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Cities of Ancient Israel





Samaria

D8 on the Map.

Samaria was a region in the land of Israel with geographical limits that were never clearly defined in the Bible. Originally it was the territory of Ephraim and half tribe of Manasseh, the E. boundary was the Jordan River, and a W. boundary was the coast. The S. boundary ran from Jericho to Bethel, and the N. boundary was the rich valleys of Beth Shan and Jezreel up through the north parts of Mount Carmel.


After the division of the kingdom Samaria extended to Galilee. After the campaign of Tiglath-Pileser III in 732 B.C. the Assyrian province of Samaria was called Samarina. This is where the Assyrians settled new foreigners to mingle with the people of Israel, and this time the became known as Samaritans. The Hill Country of Samaria remained a province during the Persian period.


Samaria was known for its rich agriculture, wheat and barley, grapes and olive vineyards. Located in Samaria was a very important international trade route called the Via Maris (the coastal highway).


After the Jews returned from Babylon to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem the Samaritans came to help, but their offer was rejected and thus the ridiculing began (Ezra 4; Neh. 2:10). It is interesting to note that the governor of the province of Samaria in the latter half of the 5th century B.C., whose name was Sanballat (Neh. 2: 10, 19) along with his sons are mentioned in the recently discovered ancient papyri of the Jewish community in Elephantine, Egypt.


The Roman General Pompeii annexed Samaria to the Roman province of Syria in 63 B.C. later Augustus gave the capital of Samaria to Herod. The New Testament makes many mentions of Samaria and the Samaritans. Jesus passed through Samaria on His way to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11) and on His way back, He came to Sychar, a Samaritan city, and spoke to a woman from Samaria at Jacob's well (Jn 4:4 ff).


Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."


Non Biblical source: 1 Macc. 3:10; 10:30.

Biblical sources: Amos 3:9; Jer. 31:5; Obad. 1:19; 1 Kgs. 13:32; 2 Kgs. 17:26; 23:19; Ezra 4:17; Luke 17:11; John 4:4; Acts 1:8; 8:1 ; 9:31; 15:3.


See Sebaste




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