Samaria (Region)

Region in central Palestine.

The region of Samaria gets its name from the city of Samaria, which in Old Testament times was the capital of the northern kingdom. When the city of Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. the region itself was called Samaria (2 Kings 17). The political boundaries of the region shifted, but geographically it generally encompassed the hill country between the Jezreel plain in the north to the Aijalon valley in the south.

In Old Testament times the tensions between this region and the region of Judah to the south broke into open conflict when the kingdom split into north and south in 922 B.C. After the Assyrians conquered Samaria in 722 B.C. many of the people were deported and foreigners were resettled in the region. The Judeans therefore regarded Samaritans as ethnically impure. The Samaritans had their own center of worship at Mount Gerizim, but Jews insisted that worship was centered in Jerusalem.

Samaria Region

Hills in central Samaria
In New Testament times, Jesus encountered some hostility from Samaritans because he worshiped in Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56). Nevertheless, Jesus told a parable about a Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) and healed a Samaritan (Luke 17:11-19). He told a Samaritan woman that right worship was not bound to either Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim, but took place in Spirit and truth (John 4:1-42). Mission to Samaria began after the death of Stephen, when Philip the evangelist proclaimed the gospel there (Acts 8:4-8).


Samaria Region
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