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Samaria


Suh-mair´ee-uh

City of, the capital of the Northern Kingdom for the greater part of the history of that state. Omri built the city in the early ninth century BCE and moved his administrative center there from Tirzah (1Kgs 16:24). It remained the capital until the demise of the kingdom in 721 BCE, when the city was taken by the Assyrians after a long siege (1Kgs 17:1-6). Samaria is mentioned frequently in the OT. We are told that Ahab built an altar and temple for Baal in Samaria (1Kgs 16:32), a shrine later destroyed by Jehu in the reform that accompanied his reign (ca. 834 BCE). Thus, Samaria was criticized by the prophets for its idolatry (Amos 8:14), being compared in this respect to both pagan cities and Jerusalem (Isa 10:10-11; Ezek 16:46-55; Ezek 23:1-49). Elsewhere in the prophetic oracles, the people of Samaria are condemned for their pride (Isa 9:8-17), wickedness (Hos 7:1-7), rebellion (Hos 13:16), and oppression and exploitation of the poor (Amos 3:9-12; Amos 4:1-3) as well as for the indolence and spiritual insensitivity engendered by their wealth (Amos 6:1-7).