Samaria, Country of.
Samaria at first included all the tribes over which Jeroboam made himself king, whether east or west of the river Jordan. ( 1 Kings 13:32 ) But whatever extent the word might have acquired, it necessarily be came contracted as the limits of the kingdom of Israel became contracted. In all probability the territory of Simeon and that of Dan were very early absorbed in the kingdom of Judah. It is evident from an occurrence in Hezekiahs reign that just before the deposition and death of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, the authority of the king of Judah, or at least his influence, was recognized by portions of Asher, Issachar and Zebulun and even of Ephraim and Manasseh. ( 2 Chronicles 30:1-26 ) Men came from all those tribes to the Passover at Jerusalem. This was about B.C. 728. Samaria (the city) and a few adjacent cities or villages only represented that dominion which had once extended from Bethel to Dan northward, and from the Mediterranean to the borders of Syria and Ammon eastward. In New Testament times Sa maria was bounded northward by the range of hills which commences at Mount Carmel on the west, and, after making a bend to the southwest, runs almost due east to the valley of the Jordan, forming the southern border of the plain of Esdraelon. It touched toward the south, is nearly as possible, the northern limits of Benjamin. Thus it comprehended the ancient territory of Ephraim and that of Manasseh west of Jordan. The Cuthaean Samaritans, however, possessed only a few towns and villages of this large area, and these lay almost together in the centre of the district. At Nablus the Samaritans have still a settlement, consisting of about 200 persons. [SHECHEM]