“The Good Samaritan Parable” – you’ve probably heard of it right? Jesus teaches about a man that was assaulted by robbers on the road and left for dead. The Priest passes and leaves him there and so does the Levite but it’s the Samaritan that saves his life (Luke 10, 25-37).
The Samaritans back then were the most despised group in the Jewish region as they claimed they were Jews but the Jews claimed they were not and did not accept them as so. This comes from the fact that following occupation of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, the Jewish population there is exiled to Assyria. Not all of them, naturally, but the significant leaders, scribes, wealthy and so forth.
The Assyrians then move people from other nations into these areas. They basically move groups of people around in their empire and this way they maintain power and disrupt potential uprisings. The population that was moved into what later will be known as the “Samaritan Region” were the Kutim as is mentioned in the following: “The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its towns.” (2 Kings, 17:24).
The Kutim, who were settled in what used to be part of Israel, will become over time known as the Samaritans. When the local Jewish population realizes that they do not know God, priests are sent to educate them and they are taught of the Jewish way of conduct and faith. Due to that, Jews back then, and still today, mostly do not accept the Samaritans as Jews.
Did you know they exist still today? A good friend invited me to come and see the Feast of Tabernacles at the Samaritan hub. So we did. While there are many similarities between Judaism and the Samaritan culture, religion and ceremonies, there are also very significant differences.
Most do not know that they still are very much in existence. However, Christians associate great significance to these people as Jesus actually taught them and they accepted him as mentioned )John 4:1-42). Jesus than uses the famous “Good Samaritan” parable
(Luke 10, 25-37) to teach good measures of conduct and behavior.
However, in the process he also compares the Priest (Cohen) and the Levite (Levi) with the Samaritan and finds their behavior and conduct somewhat wanting. This couldn’t have made him very popular with the highest Jewish class at the time, the Sadducees, who were made up from exactly those roles.
Fun fact: this parable is the source for the “Good Samaritan Law”. Do you know what that law was named in Israel? Those are your homework.
Enjoy the pics and come see it for yourselves one day… credits are due to Sharon Tal, Daniela Lamesh, Reut Aharon, Alon Harach and Osnat Nagar.