In the Old Testament, the capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel (1 Kgs. 16:23–24). Because of its strong military position on a hill, the Assyrians could not capture it until after a siege of three years (2 Kgs. 17:5–6). Herod rebuilt it and called it Sebaste. In New Testament times, Samaria was the name of the entire central district of Palestine west of the Jordan.