Discover The True Beauty Of Judea And Samaria

shomron website

Judea and Samaria are ancient Jewish terms, referring to a geographic area located at the center, in essence the heart, of the land of Israel. The name Judea, is derived from the tribal name “Judah”. It refers to Judah’s biblical inheritance in the land of Israel as described in the book of Joshua (15): “And the lot for the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families was unto the border of Edom, even to the wilderness of Zin southward, at the uttermost part of the south…”
The verses continue through the chapter to describe the inheritance of the sons (tribe) of Judah. Cities and areas such as Hebron, the Dead Sea (Salt Sea), Beit Shemesh (a modern Israeli city), Adumim (today’s city of Maale Adumim) and onwards until the Great Sea (the Mediterranean) are mentioned in passing. There is something electrifying in knowing that Israel’s modern-day cities carry the names and are built on the locations of the ancient cities of Israel. In truth, there is a special government committee which approves names of new towns and cities in Israel, based on archeology and biblical background. So too the name Judea. Judea is the mid-southern region of Israel, the inheritance of the tribe of Judah, which they settled in the days of Joshua, 4000 years ago.
The city of Samaria or “Shomron” in Hebrew, located adjacent to the village of “Sebastia”, was the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel (the ten tribes) which split off from the Kingdom of Judah around 930 BCE. The kingdom of Israel ruled the area north of Jerusalem, leaving the Kingdom of Judah with the area South of Jerusalem. The city, Shomron, was purchased by King Omri who proclaimed it the captital of his kingdom, Israel.
“And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria.” (Kings I 16)
Today the ancient city is a national park and there you can see archeological findings including the Palace built by King Omri’s son King Achav, and a complete theater from the Roman period built by King Herod. The city of Samaria became the inspiration of the name of the regional council of Samaria, which includes the mountainous area north of Jerusalem and continues northward until the Galilee region.
Ancient Samaria includes two modern Israeli regions: the Regional Council of Shomron in the north, and the Regional Council of Binyamin (Benjamin) in the south. The Benjamin Regional Council lies in the general area of the ancient inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin. In this region stand two famous biblical mountains, Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Eibal. The two mountains lie on either side of the ancient city of Shechem or Nablus. It was on these mountains that God commanded the Children of Israel to stand (6 tribes on one mountain and six tribes on the other mountain) when they entered the land of Israel, and renew their covenant with Him.
And Moses charged the people the same day, saying:
“These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand upon mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.”
The Priests stood in the valley between the two mountains in the city of Shechem and shouted out that he who keeps God’s commandments will be blessed, and the tribes on Mount Gerizim answered “Amen”. Then they shouted that those who transgress His commandments will be cursed and the tribes on Mount Eibal answered “Amen”. Until this day, the mountain to which were directed the curses (Eibal) lies barren and rocky, and the mountain to which the blessings were directed is covered with foliage.
There are those that say that the ceremony on these two mountains represents the inverse of the famous giving of the Five Books of Moses on Mount Sinai. At Sinai, God gave the People of Israel His Word from above, and in the land of Israel the Word of God came from below. This seems to be a symbolic message to the People of Israel. God wants us to live on the land, in this world, and live in holiness. To consecrate that which is seems unspiritual.
This Sunday is the Jewish Festival of Pentecost, the celebration of receiving the Five Books of Moses at Sinai. From above. And also from below…

Published: May 21, 2015
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