What Are Samaritans In The Bible

What are the Samaritans in the Bible? The answer to that question may be more complex than expected. In its most basic form, the term “Samaritan” refers to someone who belongs to the religious group connected to the people of Samaria. The Samaritans have a history stemming back thousands of years — more specifically, to 722 B.C., when what was known as the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians.

Theologians and biblical scholars alike have struggled to come to a consensus on the identity of the Samaritans throughout history, with views ranging from being an ethnically distinct community, to being a particular religious sect within Judaism, to something between the two. The Samaritans became a separate religious sect after being reinterpreted by the Jewish religion, although some still argue that the Samaritans were an ethnic group of people.

The term “Samaritan” is found dozens of times in both the Old and New Testaments. In the New Testament, Samaritans are referred to as those who practice a religion divergent from mainstream Judaism. It was in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, told in Luke 10:25-37, that the Samaritans were first described as people defined by their good-heartedness, hospitality and kindness. Of particular note is their sense of fellowship, as demonstrated by their acceptance of Jesus despite his being from a different sect.

The Samaritans were historically viewed in a largely unfavorable light by many Jews, as evidenced by texts such as the Gospel of John and from disputes described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Although not completely accepted by the Jewish community, the Samaritans nevertheless existed for centuries side by side with other religious communities — an example of the richly varied religious climate in the First Century.

Today, the Samaritans are much more integrated into mainstream society and their traditions live on in the form of annual festivals and religious ceremonies. Their holiday, the Samaritan Passover, is rooted in the celebration of the Jewish holiday Pesach, and consists of various rituals and religious customs. Celebrations vary by region, and include a ceremonial re-enactment of the exodus from Mt. Gerizim and a retelling of the Samaritan history as a way of connecting with their ancient past.

In addition to their religious practices, the Samaritan tradition includes a unique language and a liturgical tradition that was passed on from generation to generation. While the language — called Samaritan Aramaic — went out of spoken use centuries ago, it is still used for liturgical purposes and serves in part as a link among remaining members of the community.

Despite being a long-standing tradition, there are currently fewer than 800 people who identify as Samaritans worldwide. The community is in grave danger of fading away and is therefore on the verge of becoming extinct. Much of this is due to the fact that many of their practices have become less and less mainstream in the modern world, leading to a situation where fewer and fewer young people are embracing their faith.

Efforts to Preserve the Samaritan Tradition

In recent years, the Samaritan community has taken great steps to ensure its legacy is honored and that the culture continues to thrive for centuries to come. Among the steps taken are educational initiatives and the establishment of the Samaritan Museum in the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, in an effort to preserve their culture and attract visitors from all over the world.

In addition, the Samaritan community in Israel holds an annual Nablus Festival, usually in early spring, which is designed to bring members of the community together in a shared celebration. The event involves a variety of performances, presentations and art exhibitions that seek to deepen the understanding of the Samaritan culture and to help sustain the community.

Other efforts at preserving the tradition include the publication of the quarterly Samaritan Update, which provides a forum for news and comment on the issues of the day, and the establishment of a local community radio station, known as the Mount Gerizim FM, where musicians and artists are able to broadcast their own material.

The Value of the Samaritan Religion

While the Samaritan religion has been very much in danger of vanishing for much of the past century, its teachings remain powerful and oftentimes relevant to today’s world. In the words of Professor of Biblical Studies, Jan Willem van Henton: “The Samaritan way of life teaches us tolerance, peace, and respect for all of humanity. It is a lesson that we must learn today, as it was in Jesus’ time.”

The Samaritans continue to adhere to their shared communal law as a way of exhibiting their faith and honoring their traditions. That law defines the rights and responsibilities of each member of the community, and is an essential part of everyday life. The values that the law imparts on its followers aims to make the world a better, more peaceful place — a value that has become increasingly important in our ever-changing world.

The Samaritan people offer a glimpse of the past and teach us all a valuable lesson: that our similarities should be celebrated and our differences respected. In this way, the culture of the Samaritans continue to be as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

The Impact of the Samaritans on Cultural Heritage

Beyond their unique language and liturgical traditions, the Samaritans have left behind a legacy in the form of art, literature and music. Of note is the book of Samaritan writings known as the Memar Markah, or “the word of the teacher,” which is an example of one of their most influential works of literature. Samaritan art forms are also highly regarded, including the intricately designed coins marking their resiliency through the centuries.

The music of the Samaritans is especially renowned and consists of numerous chants, hymns and prayers, often featuring epic themes intended to invoke a sense of awe and reverence. Their music is now being used in therapeutic settings, to help individuals access feelings of peace and connectedness.

When asked to reflect on the contributions the Samaritans have made to humanity, Rabbi Daniel Weisman of Kibbutz Gezer stated, “The Samaritans have taught us important lessons; not just lessons of religious diversity and acceptance, but also lessons of resilience in the face of adversity and the power of faith even in the most trying of times.”

Legacy of the Samaritans in the Modern World

As just one example of the many ways in which the Samaritans have impacted humanity, the temple of Mt. Gerizim in the West Bank, which is located near the city of Nablus, has become something of a pilgrimage site in recent years. The temple site, built during the 2nd Century A.D. and once destroyed, is home to the country’s oldest remaining synagogue and is widely regarded as an important cultural treasure.

In Nablus, the Samaritans formed a communal organization known as the Institute of Samaritan Studies. This organization works to promote peace and understanding between the Samaritan, Jewish and Christian communities through dialogue and various educational projects, such as providing books and study materials.

The legacy of the Samaritans has been recognized by organizations such as the United Nations, which designated the Samaritans as a “cultural group” and declared them a “national asset” in 2015. That same year, the Samaritans were granted self-governing status by the Israeli government, a crucial step in preserving and protecting the rights of this minority community.

Significance of the Samaritans in Today’s World

The Samaritans’ impact on our present-day world is undeniable. Through their teachings, they have instilled a greater appreciation for the acceptance of different cultures. They have also led the way in creating education opportunities that seek to bridge the gaps between religions and have provided a platform for in-depth dialogue surrounding topics such as racism and intolerance.

Just as the tale of the Good Samaritan inspired people to be kind to strangers, the Samaritans’ message of mutual understanding, respect, peace and hospitality serves as a beacon of hope in our increasingly polarizing world. The Samaritans’ commitment to interpersonal kindness and understanding is a reminder, now more than ever, of the fundamental values humanity needs to embrace in order to create a better world for everyone.

Impact Of The Samaritans on Economic Development

The Samaritans also have an impact on economic development in Israel. Each year, businesses come to the area of Nablus where many Samaritans live in order to take advantage of the cultural attractions found there. Tourists in the area are generally drawn to the Samaritans’ ancient customs and the religious history of the region. This influx of people encourages economic development and provides a source of income to the local Samaritan community.

The Samaritans have also had a positive impact on Israeli society at large. Since gaining self-governance in 2015, the community has become more deeply involved in civil society; three new Samaritan settlements have been established in Israel, and several non-government organizations (NGOs) have been formed, the most prominent of which is the Samaritan Public Committee for Social Affairs. This committee works to improve the quality of life for Samaritans through projects and initiatives centered around public health issues, education, community building and economic growth.

It is not only the Samaritans’ physical presence, but also their spiritual presence, that influences the area’s economic growth. For example, their Passover celebration brings thousands of tourists to the region each year, with many coming from other countries around the world. This influx of individuals helps to boost the economy and provides a boost to the local tourism industry. Additionally, the Samaritans’ religious ceremonies can act as a form of spiritual tourism, as many people seek out their religious practice as a way of connecting deeper with their faith.


The Samaritans have had a significant impact on humanity and, although their numbers are few, the legacy of their teachings and traditions remains strong. The Samaritans have provided us with valuable lessons on the power of acceptance and understanding, and they have taught us to be kind and respectful to all. Their culture acts as a reminder of our past, and the customs and traditions they shared and preserved continue to connect us with our ancient roots.

The legacy of the Samaritans also has far-reaching economic implications, with their festivals, religious ceremonies and spiritual presence providing a boost to the local area’s tourism industry. The Samaritans’ influence is still felt even today, providing us with a reminder of the power of friendship, tolerance and respect.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment