A Samaritan Story

Jero Jones


A Samaritan Story

Biblical history has been unkind to the Samaritans, who were ostracized, and hated by both Jews, and Christians as the biblical enemy of the Christian saviour.  Scholars are now saying that the Samaritans are the remnants of the original Israelites from the northern Kingdom of Israel.  The Samaritan Torah is less corrupt than the Jewish Torah, and the Samaritan Holy Temple on Mount Gerizim was the earliest biblical Holy of Holies.  Samaritans have endured centuries of hardship, not by a foreign enemy, but by their neighbours, the Judeans/Jews.  Who destroyed their holy site during a military campaign led by John Hyrcanus (134-104 BCE), the third of the Hasmonean priest kings of Judaea.  Mount Gerizim was destroyed in 112/111 BCE!  Not by an empire-building enemy, but by the Judean Priestly Class, under the leadership of the Hasmonean Priest king, John Hyrcanus (164-104 BCE) aka Yoḥanan Cohen Gadol (John the High Priest).  It was not destroyed in a war of attrition but out of sheer hatred by the Judean for the Torah loving Samaritans, who even today still revere Mount Gerizim as their sacred mount.  Byzantine Christians further desecrated the Samaritan Holy mount in the 5th and 6th-century CE by building a large church on the ruins and introducing the Christian Cross in its stone architecture.

History repeated itself in 70 CE, but this time it was the Judeans who were on the receiving end when the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. Then in 691/2 CE, the Muslims completed the building of The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque in 705 CE, both built on the Temple Mound.  

The Jews, in destroying the Samaritan Holy place, destroyed their very own Mosaic Law supposedly handed down by Moses.  A sacrilege that will go down in history as comparable to the 586 BCE destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, or even worse.  As, the history of Mount Gerizim is older than the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and is well documented as receiving the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament.

Today, the outside world looks upon Jerusalem as a Sacred City for three of the world’s major religions. Even though they are related through Abraham! With Judaism and Islam claiming the Temple Mount as their own. The so-called Holy of Holies! However, that was not the case in antiquity, as there was even an older holy site before King Solomon (d. 932 BCE) built his Temple at Jerusalem in 957 BCE.  

Before going on, I should mention that the first record of people called Israel was found on the Merneptah Stele as having a date of 1208 BCE. However, in 2012, Egyptologists Manfred Görg and Peter van der Veen with Biblical scholar Christoffer Theis, believe they have found an earlier reference to Israel on a broken statue pedestal containing hieroglyphic name-rings found in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. This earlier finding, put the Israel reference back 200 years to 1400 BCE. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/does-the-merneptah-stele-contain-the-first-mention-of-israel/

Evidence from the Old Testament on the reverence paid to Mount Gerizim.

29 When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. [Deuteronomy 11:29 New International Version]

12 When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. [Deuteronomy 27:12-13, New International Version]

33 All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel. [Joshua 8:33 New International Version]

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed-up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.” [Judges 9:7 New International Version]

The evidence for the Ark of the Covenant, aka Ark of God, being in Jerusalem or more correctly the City of David, can be found in 2 Samuel 6, and Psalms 132.  However, in 2 Samuel 6, the Ark is placed in a tent within the City of David.  Psalms 132 is similar to 2 Sam. 6, but just mentions an ark.  No temple is mentioned, or if it was carried by the Levite priests, only that it was on a cart!   While Mount Gerizim gives the blessing, and the curses as the Ark with a procession, and Levite priests carrying the Ark as Moses had dictated.

Even today in the state of Israel, the Samaritans are looked on as second class citizens, by Israelis.  When they actually should receive full recognition as the northern remnants of the original Israelites—the ancient brethren of the Jews.
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