Monday, August 27, 2012

Samaria resettled

Good morning brothers and sisters,
Saturday we read about how Israel was conquered by the Assyrian Empire and it's people were taken away to Assyria. The King of Assyria then resettled people from other conquered lands in Samaria. This kind of population shifting seems to have been somewhat common among empires of the time. The goal was creating a more governable empire by taking people away from their homeland while sowing some kind of good will by giving them land. Of course, recent rulers have tried similar experiments; we call it ethnic cleansing.

This story paves the way for an important fact in the New Testament. In Jesus' day Jews hated and looked down on Samaritans. This story tells us where that animosity came from. The Samaritans were the people the Assyrians resettled to what had been Israel (whose capital was Samaria). As the story tells us, they worshiped the Lord, but they also worshiped the gods they had worshiped before. As we know, in Christ there's welcome for everyone. May we be generous and loving as we witness to God's love to the world.

God bless,

2 Kings 17:24-33
24The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities. 25When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 

26So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the Lord.

29But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived; 30the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima; 31the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32They also worshiped the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33So they worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.

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