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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

 

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Sychar
        

John 4:5. Shechem or Nablus (Jerome Quaest. Genesis 48:22) corrupted into Sichem, Sychar. Some think it an intentional corruption, as if from sheker "falsehood," or shikor "drunkard" (Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 28:7), due to Jewish bigotry against the Samaritans. It is objected that Jacob's well at the entrance into the valley is a mile and a half from Shechem, and that it is unlikely the woman, if belonging to Shechem, would go so far for water when plenty was nearer at hand; but Robinson conjectures the town had extensive suburbs anciently which reached to near Jacob's well. The woman probably went to this well, irrespectively of distance, just because it was Jacob's; her looking for "Messiah" is in consonance with this, besides the well was deep and the water therefore especially good. However Sychar may have been close to the well; and (Thomson, Land and Book, 31) the present village, Aschar, just above Jacob's well, on the side of Ebal and on the road by which caravans pass from Jerusalem to Damascus, and by which doubtless Jesus passed between Judaea and Galilee, may answer to Sychar.
        So Jerome and Eusebius (Onomasticon) make S. "before," i.e. E. of, Neapolis (Shechem) by the field of Joseph with Jacob's well. The Bordeaux pilgrim (A.D. 333) puts Sechar or Sychar a Roman mile from Sychem, which he makes a suburb of Neapolis. "A city of Samaria called Sychar" is language not likely to be used of the metropolis Shechem; moreover the name Sychem occurs Acts 7:16. On the other hand "called" suits the idea that Sychar is a Jewish nickname for Shechem. Lt. Conder favors Aschar, which is the translation of the Samaritan Iskar, not from the Hebrew "drunkard," but from a Hebrew Aramaic root meaning "to be shut up." This derivation and the description in John 4:5-6 answer accurately to Aschar. Jacob's well is at the point where the narrow vale of Shechem broadens into the great plain; it is 2,000 yards E. of Nablus (Shechem), which is hidden from it. The tomb of Joseph is a third of a mile northeastward, thence a path ascends to Aschar which is visible from Jacob's well. frontIsrael Exploration Quarterly Statement, July 1877, p. 149.)
        


Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'Sychar' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Fausset's; 1878.

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