13 Oct. 2 Kings 17:24-34

13 Oct.  Assyrians settle in Samaria

“The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Hamath and Sepharvaim and put them in the cities of Samaria to replace the Israelites. These people took over Samaria and lived in the cities.”

“At first they did not worship the LORD, so he sent lions among them which killed some of them. The king of Assyria was told, ‘You sent foreigners into the cities of Samaria who do not know the law of the god of the land. This is why he has sent lions among them. The lions are killing them because they don’t know what the god wants’”

“Then the king of Assyria commanded, ‘Send back one of the priests you took away. Let him live there and teach the people what the god wants.’ So one of the priests who had been carried away from Samaria returned to live in Bethel. And he taught the people how to honour the LORD.”

“But each nation made gods of its own and put them in the cities where they lived and in the temples where gods were worshipped. These temples had been built by the Samaritans.”

“The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth their god. The people from Cathah worshipped Nergal, The people from Hamath worshipped Ashima. The Avvites worshipped Nibhaz and Tartak. The Sepharvites burned their children in the fire, sacrificing them to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.”

“They also honoured the LORD, but they chose priests for the places where gods were worshipped. The priests were chosen from among themselves, and they made sacrifices for the people. The people honoured the LORD but also served their own gods, just as the nations did from which they had been brought.”

“Even today they do as they did in the past. They do not worship the LORD nor obey his rules and commands. They do not obey the teachings or the commands of the LORD, which he gave to the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel.”

          (2 Kings 17:24-34)



Following the fall of Samaria and the northern kingdom of Israel in 722BC, all Israelites who were unable to flee elsewhere were deported to Assyria. Settlers from other parts of the Assyrian Empire were brought in to replace them by King Sargon II. These people – who came to be known as ‘Samaritans’ - came from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Sepharvaim and Hamath.

Early on in the resettlement of Samaria, lions attacked and killed some of the new settlers, so one of the exiled priests of Israel was sent back to Bethel to inform the settlers how to ‘pacify’ the god of their new land. He taught the new residents of Samaria how to worship the LORD, the God of Israel, alongside their own gods.

In later generations (and in Jesus’s day), the Samaritans were hated by the Jews because of their mixed Jewish and Assyrian ancestry. Due to their mixture of Jewish and pagan religious practices, they were not considered to be Jews (see 2 Kings 17:33-34 & John 4:4-26).

As a result, the Samaritans built a ‘rival’ temple on Mount Gerizim - which they believed to be the site of the altar where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice (see Genesis 22:1-14) - but this was destroyed in 128 BC. This is the place of worship referred to by the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at Jacob’s Well (see John 4:20). Even today, local Samaritans still offer a lamb as a ritual sacrifice on the slopes of Mount Gerizim at Passover time.

The photo shows King Sargon II of Assyria (on the left) (on a panel in the British Museum).

You can see a map showing the relationship of Assyria to Israel and Judah @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/33-judah-after-the-fall-of-israel/assyrians-settle-in-samaria/

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