This is going to be a relatively short newsletter as I transition from my conversation, such as it was, with Mike Patrick back to writing my book - one chapter at a time. I'll probably stay on the book for a few issues and then get back to "mixin' it up" with some folks for a few issues - trying to have something for everyone.
Again, I will be in McKinney, TX, St. Gabriel parish, Monday night, Sept 14th; and then speaking at a fundraiser for Wichita Catholic radio on Saturday, Sept. 19th. If you're in either area, come on out!
Why did the Jews hate the Samaritans?
In order to understand why the Jews had such animosity towards the Samaritans, it's first necessary to understand who the Samaritans were.
When the Israelites left Egypt, there were 12 tribes - Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Issachar, Joseph, Judah, Levi, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulon. These 12 tribes were descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel) of the same names. You will usually see the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh listed among the 12 tribes in place of the tribes of Joseph and Levi, however. That's because Ephraim and Manasseh were sons of Joseph, and Levi is generally not listed as one of the 12 tribes because the tribe of Levi did not receive a separate tribal area when the Israelites came into the Promised Land. The Levites were the priests, so they were scattered throughout the various tribal areas.
Now, when Saul was crowned the first king of Israel, he ruled over all 12 tribes, as did David and Solomon after him. However, after Solomon died, there was a split in the kingdom. The 10 northern tribes - Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, and Zebulon formed the Kingdom of Israel, and their capital was the city of Samaria. The 2 other tribes - Judah and Benjamin - formed the Kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem.
It didn't take very long before the 10 northern tribes started worshipping false gods, and eventually, because they had turned away from God, the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians around 722 B.C. After the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel, one of the things they did was to have the Israelite tribes marry men and women from pagan tribes, which meant that from then on, the children of these 10 tribes were no longer full-blooded Israelites. Because of this, much of the tribal allegiance and identity was lost and the descendants of the marriages between the Israelite tribes and the pagan tribes came to be known as simply "Samaritans," because the city of Samaria had been their capital.
The Jews (the tribe of Judah) of Jesus' time considered the Samaritans to be no better than dogs because they felt the Samaritans had turned away from the religion of their fathers. To the Jews, the Samaritans were like traitors, and there is nothing so hated by a people as when one of their own betrays them. That's how the Jews looked at the Samaritans - as having betrayed God and as having betrayed their brother Israelites.
Also, there had been many wars between the two peoples. In fact, even before the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel, there had been wars between the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. After the Assyrian conquest, this hostility continued between the Jews and the Samaritans who went to war with each other on and off for hundreds of years.
All of which accounts for why the Jews hated them.