Archive for March 1st, 2018

Isaiah 28 and 29: The Fate of Samaria – Part I

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Samaria from the Minaret of Mosque

Samaria is located in the northern kingdom of Israel, not in the southern kingdom of Judah.  In Jesus’ day, the Samaritans were considered unclean because they intermarried with the northern tribes who invaded to cart away the Jewish nation. They worshipped the pagan gods of these northern people, and so they were no longer true worshipers of Yahweh.  Jesus turned the “purist, separatist” convention on its head. He spoke and interacted with Samaritans, and one of his parables compared a Samaritan with a Levite priest who was on his way to the temple and so wanted to remain clean, and so did not stop to help his neighbor who lay gravely wounded in a ditch.  This action and these words confounded the people who loyally followed the Mosaic Law.  They might confound us today if we are not watchful.

Samaria is the capital of Ephraim, a tribal area in the northern kingdom.  According to the notes in the NAB it was “built upon a hill, suggestive of a majestic garland adorning the head of the drunken kingdom”.  An interesting image, as are the ones that follow in this chapter.  We might be the people who have made a covenant with death, who have made lies their refuge, thinking that “in falsehood we have found a hiding place” (verse 15). Or we might turn to the image of life that Isaiah offers, and Jesus proclaims.

Tomorrow, the siege.

A reflection written on January 30, 2008. 

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaria 

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