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August 22    Scripture

Bible Cities: Shechem
Ancient Shechem

Map of Ancient Shechem

THE city of Nabulus, one of the most ancient in Israel, is also one of the most interesting. It lies in the beautiful Valley of Shechem, which is about 500 yards wide, between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim. The place was originally called Shechem, and it was the first spot where Abraham pitched his tent after entering Canaan. It was a prominent place in the days of the Patriarchs, and is frequently mentioned in the Book of Genesis. It became, four centuries later, the first great gathering place of the Israelites after their occupation of the Promised Land. (Josh. 8:30-35.) Shechem was assigned to the Levites, and made a city of refuge. It was the first capital of the kingdom of Israel. It was called by the Romans Neapolis, and the Arabs have corrupted this into Nabulus, its modern name. Near the city is the well at which the Saviour held his discourse with the woman of Samaria. Jacob's well and the tomb of Joseph are also close by in the valley. A small remnant of the ancient Samaritans dwell here still, despised and persecuted by their Mahommedan masters. - Ancient Geography

Shechem in Easton's Bible Dictionary shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34). (2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2). (3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem (12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6, 7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19; 35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM T0002483.) Here too, after a while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John 4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God," and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh. 24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (comp. Gen. 28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old "oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all coming time. Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and 100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans. The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty. Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very beautiful, spot in Central Israel." Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR T0003542.)
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/S/Shechem/


Shechem in Fausset's Bible Dictionary ("shoulder", or "upper part of the back just below the neck"); explained as if the town were on the shoulder of the heights dividing the waters that flow toward the Mediterranean on the W. and to the Jordan on the E.; or on a shoulder or ridge connected with Mounts Ebal and Gerizim. Also called SICHEM, SYCHEM, and SYCHAR (John 4:5; Joshua 20:7; Judges 9:9; 1 Kings 12:25). Mount Gerizim is close by (Judges 9:7) on the southern side, Mount Ebal on the northern side. These hills at the base are but 500 yards apart. Vespasian named it Neapolis; coins are extant with its name "Flavia Neapolis"; now Nablus by corruption. The situation is lovely; the valley runs W. with a soil of rich, black, vegetable mold, watered by fountains, sending forth numerous streams flowing W.; orchards of fruit, olive groves, gardens of vegetables, and verdure on all sides delight the eye. On the E. of Gerizim and Ebal the flue plain of Mukhna stretches from N. to S. Here first in Canaan God appeared to Abraham (Genesis 12:6), and here he pitched his tent and built an altar under the oak or terebinth (not "plain") of Moreh; here too Jacob re-entered the promised land (Genesis 33:18- 19), and "bought a parcel of a field where he had spread his tent," from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, and bequeathed it subsequently to Joseph (Genesis 48:22; Joshua 24:32; John 4:5); a dwelling place, whereas Abraham's only purchase was a burial place. It lay in the rich plain of the Mukhna, and its value was increased by the well Jacob dug there. Joshua made "Shechem in Mount Ephraim" one of the six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7). The suburbs in our Lord's days reached nearer the entrance of the valley between Gerizim and Ebal than now; for the narrative in John 4:30; John 4:35, implies that the people could be seen as they came from the town toward Jesus at the well, whereas Nablus now is more than a mile distant, and cannot be seen from that point. Josephus (B. J. 3:7, section 32) says that more than 10,000 of the inhabitants were once destroyed by the Romans, implying a much larger town and population than at present. (See DINAH; HAMOR.) frontJACOB on the massacre by Simeon and Levi, Genesis 34.) Under Abraham's oak at Shechem Jacob buried the family idols and amulets (Genesis 35:1-4). Probably too "the strange gods" or "the gods of the stranger" were those carried away by Jacob's sons from Shechem among the spoils (Genesis 35:2; Genesis 34:26-29). The charge to "be clean and change garments" may have respect to the recent slaughter of the Shechemites, which polluted those who took part in it (Blunt, Undesigned Coincidences). Shechem was for a time Ephraim's civil capital. as Shiloh was its religious capital (Judges 9:2; Judges 21:19; Joshua 24:1-25-26; 1 Kings 12:1). At the same "memorial terebinth" at Shechem the Shechemites made Abimelech king (Judges 9:6). Jotham's parable as to the trees, the vine, the fig, and the bramble, were most appropriate...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/S/Shechem+(1)/


Shechem in Hitchcock's Bible Names part; portion; back early in the morning
http://www.bible-history.com/hitchcock/S/Shechem/


Shechem in Naves Topical Bible 1. Also called SICHEM and SYCHEM, a district in the central part of the land of Canaan Abraham lives in Ge 12:6 The flocks and herds of Jacob kept in Ge 37:12-14 Joseph buried in Jos 24:32 Jacob buried in Ac 7:16; with Ge 50:13 -2. Also called SYCHAR, a city of refuge in Mount Ephraim Jos 20:7; 21:21; Jud 21:19 Joshua assembled the tribes of Israel at, with all their elders, chiefs, and judges, and presented them before the Lord Jos 24:1-28 Joshua buried at Jos 24:30-32 Abimelech made king at Jud 8:31; 9 Rehoboam crowned at 1Ki 12:1 Destroyed by Abimelech Jud 9:45 Rebuilt by Jeroboam 1Ki 12:25 Men of, killed by Ishmael Jer 41:5 Jesus visits; disciples made in Joh 4:1-42 -3. Son of Hamor; seduces Jacob's daughter; killed by Jacob's sons Ge 33:19; 34; Jos 24:32; Jud 9:28 Called SYCHEM Ac 7:16 -4. Ancestor of the Shechemites Nu 26:31; Jos 17:2 -5. Son of Shemidah 1Ch 7:19
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/S/SHECHEM/


Shechem in Smiths Bible Dictionary (back or shoulder). 1. An important city in central Israel, in the valley between mounts Ebal and Gerizim, 34 miles north of Jerusalem and 7 miles southeast of Samaria. Its present name, Nablus, is a corruption of Neapolis, which succeeded the more ancient Shechem, and received its new name from Vespasian. On coins still extant it is called Flavia Neapolis. The situation of the town is one of surpassing beauty. It lies in a sheltered valley, protected by Gerizim on the south and Ebal on the north. The feet of these mountains, where they rise from the town, are not more than five hundred yards apart. The bottom of the valley is about 1800 feet above the level of the sea, and the top of Gerizim 800 feet higher still. The sit of the present city, which was also that of the Hebrew city, occurs exactly on the water-summit; and streams issuing from the numerous springs there flow down the opposite slopes of the valley, spreading verdure and fertility in every direction. Travellers vie with each other in the language which they employ to describe the scene that here bursts so suddenly upon them on arriving in spring or early summer at this paradise of the holy land. "The whole valley," says Dr. Robinson, "was filled with gardens of vegetables and orchards of all kinds of fruits, watered by fountains which burst forth in various parts and flow westward in refreshing streams. it came upon us suddenly like a scene of fairy enchantment. We saw nothing to compare with it in all Israel." The allusions to Shechem in the Bible are numerous, and show how important the place was in Jewish history. Abraham, on his first migration to the land of promise, pitched his tent and built an altar under the oak (or terebinth) of Moreh at Shechem. "The Canaanite was then in the land;" and it is evident that the region, if not the city, was already in possession of the aboriginal race. See Ge 12:6 At the time of Jacob's arrival here, after his sojourn in Mesopotamia, Ge 33:18; 34 Shechem was a Hivite city, of which Hamor, the father of Shechem, was the headman. it was at this time that the patriarch purchased from that chieftain "the parcel of the field" which he subsequently bequeathed, as a special patrimony, to his son Joseph. Ge 33:19; Jos 24:32; Joh 4:5 The field lay undoubtedly on the rich plain of the Mukhna, and its value was the greater on account of the well which Jacob had dug there, so as not to be dependent on his neighbors for a supply of water. In the distribution of the land after its conquest by the Hebrews, Shechem fell to the lot of Ephraim, Jos 20:7 but was assigned to the Levites, and became a city of refuge. Jos 21:20,21 It acquired new importance as the scene of the renewed promulgation of the law, when its blessings were heard from Gerizim and its curses from Ebal, and the people bowed their heads and acknowledged Jehovah as their king and ruler. De 27:11; Jos 24:23-25 it was here Joshua assembled the people, shortly before his death, and delivered...
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/S/Shechem/


Shechem in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE she'-kem (shekhem, "shoulder"; Suchem, he Sikima, ta Sikima, etc.; the King James Version gives "Sichem" in Gen 12:6; and "Sychem" in Acts 7:16): 1. Historical: This place is first mentioned in connection with Abraham's journey from Haran. At the oak of Moreh in the vicinity he reared his first altar to the Lord in Israel (Gen 12:6 f). It was doubtless by this oak that Jacob, on his return from Paddan-aram, buried "the strange (the American Standard Revised Version "foreign") gods" (Gen 35:4). Hither he had come after his meeting with Esau (Gen 33:18). Eusebius, in Onomasticon, here identifies Shechem with Shalem; but see SHALEM. To the East of the city Jacob pitched his tent in a "parcel of ground" which he had bought from Hamor, Shechem's father (Gen 33:19). Here also he raised an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel, "God, the God of Israel" (Gen 33:20). Then follows the story of Dinah's defilement by Shechem, son of the city's chief; and of the treacherous and terrible vengeance exacted by Simeon and Levi (Genesis 34). To the rich pasture land near Shechem Joseph came to seek his brethren (Gen 37:12 ff). It is mentioned as lying to the West of Michmethath (el-Makhneh) on the boundary of Manasseh (Josh 17:7). It was in the territory of Ephraim; it was made a city of refuge, and assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Josh 20:7; 21:21). Near the city the Law was promulgated (Dt 27:11; Josh 8:33). When his end was approaching Joshua gathered the tribes of Israel here and addressed to them his final words of counsel and exhortation (chapter 24). Under the oak in the neighboring sanctuary he set up the stone of witness (24:26). The war of conquest being done, Joseph's bones were buried in the parcel of ground which Jacob had bought, and which fell to the lot of Joseph's descendants (24:33). Abimelech, whose mother was a native of the city, persuaded the men of Shechem to make him king (Jdg 9:1-6), evidently seeking a certain consecration from association with "the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem." Jotham's parable was spoken from the cliff of Gerizim overhanging the town (Jdg 9:7 ff). After a reign of three years Abimelech was rejected by the people. He captured the city, razed it to the foundations, and sowed it with salt. It was then the seat of Canaanite idolatry, the temple of Baal-berith being here (Jdg 9:4,46). In the time of the kings we find that the city was once more a gathering-place of the nation. It was evidently the center, especially for the northern tribes; and hither Rehoboam came in the hope of getting his succession to the throne confirmed (1 Ki 12:1; 2 Ch 10:1). At the disruption Jeroboam fortified the city and made it his residence (2 Ch 10:25; Ant, VIII, viii, 4). The capital of the Northern Kingdom was moved, however, first to Tirzah and then to Samaria, and Shechem declined in political importance. Indeed it is not named again in the history of the monarchy. Apparently there were Israelites in it after the captivity, some of whom on their way to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem met a tragic fate at the hands of Ishmael ben Nethaniah (Jer 41:5 ff). It became the central city of the Samaritans, whose shrine...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/S/SHECHEM/


Shechem Scripture - 1 Chronicles 6:67 And they gave unto them, [of] the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; [they gave] also Gezer with her suburbs,
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Chronicles/6/


Shechem Scripture - 1 Chronicles 7:28 And their possessions and habitations [were], Bethel and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Chronicles/7/


Shechem Scripture - Genesis 34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Genesis/34/


Shechem Scripture - Genesis 34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Genesis/34/


Shechem Scripture - Joshua 17:2 There was also [a lot] for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these [were] the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/17/


Shechem Scripture - Joshua 20:7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which [is] Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/20/


Shechem Scripture - Joshua 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/24/


Shechem Scripture - Judges 21:19 Then they said, Behold, [there is] a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly [in a place] which [is] on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Judges/21/


Shechem Scripture - Judges 9:2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Judges/9/


Shechem Scripture - Numbers 26:31 And [of] Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and [of] Shechem, the family of the Shechemites:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Numbers/26/


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