest for textual criticism. A manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch was found at Damascus in 1616. It is a popular copy of the original text and contains some 6000 variants.

It is not impossible that the Samaritan Pentateuch came into the hands of the Samaritans as an inheritance from the ten tribes whom they succeeded. However, it is much more probable to conclude that it was introduced by Manasseh (Josephus Ant. 11.8. 2, 4) at the time of the foundation of the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerazim.

The Samaritans rejected all the Old Testament except the Pentateuch, and they claimed to have an older copy than the Jews and that they observe the precepts better.

Scholars have often wondered about the value of the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch for any critical study. The MSS from Khirbet Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) have now solved the problem. The variant readings in the text, the forms of its script, and the orthography in the text all date the Samaritan Pentateuch not earlier than the second generation of the Maccabees.

 

Source:

https://www.bible-history.com/Samaritans/SAMARITANSThe_Samaritan_Pentateuch.htm

 

God bless,

William

I am not sure how they were classified at the time. I know the Jews and the Samaritans during the time of Jesus despised each other, and would have preferred that the other one not exist. However, today, the State of Israel DOES recognize them as Jews, at least for the purpose of being citizens of the State of Israel, and not being classified as something else (everyone in Israel is classified as SOMETHING, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or anything else, since they have to know who is getting married under what religious code, and who is entitled to the Right of Return. There is no secular marriage in Israel). As to how they are treated in terms of intermarrying with Jews, I am not sure what the Rabbinate would do, although the State would be fine with it. I am not sure the situation has ever come up, to be honest. The Samaritans are a very insular group, and I don't think a Jew and a Samaritan have every TRIED to marry one another in modern Israeli history.

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1 hour ago, Diego said:

I am not sure how they were classified at the time. I know the Jews and the Samaritans during the time of Jesus despised each other, and would have preferred that the other one not exist.

As @Fabersuggested, I too am only aware of two groups in Scripture, Jew and Gentile. One or the other, and the Samaritan woman distinguished her people from the Jews.

What constituted a Jew back then? How could one "become" a Jew? And what is a Jew today?

 

When I survey the modern nation of Israel I see citizens of national Israel that are of every ethnicity. I would think that just because one is a national Israeli citizen doesn't necessarily make them a Jew. Likewise, if a Jew is something other than ethnicity but refers to religious ideology or faith, then I can understand why true Israel (Spiritual) today consists of neither Jews or Gentiles.

 

God bless,

William

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I notice with interest in the Scriptures how much more receptive to the Gospel the Samaritans generally are than the Jews to whom Jesus was sent to preach to. Let me give a few Bible verses to show how this can be: John 4:1-42, Luke 17:15-18, Acts 8:4-8.

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