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November 14    Scripture



Bible Cities: Samaria
Ancient Samaria

Map of Ancient Samaria


Ancient Samaria - Kids Bible maps This map shows the region of Samaria in the land of ancient Israel. The region of Samaria was known for its rich agriculture: wheat and barley, grapes and olive vineyards. Jesus passed through the land of Samaria on his way to and from Jerusalem, but most people of that time would have gone around Samaria. The exact boundaries of Samaria are unknown but we know that it went as far as the Jordan river in the east and to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on the west side."

Samaria in Easton's Bible Dictionary a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron", i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages. Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or palace of Omri').", Stanley. Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed, and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army, as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little flocks of kids." In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing inhabitants of the city were soon relieved...

Samaria in Fausset's Bible Dictionary ("a watch mountain".) The oblong terraced hill in the center of a basinshaped, valley, a continuation of the Shethem valley, six miles N.W. of Shechem. The owner, Shemer, sold it for two silver talents to Omri king of Israel (925 B.C.), who built on it a city and called it after Shomer (1 Kings 16:23-24). Shechem previously had been the capital, Tirzah the court residence in summer (1 Kings 15:21; 1 Kings 15:33; 1 Kings 16:1-18). The situation combines strength, fertility and beauty (Josephus, Ant. 15:8, section 5; B.J. 1:21, section 2). It is 600 ft. high, surrounded with terraced hills, clad with figs and olives. There is abundant water in the valley; but the city, like Jerusalem, is dependent on rain cisterns. The view is charming: to the N. and E. lie its own rich valleys; to the W. fertile Sharon and the blue Mediterranean. (On the "glorious beauty" of Ephraim (Samaria), Isaiah 28:1, see MEALS.) Its strength enabled it to withstand severe sieges by the Syrians (1 Kings 20; 2 Kings 6; 7). Finally it fell before Shalmaneser and Sargon, after a three years' siege (2 Kings 18:9-12), 721 B.C. Called from its Baal worship, introduced by Ahab, "the city of the house of Ahab" (1 Kings 16:32-33; 2 Kings 10:25). Alexander the Great replaced its inhabitants with Syro Macedonians. John Hyrcanus (109 B.C.) destroyed the city after a 12 months' siege (Josephus, Ant. 13:10, section 2-3). Herod the Great rebuilt and adorned it, naming it Sebaste from Sebastos, Greek for Augustus, his patron (Ant. 14:5, section 3; 15:8, section 5; B.J. 1:20, section 3, 21, section 2). The woman of Samaria and several of her townsmen (John 4) were the firstfruits gathered into Christ; the fuller harvest followed under Philip the evangelist deacon (Acts 8, compare John 4:35). Septimius Severus planted a Roman colony there in the third century A.D.; but politically it became secondary to Caesarea. Ecclesiastically it was of more importance; and Marius its bishop signed himself "Maximus Sebastenus" at the council of Nice, A.D. 325. The Mahometans took it, A.D. 614. The Crusaders established a Latin bishop there. Now Sebustieh; its houses of stone are taken from ancient materials, but irregularly placed; the inhabitants are rude but industrious. The ruin of the church of John the Baptist marks the traditional place of his burial; the original structure is attributed to Helena, Constantine's mother; but the present building, except the eastern Greek end, is of later style: 153 ft. long inside, 75 broad, and a porch 10 ft. wide. Within is a Turkish tomb under which by steps you descend to a vault with tessellated floor, and five niches for the dead, the central one being alleged to have been that of John (?). Fifteen limestone columns stand near the hill top, two others lie on the ground, in two rows, 32 paces apart. Another colonnade, on the N. side of the hill, in a ravine, is arranged in a quadrangle, 196 paces long and 64 broad. On the W.S.W. are many columns, erect or prostrate, extending a third of a mile, and ending in a heap of ruins; each column 16 ft. high, 6 ft. in circumference at the base, 5 ft. at the top: probably...

Samaria in Hitchcock's Bible Names watch-mountain

Samaria in Naves Topical Bible 1. City of, built by Omri 1Ki 16:24 Capitol of the kingdom of the ten tribes 1Ki 16:29; 22:51; 2Ki 13:1,10; 15:8 Besieged by Ben-hadad 1Ki 20; 2Ki 6:24-33; 7 The king of Syria is led into, by Elisha, who miraculously blinds him and his army 2Ki 6:8-23 Ahab ruled in See AHAB See JEZEBEL Besieged by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, for three years; captured; the people carried away to Halah and Habor, cities of the Medes 2Ki 17:5,6; 18:9-11 Idolatry of 1Ki 16:32; 2Ki 13:6 Temple of, destroyed 2Ki 10:17-28; 23:19 Paul and Barnabas preach in Ac 15:3 Visited by Philip, Peter, and John Ac 8:5-25 -2. Country of Isa 7:9 Foreign colonies distributed among the cities of, by the king of Assyria 2Ki 17:24-41; Ezr 4:9,10 Roads through, from Judaea into Galilee Lu 17:11; Joh 4:3-8 Jesus travels through Joh 4:1-42 Jesus heals lepers in Lu 17:11-19 The Good Samaritan from Lu 10:33-35 No dealings between the Jews and the inhabitants of Joh 4:9 Samaritans were expecting the Messiah Joh 4:25 Disciples made from the inhabitants of Joh 4:39-42; Ac 8:5-8,14-17,25 Jesus forbids the apostles to preach in the cities of Mt 10:5

Samaria in Smiths Bible Dictionary (watch mountain). This city is situated 30 miles north of Jerusalem and about six miles to the northwest of Shechem, in a wide basin-shaped valley, six miles in diameter, encircled with high hills, almost on the edge of the great plain which borders upon the Mediterranean. In the centre of this basin, which is on a lower level than the valley of Shechem, rises a less elevated hill, with steep yet accessible sides and a long fiat top. This hill was chosen by Omri as the site of the capital of the kingdom of Israel. He "bought the hill of Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of the owner of the hill, Samaria." 1Ki 16:23,24 From the that of Omri's purchase, B.C. 925, Samaria retained its dignity as the capital of the ten tribes, and the name is given to the northern kingdom as well as to the city. Ahab built a temple to Baal there. 1Ki 16:32,33 It was twice besieged by the Syrians, in B.C. 901, 1Ki 20:1 and in B.C. 892, 2Ki 6:24-7, 2Ki 6:20 but on both occasions the siege was ineffectual. The possessor of Samaria was considered de facto king of Israel. 2Ki 15:13,14 In B.C. 721 Samaria was taken, after a siege of three years, by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, 2Ki 18:9,10 and the kingdom of the ten tribes was put an end to. Some years afterward the district of which Samaria was the centre was repeopled by Esarhaddon. Alexander the Great took the city, killed a large portion of the inhabitants, and suffered the remainder to set it at Shechem. He replaced them by a colony of Syro-Macedonians who occupied the city until the time of John Hyrcanus, who took it after a year's siege, and did his best to demolish it entirely. (B.C. 109.) It was rebuilt and greatly embellished by Herod the Great. He called it Sebaste=Augusta, after the name of his patron, Augustus Caesar. The wall around it was 2 1/2 miles long, and in the centre of the city was a park 900 feet square containing a magnificent temple dedicated to Caesar. In the New Testament the city itself does not appear to be mentioned; but rather a portion of the district to which, even in older times it had extended its name. Mt 10:5; Joh 4:4,5 At this clay the city is represented by a small village retaining few vestiges of the past except its name, Sebustiyeh, an Arabic corruption of Sebaste. Some architectural remains it has, partly of Christian construction or adaptation, as the ruined church of St. John the Baptist, partly, perhaps, traces of Idumaean magnificence, St. Jerome, whose acquaintance with Israel imparts a sort of probability to the tradition which prevailed so strongly in later days, asserts that Sebaste, which he invariably identifies with Samaria was the place in which St. John the Baptist was imprisoned and suffered death. He also makes it the burial-place of the prophets Elisha and Obadiah.

Samaria in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE sa-ma'-ri-a, (shomeron; Samareia, Semeron, and other forms): (1) Shechem was the first capital of the Northern Kingdom (1 Ki 12:25). Jeroboam seems later to have removed the royal residence to Tirzah (1 Ki 14:17). After the brief reigns of Elah and Zimri came that of Omri, who reigned 6 years in Tirzah, then he purchased the hill of Samaria and built a city there, which was thenceforward the metropolis of the kingdom of Israel (1 Ki 16:24). Here the hill and the city are said to have been named after Shemer, the original owner of the land. There is nothing intrinsically improbable in this. It might naturally be derived from shamar, and the name in the sense of "outlook" would fitly apply to a city in such a commanding position. The residence, it was also the burying-place, of the kings of Israel (1 Ki 16:28; 22:37; 2 Ki 10:35; 13:9,13; 14:16). Toward the western edge of the Ephraimite uplands there is a broad fertile hollow called Wady esh-Sha`ir, "valley of barley." From the midst of it rises an oblong hill to a height of over 300 ft., with a level top. The sides are steep, especially to the Samaria. The greatest length is from East to West. The surrounding mountains on three sides are much higher, and are well clad with olives and vineyards. To the West the hills are lower, and from the crest a wide view is obtained over the Plain of Sharon, with the yellow ribbon of sand that marks the coast line, and the white foam on the tumbling billows; while away beyond stretch the blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the eastern end of the hill, surrounded by olive and cactus, is the modern village of Sebastiyeh, under which a low neck of land connects the hill with the eastern slopes. The position is one of great charm and beauty; and in days of ancient warfare it was one of remarkable strength. While it was overlooked from three sides, the battlements crowning the steep slopes were too far off to be reached by missiles from the only artillery known in those times--the sling and the catapult. For besiegers to attempt an assault at arms was only to court disaster. The methods adopted by her enemies show that they relied on famine to do their work for them (2 Ki 6:24 f, etc.). Omri displayed excellent taste and good judgment in the choice he made. The city wall can be traced in almost its entire length. Recent excavations conducted by American archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of Omri's palace, with remains of the work of Ahab and of Herod (probably here was Ahab's ivory palace), on the western end of the hill, while on the western slope the gigantic gateway, flanked by massive towers, has been exposed to view. Under the influence of Jezebel, Samaria naturally became a center of idolatrous...

Samaria Scripture - 1 Kings 16:29 And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.

Samaria Scripture - 1 Kings 20:34 And [Benhadad] said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then [said Ahab], I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.

Samaria Scripture - 2 Kings 23:18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.

Samaria Scripture - Amos 3:9 Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.

Samaria Scripture - Ezekiel 16:46 And thine elder sister [is] Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, [is] Sodom and her daughters.

Samaria Scripture - Ezekiel 16:51 Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done.

Samaria Scripture - Ezekiel 16:53 When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then [will I bring again] the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them:

Samaria Scripture - Ezekiel 16:55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.

Samaria Scripture - Ezekiel 23:4 And the names of them [were] Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus [were] their names; Samaria [is] Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

Samaria Scripture - Obediah 1:19 And [they of] the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and [they of] the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin [shall possess] Gilead.

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