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Assyrians Occupy Samaria [722
||Then (in 724 BCE) the king of
invaded all the land [of Israel] and came to Samaria,
and for three years he besieged it.
||In the ninth year of Hoshea, the
king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites
away to Assyria...
||And the king of Assyria brought
people from Babylon and Kuthah* and Avva and Hamath and
settled them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of
Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its
||At the beginning of their
possession there they did not fear the LORD; therefore the
LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.
||So the king of Assyria was told:
"The nations which have deported and placed in the cities
of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land..."
||So one of the priests whom they
had carried away from Samaria came and he dwelt in Bethel and
taught them how to fear the LORD.
||But every nation still made gods
of its own and placed them in the shrines of the high places
which the Samaritans had made...
||They also feared the LORD and
from among themselves they appointed all sorts of people as
priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the
shrines of the high places.
||So they feared the LORD but also
served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from
which they were deported.
||And to this day they do
according to the preceding manner.
||--- Hebrew Bible, 2 Kings 17:5-6, 24-34
Babylonian Kutu, a city in southern Mesopotamia a few
miles NE of Babylon, which joined the latter in seeking to
gain independence from Assyrian domination in the unstable
early years of Sargon II's reign (721-705 BCE).
His forced relocation of inhabitants of these cities to Samaria, which
had recently been conquered & partially depopulated by his
predecessor, Shalmaneser V (726-721 BCE),
was designed to prevent further Babylonian insurrections. The same strategy
probably motivated Sargon's deportations of populations from
the other three cities to Israelite territory. Hamath
was the capital of an ancient Syrian kingdom on the Orontes
river, north of Damascus which also had declared its
independence from Assyria when Shalmaneser died. The exact
identity of the other two cities is uncertain. "Sepharvaim"
may be Sippar, a city just north of Kutu [Kuthah]
in Babylonia, while "Avva" may be Arpad, an
ally of Hamath in Syria. Of these five, only the
settlers from Kutu made a lasting impression on
Judeans, who thereafter insisted on calling all inhabitants of
Why Jews Exclude
||Why are Samaritans [kuthim]
excluded from entering Israel?
--Because they were mixed up with the priests of the high
Rabbi Ishmael said:
"They were righteous proselytes in the beginning."
Why are they excluded?
--Because they marry illegitimate women but not a brother's
When will they be accepted?
--When they deny Mount Gerizim and confess
and the resurrection of the dead. After this, he who robs a
Samaritan is like one who robs an Israelite.
Talmud (supplement), Kuthim
||Having arranged matters in
Jerusalem (in 333 BCE)
Alexander (the Great)
marched into nearby cities, and all (Jews) to whom presented himself,
received him with a friendly mind. At that time the Samaritans
had their capital at Shechem,
which lies beside Mount Gerizim and is
inhabited by apostates from the Jewish
people. When these saw that Alexander had so clearly honored
the Jews, they thought to claim that they were Jews...
he was still very near Jerusalem,
they presented themselves to the king with a splendid
||And when Alexander
encouraged them, the Shechemites came to him...calling upon
him to come to their city and honor their temple also. And he
promised to submit to their request when he came back again. But
when they begged him to forgive their tribute every seventh
year, because they did not sow during it, he asked who they were
to ask these things. And when they said
they were Hebrews.
||...he again asked if
they were Jews. And they said that they were not...
||Now when Alexander
died, his realm was divided among his twelve generals. And the
[Samaritan] temple remained on Mount Gerizim. But if anyone
was charged by Jerusalemites with eating unclean things, or
with violating the Sabbath or some other such sin, he fled to
the Shechemites, saying he had been unjustly banished.
||Now [about 180 BCE] in Alexandria
[Egypt] the Jews and the Samaritans -- who worshipped on Mount
Gerizim at the temple built under Alexander* -- happened to
quarrel with each other. And they debated about (their)
temples before Ptolemy (VI
Jews said the one in Jerusalem
was built according to laws of Moses and the Samaritans, the
one on Gerizim.
||And they called on
the king in session with his comrades to hear their arguments
about this and to put the losers to death...
||Now the Jews who
happened to be in Alexandria were in great anxiety... For they
took it hard that anyone might destroy (their shrine)....
persuaded the king to judge that the temple in Jerusalem had
been built according to laws of Moses and to execute (their
||Note: "built under
Alexander." The preceding pericope [Antiquities 11.343]
presupposes that there was already a temple on Mt. Gerizim
when Alexander arrived in Jerusalem. Any construction under
Alexander was probably in the order of renovations.
Desecrate Judean Temple
||Now (about 9 CE) when Judea was
administered by Coponius, who was sent out by
[the Roman governor of Syria]...these things occurred: During
the celebration of the feast of Unleavened Bread, which we
call Passover, in a custom of the priests the
gates of the temple [in Jerusalem] were opened after midnight.
||And then, when their
opening first occurred, Samaritan men coming
in secret, began to scatter human bones in
the porticoes and throughout the temple. (So, the priests),
who were not accustomed to such things before, managed the
temple with greater care.
||Next (about 50 CE) came a
conflict of Galileans and Samaritans. For at a village called
Gema, which lies in the great plain of Samaria, a certain
Galilean was murdered, one of many Jews going up to the feast
||Thus, many from Galilee
gathered to make war on the Samaritans.
||And when the unfortunate murder
was announced in Jerusalem, the masses were agitated. And,
abandoning the feast, they set out to fight with the
Samaritans. They lacked a general and heeded none of the
rulers, who held back.
||A certain Eleazar ben Deinai and
Alexander incited the bandits and partisans
among them to attack those [Samaritans south of Shechem]
on the borders of the toparchy Acrabatene. And they massacred
them, sparing no one regardless of age, and burned
||But [the Roman procurator] Cumanus
set out from Caesarea,
taking one troop of cavalry called the
"Augustans". And he arrested many of those around
Eleazar and killed more.
||But when the rest of the
(Judean) masses rushed to fight the
Samaritans, the rulers of Jerusalem ran out, wearing
sack-cloth and pouring ashes on their heads. And they begged
them to return and not to anger the Romans against Jerusalem
by revenge on the Samaritans. (They urged them) to have mercy
on their country and temple, their own children and wives, who
all were at risk of being destroyed, on account of revenge for