Entrance to Omri tomb

The lack of knowledge before the capital

We all know Samaria as the capital city of Israel, the ten tribes’ kingdom, a story that will be written in a later post. This post will tell the story of unknown hill and an unknown man, or what is known about the unknown hill before it had become a major city, and what we will never know about the unknown man.

It is know that before the Hebrew tribes had conquered the land of Israel, Samaria has been covered by dense thickets of natural forest. Actually, the thickets were so dense that Manasseh tribe that was supposed to settle at this part of land had stayed at the other side of the Qana River, along with the tribe of Ephraim. Only later on the settlers had eliminate the thickets and settled on the other side of the river and at the area known today as the Samaria hills.

The first known fact about the hill comes from 888 BC. At that year Omri, the new king of Israel and previously one of king Jeroboam warlords, wanted to establish a new capital city instead of the the old Tirzah that had been burned down. For that he had ask someone named Shemer that had owned the hill to sell him the place.

Who was that Shemer, we do not really know. We even do not know if he was one of the Israelis or not. What we do know that he had a farm at that location, and visitors that will come can still find it’s remains at the spot beneath Augustus temple. We know that the bible calls him ‘The lord of the mount Samaria’, you can speculate what that means .We do know that instead of using the kingdom authority and taking the place, king Omri had bought it for two talents of silver, about $4,000. The most interesting and surprising fact is that Omri had kept his name for the capital instead of renaming it after the king and city establisher.

Due to the last fact, today we have a huge area at the central region of Israel named after an unknown historical figure. We have the Samaritans, an ethno religious group named after him. We have a number of Israeli settlements that had return to that region and carry combinations of his name. And most of all, my small town was supposed to be only his name, but had been changed to Shavey-Shomron – The returnees of Samaria.