The dictionary offers two meanings to Shomroni:
1. A charitable or helpful person (with reference to Luke 10:33).
2. A member of a people inhabiting Samaria in biblical times, or of the modern community in the region of Nablus claiming descent from them, adhering to a form of Judaism that accepts only its own ancient version of the Pentateuch as Scripture.
Both definitions are correct. The second from an historical perspective, and Luke 10:33 from the Hebraic, lingual standpoint. The name is derived from the root ‘shamar’ (protect, guard).
Many Samaritans who live in Israel today live in the city, Holon, near Tel Aviv and in Schechem (Nablus) in Samaria (east and north of Jerusalem in the region that is now under the Palestinian Authority municipal rule and Israeli Security control).
The Samaritans call themselves Shamerim (also ‘protectors,’ ‘guards’) based on their traditional belief according to which they have kept (guarded) the original Torah given to Moses. They claim to be descendants of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim who were not taken to exile to Assyria in the year 722 B.C., along with the other 10 tribes of Israel.
The Jewish admit that the Samaritans stayed in the land while Israel was taken into exile, but claim that the Samaritans were not Jews. They were asked to keep and guard all the Temple utensils and perhaps Torah books, and therefore they began to follow the laws of Judaism. When the house of Judah came back from their exile, the Samaritans returned to them the holy articles they had been guarding for hundreds of years, but the Jews who had returned refused to accept them as Jews unless they converted. The Samaritans, as a proud people, refused to convert because they saw themselves as true Jews anyway. And this is the case until this very day.
The Samaritans’ good deed of keeping the Temple articles was the reason they were granted their name: the Keepers.
The Samaritans view two mountains around Schechem as holy. The first, Mount Grizim, is considered the Mount of Blessing. Until this very day, they have a Passover sacrificial ceremony on this mountain. The other mountain, Mount Eyval, is considered a Mount of Curse and they shy away from going there.