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John 4:4-5

Context
Conversation With a Samaritan Woman

4:4 But he had 1  to pass through Samaria. 2  4:5 Now he came to a Samaritan town 3  called Sychar, 4  near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 5 

1 sn Travel through Samaria was not geographically necessary; the normal route for Jews ran up the east side of the Jordan River (Transjordan). Although some take the impersonal verb had to (δεῖ, dei) here to indicate logical necessity only, normally in John’s Gospel its use involves God’s will or plan (3:7, 3:14, 3:30, 4:4, 4:20, 4:24, 9:4, 10:16, 12:34, 20:9).

2 sn Samaria. The Samaritans were descendants of 2 groups: (1) The remnant of native Israelites who were not deported after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 b.c.; (2) Foreign colonists brought in from Babylonia and Media by the Assyrian conquerors to settle the land with inhabitants who would be loyal to Assyria. There was theological opposition between the Samaritans and the Jews because the former refused to worship in Jerusalem. After the exile the Samaritans put obstacles in the way of the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem, and in the 2nd century b.c. the Samaritans helped the Syrians in their wars against the Jews. In 128 b.c. the Jewish high priest retaliated and burned the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim.

3 tn Grk “town of Samaria.” The noun Σαμαρείας (Samareias) has been translated as an attributive genitive.

4 sn Sychar was somewhere in the vicinity of Shechem, possibly the village of Askar, 1.5 km northeast of Jacob’s well.

5 sn Perhaps referred to in Gen 48:22.



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