Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was situated on a
"well rounded" hill 300 feet high, in a rich and beautiful valley of surpassing
beauty, crowned with luxurious palaces and gardens. Isaiah called it a "glorious
beauty." It was surrounded on three sides by mountains, as impregnable as it was
It was founded by Omri (886-875 B.C.). According to the Bible (I Kings 16:24) ,
the city was named after Shemer, whose land was purchased by King Omri so that
he might build a residence there and probably a religious center for the
Canaanites in his kingdom seeing that King Omri had his main residence in
Jezreel and Bethel was considered the religious capital of the Northern Kingdom.
Archaeology has shown that Samaria was built on virgin soil, as the Bible says,
during the 9th century B.C. Jacobís well can still be seen there, 100 feet deep,
9 feet in diameter and one of the few places where an exact spot can be
identified connected with the story of Jesus.
Until the time of King Jehu it was a center of Baal worship. All traces of
Canaanite culture were wiped out by King Jehu (842-814 B.C.).
In 722 B.C. Samaria was captured, after a 3 year siege, by the Assyrians and the
people were led off into captivity and their places taken by colonists.
Bible History Online
The Story of the Bible
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