Sects During Biblical Times — Samaritans (Ia)

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them”- Matt. 18:20

Sects During Biblical Times – Draft Ia

See the source imageQuestion: “Who were the Samaritans?”

A summary of some commentators:

Rashi (1040 – 1105) — Shlomo Yitzchaki, today generally known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: רש״י, RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki), was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh. Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion.

Adam Clarke (1761– 1832) — was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar. He was born in the townland of Moybeg Kirley near Tobermore in Northern Ireland. He is chiefly remembered for writing a commentary on the Bible which took him 40 years to complete and which was a primary Methodist theological resource for two centuries.

John Gill (1697 – 1771) — was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.

The Exiles by the Assyrians

During Hoshea’s wicked reign, 2 Kings 17:1, 2 Kings 17:2. Shalmaneser comes up against him, makes him tributary, and then casts him into prison, 2 Kings 17:3, 2 Kings 17:4. He besieges Samaria three years; and at last takes it, and carries Israel captive into Assyria, and places them in different cities of the Assyrians and Medes, 2 Kings 17:5, 2 Kings 17:6. The reason why Israel was thus afflicted; their idolatry, obstinacy, divination, etc., 2 Kings 17:7-18. Judah copies the misconduct of Israel, 2 Kings 17:19. The Lord rejects all the seed of Israel, 2 Kings 17:20-23. The king of Assyria brings different nations and places them in Samaria, and the cities from which the Israelites had been led away into captivity, 2 Kings 17:24. Many of these strange people are destroyed by lions, 2 Kings 17:25. The king of Assyria sends back some of the Israelitish priests to teach these nations the worship of Jehovah; which worship they incorporate with their own idolatry, 2 Kings 17:26-33. The state of the Israelites, and strange nations in the land of Israel, 2 Kings 17:34-41.

2 Kings 17:

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years.

Rashi: Chron. I (5:26): “The God of Israel aroused Pul the king of Assyria… and he exiled the Reubenites and the Gadites…” And he did not explain at what time. Here he explains that it was in the twelfth year of Ahaz. The ten tribes were exiled at three different times (lit. three exiles were the ten tribes exiled): (1) in the twentieth year of Pekah, as it is written above, (15:29)… “Tiglath Pileser the king of Assyria came and took Ijon and Dan… and the entire land of Naphtali (sic) and exiled them to Assyria.” Now this was the fourth year of Ahaz. (2) He waited eight years and came upon them in the twelfth year of Ahaz, and exiled the Reubenites and the Gadites. When Hoshea the son of Elah saw this, he revolted against him and sent messengers to So the king of Egypt. (3) He waited eight years and came and laid siege to Samaria. After three years it was captured, and everyone was exiled. This is the meaning of that which is written (Is. 8:23): “Like the first time, he dealt mildly, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.” [I.e., just as the king of Assyria dealt mildly with Israel in the first exile by exiling only Zebulun and Naphtali,] so did he deal mildly also in the second exile, for he exiled but two tribes. But “in the last one, he swept (Heb. ‘hichbid’)”. He swept everything out like one who sweeps a house. In any case, according to the figures he wrote here as the number of years of his revolt, [i.e.,] nine years, he did not revolt against him until the fourteenth year of Ahaz, for Ahaz reigned sixteen years; the revolt was three years of Ahaz and six years in the days of Hezekiah.

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel who were before him.

Rashi: though not like the kings of Israel: for he abolished the sentries who were stationed since the days of Jeroboam, on the roads, to guard lest the Israelites perform the pilgrimage for the festivals, and this one abolished them, for the golden calves had already been exiled in the two exiles. In the first exile “he took Ijon and Dan.” He exiled the calf that was in Dan. And in the second, when Reuben and Gad were exiled, he took the calf that was in Bethel, to fulfill what was stated (Hosea 10:6), “That too, to Assyria will be transported.” Since the sentries were abolished, and they (the Israelites) refrained from performing the pilgrimage, therefore, their verdict was sealed to be exiled in his days, for until now, they had blamed the corruption on their kings, but now they had no one to blame. This is what Hosea the son of Beeri said (Hosea 5:3), “For now you have gone astray, Ephraim; Israel has become defiled.” Now your evil has been revealed.

Gill: And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. He did not worship Baal, as some of them had done; and he could not worship the calves.

See the source image3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and rendered him tribute.
4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison.

Clarke: Found conspiracy to Hoshea – He had endeavored to shake off the Assyrian yoke, by entering into a treaty with So, King of Egypt; and having done so, he ceased to send the annual tribute to Assyria.

Gill: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison; that is, after he took Samaria, the siege of which is next related; unless it can be thought that he met with him somewhere out of the capital, and seized him, and made him his prisoner, and after that besieged his city; which is not so likely.

5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. — But Medes is in Persia!

Clarke: Thus ended the kingdom of Israel, after it had lasted two hundred and fifty-four years, from the death of Solomon and the schism of Jeroboam, till the taking of Samaria by Shalmaneser, in the ninth year of Hoshea; after which the remains of the ten tribes were carried away beyond the river Euphrates.
— Could the United States last 264 years too (1776 + 254 = 2030?)

Gill: and in the cities of the Medes. It appears from hence that the kingdom of Media was now subject to the king of Assyria:

7 For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods.
8 And they walked in the statutes of the heathen whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built themselves high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city.

Rashi: from watchtower: which is made only to station a lookout to watch. In every high house they erected idols.

Clarke: Did secretly those things – There was much hidden iniquity and private idolatry among them, as well as public and notorious crimes.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city – That is, the idolatry was universal; every place was made a place for some idolatrous rite or act of worship; from the largest city to the smallest village, and from the public watchtower to the shepherd’s cot.

Trap: And the children of Israel did secretly Heb., They hid, or covered, or cloaked over what they did, {see Ezekiel 8:12} but all in vain; for God is all eye, and to him dark things appear, dumb things answer, silence itself maketh confession, as an ancient speaketh.

See the source image10 And they set up for themselves images and Asherah poles in every high hill and under every green tree;
11 and there they burned incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them, and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger.
12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, “Ye shall not do this thing.”
13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah by all the prophets and by all the seers, saying, “Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.”

Clarke: Yet the Lord testified against Israel – What rendered their conduct the more inexcusable was, that the Lord had preserved among them a succession of prophets, who testified against their conduct, and preached repentance to them, and the readiness of God to forgive, provided they would return unto him, and give up their idolatries.

14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks like the neck of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God.

Gill: but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God: as Terah and Nahor, who were idolaters; or rather, their fathers in the wilderness, that made and served the calf, and those that rebelled against Moses and Aaron; it is a metaphor taken from oxen, that will not submit their necks to the yoke, but draw back from it, or cast it off, see Acts 7:51.

15 And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the heathen who were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them that they should not do like them.
16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God and made them molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah pole, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.

Gill: and worshipped all the host of heaven: not the angels, sometimes so called, but, besides the sun and moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus:

17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger.

Gill: And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire,…. To Baal or Moloch, which were the same, and represented the sun, which, as the above writer observes, presides in the element of fire; this was done either by way of lustration, or so as to be burnt, see 2 Kings 16:3.

18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

Rashi: and He sent them away from before Him: for they were exiled with Hoshea the son of Elah.

Clarke: Removed them out of his sight – Banished them from the promised land, from the temple, and from every ordinance of righteousness, as wholly unworthy of any kind of good.

None left but the tribe of Judah only – Under this name all those of Benjamin and Levi, and the Israelites, who abandoned their idolatries and joined with Judah, are comprised. It was the ten tribes that were carried away by the Assyrians.

Gill: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only; and part of Benjamin, which was annexed to it, and incorporated in it, and made one kingdom, and maintained the same worship; and there was the lot of Simeon, which was within the tribe of Judah; and the priests and the Levites, and various individuals of the several tribes, that came and settled among them for the sake of worship; but no perfect, distinct, tribe besides.

See the source image19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
20 And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of despoilers until He had cast them out of His sight.

Gill: And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel,…. The ten tribes, with loathing and contempt, and wrote a “loammi” on them, rejected them from being his people, gave them a bill of divorce, and declared them no more under his care and patronage:

21 For He rent Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin.

Gill: and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king; of themselves, without consulting the Lord and his prophets; and which was resented by him, though it was his will, and he had foretold it, that Jeroboam should be king, see Hosea 8:4.

22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them,
23 until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

Gill: so was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria, unto this day; the time of the writing this book; nor have they returned unto our days, nearly 2,800 years later.

24 And 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.

Clarke: By men from Babylon, we may understand some cities of Babylonia then under the Assyrian empire; for at this time Babylon had a king of its own; but some parts of what was called Babylonia might have been still under the Assyrian government.

Gill: And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon,…. Which was at this time under the dominion of the king of Assyria;
and from Cuthah; which, according to Josephus, was a city in Persia, where was a river of the same name; but it was rather a place in Erech, in the country of Babylon; see Gill on Genesis 10:10,

The Background: The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh and the other Lost Tribes. 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).

Comment: Hence the Talmudists correctly assert that the Samaritans are “Cutheans.” — from a region within the land of Babylon!

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.

Rashi: they did not fear the Lord: Even though the pagan nations fear him and call him the God of the gods, in the manner it is written (Malachi 1:14), “and My Name is feared among the nations,” these did not fear Me, for they said, “If He were worthy of fear, He would not have delivered His people into exile.”

Gill: therefore the Lord sent lions among them; even into their cities, into which lions sometimes came,See the source image especially when old, out of the thickets of Jordan and other places where they haunted, see Jeremiah 49:19.
which slew some of them; this the Lord did to assert his sovereignty, authority, and mighty power, and to let them know that he could as easily clear the land of them, as they, by his permission, had cleared the land of the Israelites, Josephus calls this a plague that was sent among them.

26 Therefore they spoke 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.”

Gill: and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land; taking Jehovah the God of Israel to be a topical deity, limited peculiarly to the land of Israel, whereas he was the God of the whole earth; a like notion obtained among the Syrians, see 1 Kings 20:28 now they say they know not his “manner” or “judgment”, the laws, statutes, ordinances, and judgments, according to which he was worshipped by the people of Israel:
therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them; they perceived it was not a common case, nor could they impute it to any second cause, as want of food with the lions, &c. but the hand of a superior Being was in it: and they could think of no other reason, but
because they know not the manner of the God of the land; how he was to be worshipped; and because they did not worship him, and knew not how to do it, it was resented in this manner by him.

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.”

Gill: and let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land; it is in the plural number, “let them go”, &c. there might be more priests than one ordered, or, however, others, to attend and assist him in his work; the Jews say, two were sent to circumcise them, and teach them the book of the law; and they give their names, Dosthai, or Dosithaeus, and Zachariah; and Josephus says, the people desired that priests might be sent to them of the captives.

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.

Gill: Then one of the priests whom, they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel,…. According to an Arabic writer, his name was Uzziah; but Epiphaniu says his name was Esdras; but he wrongly makes him to be sent by Nebuchadnezzar, thirty years after the captivity of the Jews in Babylon: this priest was, doubtless, one of the priests of the calves; for there were none else in the kingdom of Israel carried captive, and as seems also by his choosing to dwell in Bethel, where probably he formerly dwelt, and officiated in the service of the calf there, and by teaching to make priests of the lowest order of the people, as Jeroboam’s priests were, 2 Kings 17:32.

29 However 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.

Clarke: Every nation made gods of their own – That is, they made gods after the fashion of those which they had worshipped in their own country.

See the source image30 And the men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
31 and the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32 So they feared the Lord, and made unto themselves from the lowest of them priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

Clarke: Of the lowest of them priests – One priest was not enough for this motley population; and, as the priesthood was probably neither respectable nor lucrative, it was only the lowest of the people who would enter into the employment.

33 They feared the Lord, but served their own gods, after the manner of the nations who carried them away from thence.

Clarke: They feared the Lord, but served their own gods – They did not relinquish their own idolatry but incorporated the worship of the true God with that of their idols. They were afraid of Jehovah, who had sent lions among them; and therefore they offered him a sort of worship that he might not thus afflict them: but they served other gods, devoted themselves affectionately to them, because their worship was such as gratified their grossest passions, and most sinful propensities.

34 Unto this day they do according to the former manner. They fear not the Lord, neither do they according to their statutes or according to their ordinances or the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel,

Rashi: they do not fear the Lord: a complete fear as the custom of the Israelites. Even though they were converted because of the fear of the lions, their fear of the Lord was not a complete fear, (like Jewish practice) as Scripture goes on to elaborate, that they were not engaged in the Torah and the commandments which He (or, which the Lord) commanded the sons of Jacob, neither do they practice according to their statutes and according to their law, which they are duty bound to practice since they converted, but as the priest who was of the people of Samaria, who were idolatrous, instructed them.

35 with whom the Lord had made a covenant and charged them, saying, “Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them;

Rashi: And the Lord enacted a covenant with them: when He gave them the Torah on Mt. Sinai.

See the source image36 but the Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, Him shall ye fear and Him shall ye worship, and to Him shall ye do sacrifice.
37 And the statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget, neither shall ye fear other gods.
39 But the Lord your God ye shall fear, and He shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.”
40 However they did not hearken, but they did according to their former manner.
41 So these nations feared the Lord, and also served their graven images, both their children and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

Gill: So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images,…. Just in like manner as the Israelites had done, who served the Lord and the calves, and worshipped God and Baal:
both their children, and their children’s children; that is, the children and children’s children of the Samaritans:
as did their fathers, so do they unto this day; to the writing of this book, which some ascribe to Jeremiah, to whose times, and even longer, they continued this mixed and mongrel worship, for the space of three hundred years, to the times of Alexander the great, of whom Sanballat, governor of Samaria, got leave to build a temple, on Gerizim, for his son-in-law Manasseh, of which he became priest; and the Samaritans were prevailed upon to relinquish their idolatry, and to worship only the God of Israel; and yet it seems but ignorantly, and not without superstition, to the times of Christ, John 4:22.


~ by Joel Huan on August 20, 2019.

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