The Feasts of the Jews

Most of Jesus’ disciples were from Galilee, so when they make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the three annual feast, they needed to pass or bypass the region inhabited by the Samaritans. But the Samaritans practised a religion very similar to the Jews. From an outsider, the two practices may look similar, but on closer examination, they were very different.

There were numerous times when John wrote about the feasts of the Jews (Passover John 2:13, 6:4, 11:55; Feast 5:1; Tabernacle 7:2), he simply did so because he didn’t want to confuse his readers with the feasts of the Samaritans, whose dates and manners of worship were interpreted differently.

The Jews considered the Samaritans as “Cutheans” brought from other parts of Babylon in place of the Ten Lost Tribes who had been exiled by King Shalmaneser of Assyria around the year 721 BC. Out of fear of the lions, the new settlers converted to Judaism, but they reinterpreted the Torah differently, considered Mount Gerizim as the sacred mountain where they lived instead of Jerusalem. Hence the Jews considered the Samaritans as heretics and were an anathema to the Jewish people in the centuries that followed.

John, writing to whoever he had in mind at the time, seemed to be making a point that he was describing the feasts of the Jews and not that of the Samaritans where the people surrounding the regions would be well aware off.

~ by Joel Huan on June 2, 2019.

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