It was a radicalised Judean terrorist group known as the "Fishers of Men" that blasted the Samaritans Temple on Mount Gerizim, utterly destroying the whole tabernacle including the altar. Of course on the West Bank Jew-Samaritan prejudice was a fact of life but even so this wanton act of retaliatory destruction was considered an unnecessarily excessive reaction to a nasty dispute that had opened up in a nearby Samaritan Village just a few days earlier.
Samaritans pay for rejecting the Word 2The underlying provocation of the earlier clash was simple enough to understand ... even if the escalation was perhaps somewhat excessive. The Judeans had been travelling to worship at Mount Ebal and their civil request for accommodation had been met with outright rejection.
The hostile attitude of the villagers had enraged the thunderous sons of Zebedee, James and John, the so-called "Boanerges" as their leader Jesus fondly called them. They were indeed short-tempered, rough-hewn individuals who would not back away from a confrontation. And needless to say, he hugely admired - had in fact hand-picked them for - their fervency, impetuosity, and anger. But of course some hostility was to be expected because there was growing enmity between the Judean Temple in Jerusalem and the Samaritans Temple on Mount Gerizim. Despite this, the angry Judeans had agreed to show mercy to the Village, that is by blasting it away into oblivion.
And after that the Boanerges chose to settle once and for all the larger issue of which Holy Temple really had been chosen by Yahweh, regardless of the small matter of the words written in the Samaritan Pentateuch version of Deuteronomy. Just to avoid any recurrence of the confusion in the future, you understand. They called down fire from heaven using the most mysterious super-weapon conceived. Well, at least since the Ark of the Covenant, anyway.