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56. Assyrians Occupy Samaria [722 BCE]
5 Then (in 724 BCE) the king of Assyria invaded all the land [of Israel] and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria...
24 And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon and Kuthah* and Avva and Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.
25 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.
26 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..."
28 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.
29 But every nation still made gods of its own and placed them in the shrines of the high places which the Samaritans had made...
32 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.
33 So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from which they were deported.
34 And to this day they do according to the preceding manner.
  --- Hebrew Bible, 2 Kings 17:5-6, 24-34
* Note: "Kuthah," 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 Samaria Kuthim.

57. Why Jews Exclude Samaritans
7 Why are Samaritans [kuthim] excluded from entering Israel?
--Because they were mixed up with the priests of the high places.
Rabbi Ishmael said:
"They were righteous proselytes in the beginning."
Why are they excluded?
--Because they marry illegitimate women but not a brother's widow.
When will they be accepted?
--When they deny Mount Gerizim and confess Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead. After this, he who robs a Samaritan is like one who robs an Israelite.
  --- Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Kuthim 2.7

58. Samaritan Temple
340 Having arranged matters in Jerusalem (in 333 BCE) Alexander (the Great) marched into nearby cities, and all (Jews) to whom he 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...
342 So, while he was still very near Jerusalem, they presented themselves to the king with a splendid display...
343 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.
344 ...he again asked if they were Jews. And they said that they were not...
346 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.
  --- Josephus, Antiquities 11.340-346

59. Temple Rivalry
74 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 Philometer). The Jews said the one in Jerusalem was built according to laws of Moses and the Samaritans, the one on Gerizim.
75 And they called on the king in session with his comrades to hear their arguments about this and to put the losers to death...
77 Now the Jews who happened to be in Alexandria were in great anxiety... For they took it hard that anyone might destroy (their shrine)....
79 (But) Andronicus persuaded the king to judge that the temple in Jerusalem had been built according to laws of Moses and to execute (their Samaritan opponents).
  --- Josephus, Antiquities 13.74, 77-79
* 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. 

Judeans destroy Samaritan Temple

60. Samaritans Desecrate Judean Temple
29 Now (about 9 CE) when Judea was administered by Coponius, who was sent out by Quirinius [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.
30 And then, when their opening first occurred, Samaritan men coming into Jerusalem 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.
  --- Josephus, Antiquities 18.29-30

  Galilean & Samaritan bandit raids

61. Murdered Galilean Avenged
232 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 [in Jerusalem].
233 Thus, many from Galilee gathered to make war on the Samaritans.
234 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.
235 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 their villages.
236 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.
237 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 one Galilean.
  --- Josephus, Jewish War 2.232-237

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