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Who are the…
Samaritans

Sarmaritan is the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon (B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into captivity (2 Kings 17:24; compare Ezra 4:2, 9, 10)

These strangers (compare Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old idolatry and partly adopted the Jewish religion.

After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them.

They erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however, destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another at Shechem.

In biblical times there were perhaps a million Samaritans, but this number has greatly diminshed through the centuries. There were reportedly as few as 100 in 1786. As recently as 2018, there were about 800. —reference: The Samaritan Update, April 2019

The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had “no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9; compare Luke 9:52, 53).

In contempt, some called our Lord “a Samaritan” (John 8:48).

Followers of Christ

Many of the Samaritans were early embracers of the Gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25; 9:31; 15:3) through the truth lovingly taught to them by the Apostles and other disciples of Christ.

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Article Version: June 5, 2019