(Matt Rappollo/Heritage Auctions, via AP)

After the Assyrians descended upon the northern kingdom (aka "Israel") they preserved the land and its apostate religion by settling their own people among the poor and disenfranchised remnant[1]. This created the mixed-race people that were despised by the Jews known as "Samaritans."

Jews avoided Samaria when they could, crossing over the Jordan River and walking among Gentiles instead. Jesus showed no such prejudice and early on in his ministry made a point to respect them. John records a meeting with a Samaritan woman who argued about where the temple should be[2]. The Samaritan religion, with roots dating back to Jeroboam I, the first king of the northern kingdom[3].

The Samaritan religion persists to the present as an accepted Hebrew sect in larger Judaism. However, some Jews might not be so accepting of that sect. Recently the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, NY, auctioned of an old Roman era memorial plaque of the Samaritan version of the Ten Commandments. The third commandment against taking the LORD's name in vain was replaced with a Samaritan Commandment requiring that a temple be built on Mount Gerizim rather than in Jerusalem.

The winning bid was $850,000 for the two-foot square marble tablet that once had been part of a synagogue in occupied Samaria. Though the new owners are under obligation to display these artifact to the public, it is not known if a translation into English will be provided of the revised Ten Commandments.

One wonders whether the Living Torah Museum might be looking to buy an ancient Jewish monument that preserves the Torah's version.

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  1. 2 Kings 24-32 (Link)
  2. John 4:4-6, 19-24 (Link)
  3. 1 Kings 12:26-33 (Link)