Q. Are you able to shed any light on this matter? It pertains to Matthew 10:5 where Jesus told His disciples not to go among the Samaritans in their missionary journey. On a Christian FB site we are having a friendly discussion on going. One person is saying that it is not because the Samaritans were half breed but because they were idol worshipers. But all other studies I have done says they are half breed. Can you help me figure this out?
A. This is a case where everybody is correct according to the knowledge they have. When the Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom and took them from the land, they left some of the Israelites behind to tend to the harvests. Then they brought in captives from other lands they had conquered to resettle the cities and villages.
These people were idol worshipers and brought their idols with them. But the Lord sent lions among them to kill them. To counteract this, the Assyrians sent Israelite priests in an unsuccessful attempt to convert them to Judaism. This is all explained in 2 Kings 17.
Fast forward to the time of Alexander the Great. Many of the Jewish people of Samaria had married people of other races who had been resettled in the former northern kingdom and had children with them.
Sanballat, a Cutheam sent from Persia, had become King of Samaria. He knew Jerusalem was a great city and sought to form an alliance. He offered his daughter Nicaso to Manasseh, a brother of the Jewish High Priest Jaddus who was actually sharing the office with him.
The Jewish priesthood was upset by this violation of their traditions and demanded that Manasseh either step down or divorce his Samaritan wife.
Manasseh went to Sanballat to announce his attention to divorce Nicaso so he wouldn’t lose his place in line to become the next High Priest of Israel.
In response, Sanballat offered to make Manasseh the High Priest of Samaria and to build him a temple on Mt. Gerizim like the one in Jerusalem. He also made Mannaseh the governor of Samaria.
Mannaseh accepted his offer and stayed in Samaria. The Jews considered the Samaritan temple to be the headquarters of an apostate religion of a people who were not genetically pure and who permitted idol worshipers among them, and refused to have anything to do with them.
You won’t find this last part in the Bible because it happened in the time between the testaments, but can confirm it in the historical account of Josephus.