Samaria Ostraca

The old Mobster – lord of the hill

After trying to revile the lack of knowledge about the beginning of my town, I’ll try to speculate about the mysterious figure of Shemer, the lord of the mountain and why he had got the honor that the whole region had been called after him.

At first it seems that the biblical scripture is not revealing a thing “He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver, and he fortified the hill and called the name of the city that he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the lord of the hill” [1 Kings 16:24]. Reading more carefully, it seems that there are two different Shemer, the one selling the hill, and the one owning it. The first one had got the money and that’s it about him. But the second was the BIG Shemer, the lord of the hill.

What is the meaning of “lord of the hill”. Some translation had translated it to “the owner of the hill” just the one coincidentally owning the hill. But in Hebrew it’s just not sound correct. So some of the Bible commentators had explained it as ”the guardian of the hill”, like some kind of ranger who had been guarding the mountain. But why will a king keep the name of unfamiliar and insignificant man. If he had been just a ranger, Omri would have probably changed the name of the hill after his own name.

Learning about the 64 legible Samaria Ostraca which were found in Samaria and carry names of the Israel’i towns that had been there at 850 B.C. and sent taxes to the Israel’i capital city, my vision of  Shemer had become bigger. Instead of a small land owner, he had become the old mobster that control the region, and is well known all around. Seeing the ancient names of Hebrew town from the Samaria Ostraca still existing on the map after three thousand years, I imagine Shemer junior living on the hill carrying on his back the legend of papa Shemer, the real lord of the hill.

Was Shemer the big papa and the old Mobster I had created, probably not. But if no one knows? why not!