Hebrew: Somron, from Semer, name of the owner of the hill on which the city was built

City in Ephraim, Palestine, capital of the kingdom of Israel since c.900 B.C. (3 Kings 16), and its religious and political center. The use of the name gradually extended to the entire kingdom or, after the Captivity, to the central region of Palestine between Judea and Galilee. In the time of Christ there was great hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans, which explains the episode of the Samaritan Woman, and Our Lord’s command to His disciples not to enter any of their cities (Matthew 10), and makes all the more noble the deed of the Good Samaritan. The Gospel seems to have been preached there first by Philip (Acts 8). The city was rebuilt by Herod and renamed Sebaste, and is now the Mohammedan village of Sebastieh.