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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Samaria, Samaritans

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A Samaritan was an inhabitant of Samaria, but there was a difference between the Samaria of the Old Testament and the Samaria of the New. In the time of Israel’s Old Testament monarchy, Samaria was a city in central Israel and its inhabitants were Israelites. In New Testament times Samaria was the central region of Palestine and its inhabitants were non-Israelites.

Capital of the northern kingdom

After the death of Solomon in 930 BC, the ancient kingdom of Israel was split into two. The breakaway northern section of ten tribes continued to call itself the kingdom of Israel; the southern section of two tribes became known as the kingdom of Judah. The northerners established their capital first at Shechem, then at Tirzah, but when Omri came to the throne he built a new capital at Samaria. Samaria remained the capital till the end of the northern kingdom. The town, built on a hill, had a commanding position over the surrounding plain and nearby trade routes (1 Kings 16:23-24). It was well fortified and able to withstand enemy attacks (1 Kings 20:1-21; 2 Kings 6:24-33; 2 Kings 7).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Samaria, Samaritans'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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