result was that they adopted the Jewish ritual, but combined the worship of Jehovah with that of their graven images (verse 33). When the Jews returned from Babylon and began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans offered their aid, but this aid was indignantly refused (Ezra 4 and Nehemiah 4). Hostility arose between Jews and Samaritans ? a hostility which continued not only to the time of Christ ( <430409>John 4:9), but even to the present day. Since the Samaritan Pentateuch substantially coincides with the Hebrew Pentateuch, it furnishes us with a definite past date at which it certainly existed in nearly its present form. It witnesses to the existence of our Pentateuch in essentially its present form as far back as the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Green, Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch, 44, 45 ? ?After being repulsed by the Jews, the Samaritans, to substantiate their claim of being sprung from ancient Israel, eagerly accepted the Pentateuch which was brought them by a renegade priest.? W. Robertson Smith, in Encyclopedia Brit., 21:244 ? ?The priestly law, which is throughout based on the practice of the priests of Jerusalem before the captivity, was reduced to form after the exile, and was first published by Ezra as the law of the rebuilt temple of Zion. The Samaritans must therefore have derived their Pentateuch from the Jews after Ezra?s reforms, i.e. , after 444 BC Before that time Samaritanism cannot have existed in a form at all similar to that which we know; but there must have been a community ready to accept the Pentateuch.? See Smith?s Bible Dictionary, art., Samaritan Pentateuch; Hastings, Bible Dictionary, art., Samaria; Stanley Leathes, Structure of the Old Testament, 1-41.
(f) From the finding of ?the book of the law? in the temple, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, or in 621 BC
<122208> 2 Kings 22:8 ? ?And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah.? 23:2 ? ?The book of the covenant? was read before the people by the king and proclaimed to be the law of the land. Curtis, in Hastings? Bible Dictionary, 3:596 ? ?The earliest written law or book of divine instruction of whose introduction or enactment an authentic account is given, was Deuteronomy or its main portion, represented as found in the temple in the 18th year of King Josiah (BC 621) and proclaimed by the king as the law of the land. From that time forward Israel had a written law which the pious believer was commanded to ponder day and night ( <060108>Joshua 1:8; Psalm I:2); and thus the Torah, as sacred literature, formally commenced in Israel. This law aimed at a right application of Mosaic principles.? Ryle, in Hastings? Bible Dictionary, 1:602 ? ?The
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