From BiblePortal Wikipedia

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [1]

1. A Canaanite prince, at the town of the same name, who abducted Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and was soon afterwards treacherously slain, with many of his people, by Simeon and Levi,  Genesis 34:1-31 .

2. A city of central Canaan, between the mountains Gerizim and Ebal, thirty-four miles north of Jerusalem; called also Sychar and Sychem,  Acts 7:16 . It is first mentioned in the history of Abraham, who here erected his first altar in Canaan, and took possession of the country in the name of Jehovah,  Genesis 12:6   33:18,19   35:4 . Jacob bought a field in its neighborhood, which by way of overplus, he gave to his son Joseph, who was buried here,  Genesis 48:22   Joshua 24:32 . After the conquest of Canaan it became a Levitical city of refuge in Ephraim, and a gathering-place of the tribes,  Joshua 20:7   21:21   24:1,25   Judges 9:1-57 . Here Rehoboam gave the ten tribes occasion to revolt,  1 Kings 12:1-33 . In its vicinity was Jacob's well or fountain, at which Christ discoursed with the woman of Samaria,  John 4:5 . See also  Acts 8:25   9:31   15:3 . After the ruin of Samaria by Shalmaneser, Shechem became the capital of the Samaritans; and Josephus says it was so in the time of Alexander the Great. St the present day it is also the seat of the small remnant of the Samaritans. See Samaritans .

It was called by the Romans Neapolis, from which the Arabs have made Napolose, or Nabulus.

The valley of Shechem extends several miles northwest between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, and is about five hundred yards wide; so that in the pure and elastic air of Palestine the two mountains are within hailing distance of each other, one circumstance among thousands evincing the exact truthfulness of Bible narratives,  Deuteronomy 27:11-14   Judges 9:7 . The winter rains which fall in the eastern part of the valley find their way to the Jordan, while in the western part are numerous springs, forming a pretty brook which flows towards the Mediterranean. "Here," says Dr. Robinson, "a scene of luxuriant and almost unparalleled verdure burst upon our view. The whole valley was filled with gardens of vegetables and orchards of all kinds of fruits, watered by several 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 Palestine." The modern town has several long and narrow streets, partly on the base of Mount Gerizim. It does not appear to extend so far to the east as the ancient city did. The houses are high and well built of stone, and covered with small domes. Nabulus is thought to contain eight thousand inhabitants, all Mohammedans except five hundred Greek Christians, one hundred and fifty Samaritans, and as many Jews. The rocky base of Mount Ebal on the north of the valley is full of ancient excavated tombs. On Mount Gerizim is the holy place of the Samaritans, and the ruins of a strong fortress erected by Justinian. At the foot of these mountains on the east lies the beautiful plain of Mukhna, ten miles long and a mile and a half wide; and where the valley opens on this plain, Joseph's tomb and Jacob's well are located, by the unanimous consent of Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. The former spot is now covered by a Mohammedan Wely, or sacred tomb; and the latter by an arched stone chamber, entered by a narrow hole in the roof, and the mouth of the well within is covered by a large stone. The well itself is one hundred and five feet deep, and is now sometimes dry. It bears every mark of high antiquity.

The following extract is from Dr. Clarke's description of this place: "There is nothing in the Holy Land finer than a view of Napolose from the heights around it. As the traveller descends towards it from the hills, it appears luxuriantly embosomed in the most delightful and fragrant bowers, half concealed by rich gardens, and by stately trees collected into groves, all around the bold and beautiful valley in which it stands. Trade seems to flourish among its inhabitants. Their principal employment is in making soap; but the manufactures of the town supply a very widely extended neighborhood, and are exported to a great distance upon camels. In the morning after our arrival, we met caravans coming from Grand Cairo, and noticed others reposing in the large olive plantations near the gates."

"The sacred story of events transacted in the fields of Sychem, from our earliest years is remembered with delight; but with the territory before our eyes where those events took place, and in the view of objects existing as they were described above three thousand years ago, the grateful impression kindles into ecstasy. Along the valley we beheld a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,'  Genesis 37:25 , as in the days of Reuben and Judah, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh,' who would gladly have purchased another Joseph of his brethren, and conveyed him as a slave to some Potiphar in Egypt. Upon the hills around, flocks and herds were feeding, as of old; nor in the simple garb of the shepherds of Samaria was there any thing repugnant to the notions we may entertain of the appearance presented by the sons of Jacob. It was indeed a scene to abstract and to elevate the mind; and under emotions so called forth by every circumstance of powerful coincidence, a single moment seemed to concentrate whole ages of existence."

"The principal object of veneration is Jacob's well, over which a church was formerly erected. This is situated at a small distance from the town, in the road to Jerusalem, and has been visited by pilgrims of all ages, but particularly since the Christian era, as the place where our Savior revealed himself to the woman of Samaria."

"The spot is so distinctly marked by the evangelist, and so little liable to uncertainty, from the circumstance of the well itself and the features of the country, that, if no tradition existed for its identity, the site of it could hardly be mistaken. Perhaps no Christian scholar ever attentively read  John 4:1-54 , without being struck with the numerous intervals evidences of truth which crowd upon the mind in its perusal. Within so small a compass it is impossible to find in other writings so many sources of reflection and of interest. Independently of its importance as a theological document, it concentrates so much information, that a volume might be filled with illustration it reflects on the history of the Jews and on the geography of their country. All that can be gathered on these subjects from Josephus seems but as a comment to illustrate this chapter. The journey of our Lord from Judea into Galilee; the cause of it; his passage through the territory of Samaria; his approach to the metropolis of this country; its name; his arrival at the Amorite field which terminates the narrow valley of Sychem; the ancient custom of halting at a well; the female employment of drawing water; the disciples sent into the city for food, by which its situation out of the town is obviously implied; the question of the woman referring to existing prejudices which separated the Jews from the Samaritans; the depth of the well; the oriental allusion contained in the expression, living water;' the history of the well, and the customs thereby illustrated; the worship upon Mount Gerizim; all these occur within the space of twenty verses."

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

She'chem. (Back or Shoulder). An important city in central Palestine, in the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount 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 site 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 Palestine."

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  Genesis 12:6. At the time of Jacob's arrival here, after his sojourn in Mesopotamia,  Genesis 33:18;  Genesis 33:34, 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.  Genesis 33:19;  Joshua 24:32;  John 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,  Joshua 20:7, but was assigned to the Levites, and became a city of refuge.  Joshua 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.  Deuteronomy 27:11;  Joshua 24:23-25. It was here Joshua assembled the people, shortly before his death, and delivered to them his last counsels.  Joshua 24:1;  Joshua 24:25.

After the death of Gideon, Abimelech, his bastard son, induced the Shechemites to revolt from the Hebrew commonwealth and elect him as king.  Judges 9:1. In revenge for his expulsion, after a reign of three years, Abimelech destroyed the city, and as an emblem of the fate to which he would consign it, sowed the ground with salt.  Judges 9:34-45. It was soon restored, however, for we are told in  1 Kings 12:1, that all Israel assembled at Shechem, and Rehoboam, Solomon's successor, went thither to be inaugurated as king. Here, at this same place, the ten tribes renounced the house of David, and transferred their allegiance to Jeroboam,  1 Kings 12:16, under whom Shechem became, for a time, the capital of his kingdom.

From the time of the origin of the Samaritans, the history of Shechem blends itself with that of this people and of their sacred mount, Gerizim. See Samaria . Shechem reappears in the New Testament. It is the Sychar of  John 4:5 near which the Saviour conversed with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. The population of Nablus consists of about 5000, among whom are 500 Greek Christians, 150 Samaritans, and a few Jews. The enmity between the Samaritans and Jews is as inveterate still as it was in the days of Christ . The Mohammedans, of course, make up the bulk of the population.

The well of Jacob and the tomb of Joseph are still shown in the neighborhood of the town. The well of Jacob lies about a mile and a half east of the city, close to the lower road, and just beyond the wretched hamlet of Balata . The Christians sometimes call it Bir Es-Samariyeh - "The Well Of The Samaritan Woman". The well is deep - 75 feet when last measured - and there was, probably, a considerable accumulation of rubbish at the bottom. Sometimes, it contains a few feet of water, but at others, it is quite dry. It is entirely excavated in the solid rock, perfectly round, 9 feet in diameter, with the sides hewn smooth and regular. Of all the special localities of our Lord's life, this is almost the only one absolutely undisputed.

The tomb of Joseph lies about a quarter of a mile north of the well, exactly in the centre of the opening of the valley. It is between Gerizim and Ebal. It is a small, square enclosure of high whitewashed walls, surrounding a tomb of the ordinary kind, but with the peculiarity that it is placed diagonally to the walls, instead of parallel as usual. A rough pillar used as an altar, and black with the traces of fire is at the head, and another at the foot of the tome. In the walls are two slabs with Hebrew inscriptions, and the interior is almost covered with the names of pilgrims in Hebrew, Arabic and Samaritan. Beyond this, there is nothing to remark in the structure itself. The local tradition of the tomb, like that of the well is as old as the beginning of the fourth century.

2. The son of Hamor, the chieftain of the Hivite settlement of Shechem, at the time of Jacob's arrival.  Genesis 33:19;  Genesis 34:2-26;  Joshua 24:32;  Judges 9:28.

3. A man of Manasseh, of the clan of Gilead.  Numbers 26:31.

4. A Gileadite, son of Shemida, the younger brother of Shechem, 3 .  1 Chronicles 7:19.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

SHECHEM . 1 Genesis 33:19;   Genesis 34:2;   Genesis 34:4 etc. See Jacob, Hamor. 2. A Manassite clan,   Numbers 26:31 (35), (the Shechemites),   Joshua 17:2 ,   1 Chronicles 7:19 .   1 Chronicles 7:3 . See next article.

SHECHEM . The place in which Jacob for a while established himself (  Genesis 33:18 ,   John 4:12 ). Here he is said to have dug the well coosecrated by Christ’s conversation with the Samaritan woman, and still shown to travellers, with a claim to authenticity which is lacking in the vast majority of the so-called ‘holy places.’ It was evidently a place of sanctity: there was a great oak (or terebinth) here no doubt a sacred tree where Jacob hid his teraphim (  Genesis 35:4 ), and under which Joshua gave his parting address to the elders (  Joshua 24:1-33 ). A great stone under the tree was traditionally connected with the latter event (  Joshua 24:26 ). This is no doubt the reason why Shechem was a Levitical city, and also a city of refuge (  Joshua 20:7 ). The city, however, remained Canaanite after the conquest, serving the local god Baal-herith (  Judges 9:4 ): Gideon’s concubine, mother of Abimelech, was a Canaanitess from Shechem, and her relatives set up her son as a king, to his and their own destruction (  Judges 9:1-57 ). Here Rehoboam alienated the Northern Kingdom by his overhearing speech (  1 Kings 12:1 ), and Jeroboam for a time was established here (  1 Kings 12:25 ). It was not a place of importance before the Exile, though continuously inhabited down to and after that event (  Jeremiah 41:5 ). The development of the Samaritan nation led to its rise. It was known at this period to the natives by the name Mabortha (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] BJ IV. viii. 1), but the name by which it was generally known, after its re-building by Titus Flavins Vespasianus, was Flavia Neapolis , or, more briefly, Neapolis a name which still persists in the modern Arabic form Nâblus , though usually Roman or Greek names imposed on Palestinian sites have disappeared, the older names persisting.

In the Byzantine period there was a bishopric at Neapolis, of which we know little save that the Samaritans in a.d. 474 wounded the bishop, and were in consequence severely punished by the emperor Zeno. The city fell to the Crusaders in 1099, and several churches were there built by them one of which still survives in part as a mosque. In 1184 it was re-conquered by Saladin. The inhabitants have always been noted for turbulence and lawlessness. Towards the end of the 18th century it was a storm-centre of the inter-tribal wars of the fellahîn , the leader of the district being the notorious Kasim el-Ahmad.

It is now a town of some 24,000 inhabitants, all Moslems except about 150 Samaritans and 700 Christians. They are concerned in extensive soap manufacture, and in trade in wool and cotton with Eastern Palestine. There are Protestant and Roman Catholic missions, and an important English hospital directed by the Church Missionary Society.

In or near the town are shown ‘Jacob’s well,’ which, as already said, is not improbably authentic; and a shrine covering the traditional ‘tomb of Joseph,’ the genuineness of which is perhaps less unassailable.

R. A. S. Macalister.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

  • A city in Samaria ( Genesis 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 ( Genesis 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" ( Genesis 33:19;  35:4;  Judges 9:37 ). (See Meonenim .) 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 ( Joshua 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 ( Joshua 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" (Compare  Genesis 28:18;  31:44-48;  Exodus 24:4;  Joshua 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 Palestine ( Joshua 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 Palestine."

    Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned  1 Chronicles 7:28 , has entirely disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and its place was taken by Shechem. (See Sychar .)

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Shechem'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

    The ancient town of Shechem lay between Mt Gerizim and Mt Ebal in central Canaan ( Deuteronomy 27:12-13;  Judges 9:7). It was the first recorded camping place of Abraham when he came to Canaan from Haran ( Genesis 12:4-6). (For maps of the region see Palestine .)

    Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, upon returning to Canaan from Paddan-aram, bought land in Shechem and settled there with his family and flocks ( Genesis 33:18-19). When a conflict arose with some of the local inhabitants, Jacob’s sons massacred the men of Shechem and plundered the town (Genesis 34). Jacob and his family then moved elsewhere, though at times they still pastured their flocks near Shechem ( Genesis 35:1-4;  Genesis 37:12). Joseph’s bones were later buried at Shechem in a field that Jacob had given to Joseph ( Genesis 48:22;  Joshua 24:32;  John 4:5-6).

    After the conquest of Canaan, the people of Israel gathered at Shechem to confirm the covenant. The blessings of the covenant were announced from Mt Gerizim on one side of the town, and the curses from Mt Ebal on the other. Just before Joshua’s death, the leaders of Israel gathered at Shechem once more and declared their loyalty to the covenant ( Deuteronomy 27:1-14;  Joshua 8:30-35;  Joshua 24:1-28).

    In the division of Canaan among the Israelites, Shechem fell within the tribal allotment of Ephraim, but was set apart for the Levites. It was one of the three cities of refuge west of Jordan ( Joshua 20:2;  Joshua 20:7;  Joshua 21:20-21; see City Of Refuge ).

    In the time of the judges, Abimelech tried to establish a kingdom in Shechem but his success was shortlived ( Judges 9:1-6;  Judges 9:16-57). In the time of the monarchy, after the death of Solomon, Rehoboam went to Shechem to be crowned king, no doubt hoping this would help him win the allegiance of the northern tribes. However, the northerners broke away and established their own kingdom, with its capital initially at Shechem ( 1 Kings 12:1;  1 Kings 12:25). Within a few years they shifted the capital to Tirzah, and later again to Samaria ( 1 Kings 15:33;  1 Kings 16:8;  1 Kings 16:24;  1 Kings 16:29). Although Shechem lost its importance, it continued to exist, even after the Assyrians had destroyed the northern kingdom and taken most of the people into captivity ( Jeremiah 41:5).

    When Assyria brought people from elsewhere to live in the deserted northern kingdom, these immigrants intermarried with the Israelites left in the land. In due course this produced a people of mixed blood and mixed religion who became known as the Samaritans. Shechem became the chief city of the Samaritans, and Mt Gerizim became to them a sacred mountain. There they built their temple, worshipped, and held religious festivals. The village of Sychar was nearby ( John 4:5-6;  John 4:20). (See Samaria, Samaritans )

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

    1. The first city of Canaan visited by Abram,  Genesis 12:6 , where it is called SICHEM.When Jacob returned to Palestine, Hamor the Hivite was its king. It was attacked and plundered by Simeon and Levi. The bones of Joseph were buried there. At the distribution of the land it fell to the lot of Ephraim, and became a Levitical city and a city of refuge. It was there that Joshua delivered his last address to the people. Under the Judges the city was taken by Abimelech, when about a thousand men and women took refuge in the tower, which was destroyed by fire. The tribes assembled there to crown Rehoboam, and, on the division of the kingdom, it became the headquarters of Jeroboam.  Genesis 33:18;  Genesis 37:12-14;  Joshua 20:7;  Joshua 21:21;  Joshua 24:1,25,32;  Judges 9:1-57;  1 Kings 12:1,25;  2 Chronicles 10:1;  Psalm 60:6;  Psalm 108:7;  Jeremiah 41:5 .

    Shechem was called Neapolis by the Romans, of which its present name, Nablus, is supposed to be a corruption. It lies 32 13' N, 35 16' E . Its vicinity is luxurious in fruit and flowers. It is still partially inhabited by Samaritans, who have a synagogue there, and yearly keep the Passover.

    It is called SYCHEM in  Acts 7:16 , where it says that Abraham bought a sepulchre there. This is thought to clash with  Genesis 33:19 , which speaks of Jacob buying it. But nothing is said in the latter passage about a sepulchre: Jacob bought a piece of ground to spread his tent in. Bengel says of this alleged discrepancy in Stephen's address, that "the brevity which was best suited to the ardour of the Spirit gave Stephen just occasion, in the case of a fact so well known, to compress these details in the way he has done."*

    * For further details concerning Stephen's address see "Bible Handbook, New Testament," pages 144-6.

    2. Son of Hamor the chief of the city of Shechem — from whom the city appears to have derived its name — killed with his father and household by Simeon and Levi because he had dishonoured their sister Dinah.   Genesis 33:19;  Genesis 34:2-26;  Joshua 24:32;  Judges 9:28 .

    3. Descendant of Gilead, a grandson of Manasseh.   Numbers 26:31;  Joshua 17:2 .

    4. Son of Shemidah, a descendant of Manasseh.   1 Chronicles 7:19 : cf.  Joshua 17:2 .

    Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

    The city makes its earliest appearance in biblical history in connection with Abram's arrival in the land ( Genesis 12:6-7 ). When Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, he settled down at Shechem and purchased land from the sons of Hamor ( Genesis 33:18-19 ). In  Genesis 33-34 , Shechem was the name of the city and also of the prince of the city. While Jacob was at Shechem, the unfortunate incident of Dinah occurred. Simeon and Levi, her full brothers, destroyed the city ( Genesis 34:1 ). Later, the brothers of Joseph were herding Jacob's flock at Shechem when Joseph was sent to check on their welfare. Joseph was buried in the plot of ground that his father Jacob had purchased here ( Joshua 24:32 ).

    As the Israelites conquered Canaan, they turned unexpectedly to Shechem. Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal and led the people in its building, renewing their commitment to the law of Moses ( Joshua 8:30-35; compare  Deuteronomy 27:12-13 ). Shechem lay in the tribal territory of Ephraim near their border with Manasseh ( Joshua 17:7 ). It was a city of refuge ( Joshua 20:7 ) and a Levitical city ( Joshua 21:21 ). See  Joshua 24:1-17 ). Gideon's son Abimelech fought the leaders of Shechem ( Judges 8:31-9:49 ).

    Rehoboam, successor to King Solomon, went to Shechem to be crowned king over all Israel ( 1 Kings 12:1 ). Later, when the nation divided into two kingdoms, Shechem became the first capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel ( 1 Kings 12:25 ). Samaria eventually became the permanent political capital of the Northern Kingdom, but Shechem retained its religious importance. It apparently was a sanctuary for worship of God in Hosea's time about 750 B.C. ( 1 Kings 6:9 ).

    The name Shechem occurs in historical records and other sources outside Palestine. It is mentioned as a city captured by Senusert III of Egypt (before 1800 B.C.) and appears in the Egyptian cursing texts of about the same time. “The mountain of Shechem” is referred to in a satirical letter of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Shechem also figures in the Amarna Letters; its ruler, Lab'ayu, and his sons were accused of acting against Egypt, though the ruler protested that he was absolutely loyal to the pharaoh.

    At Shechem (sometimes identified with Sychar), Jesus visited with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well ( John 4:1 ). The Samaritans had built their temple on Mount Gerizim, where they practiced their form of religion.

    Rich Murrell

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

    Shechem ( Shç'Kem ), Shoulder.  Genesis 36:4. A town in the valley between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim; called also Sichem, Sychem, Sychar. Neapolis, and now Nablus, were successively on or near the site of Shechem. It was 34 miles north of Jerusalem, about seven miles southeast of Samaria, and its site is unrivalled for beauty in Palestine. Two mountains parallel to each other, Ebal and Gerizim, almost meeting at their bases and only a mile and a half apart at their summits, enclose a beautiful little valley extending east and west, not more than a, hundred yards wide at the narrowest part, and widening out in both directions. The city is mentioned 48 times in the Bible. Its history begins 4000 years ago, before Jerusalem was founded, and extends through Scripture from Abraham to Christ. Jesus visited the region, preached to a woman at Jacob's well, and many from Sychar believed on him.  John 4:5;  John 4:39-42. whether Sychar occupied precisely the same site as ancient Shechem has been a question in dispute among scholars. Dr. Thomson describes the situation thus: "Nothing in Palestine surpasses (the vale) in fertility and natural beauty; and this is mainly due to the fine mill-stream which flows through it. The whole country is thickly studded with villages, the plains clothed with grass or grain, and the rounded hills with orchards of olive, fig, pomegranate, and other trees... Nablûs is a queer old place. The streets are narrow and vaulted over; and in the wintertime it is difficult to pass along many of them on account of brooks, which rush over the pavement with deafening roar. In this respect I know no city with which to compare it except Brusa; and, like that city, it has mulberry, orange, pomegranate, and other trees mingled in with the houses, whose odoriferous flowers load the air with delicious perfume during the months of April and May. Here the bilbûl delights to sit and sing, and thousands of other birds unite to swell the chorus. See Samaritans.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [9]

    In St. Stephen’s address we read that Jacob and the fathers were carried over unto Shechem and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought of the sons of Hamor in Shechem ( Acts 7:16). There is here a combining of two separate traditions. Jacob was buried at Machpelah ( Genesis 50:13), which Abraham bought from the sons of Heth (23). Jacob himself bought ground from the children of Hamor, and in it Joseph was buried ( Joshua 24:32). This ground was in Shechem. Here Jacob established his residence for some time, and his people entered into the closest relations with the natives. A well, said to have been dug by his orders, was in existence in Christ’s day, and here at Jacob’s well our Lord had His famous interview with the Samaritan woman (John 4). Shechem became famous as a Levite city, and a city of refuge, and still later as the capital of the ten tribes under Jeroboam. It became a city of the Samaritans. Its situation was between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, and it lay on the Roman road from Jerusalem to Galilee.

    Literature.-C. W. Wilson, article‘Shechem,’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols); G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (G. A. Smith), 1900, pp. 120, 332; R. J. Knowling, Expositor’s Greek Testament, ‘Acts,’ 1900, ad loc.

    J. W. Duncan.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

    (Heb. Shekem',. שְׁכֶם ["in pause" She ' Kem, שֶׁכֶם , both as a common noun ( Psalms 21:13) and as a proper name ( Numbers 26:31;  Joshua 17:2;  1 Chronicles 7:19)], A Shoulder ; Sept. Συχέμ ) , the name of three men and one place in the Bible.

    1. The son of Hamor, prince of the country or district of Shechem in which Jacob formed his camp oa his return from Mesopotamia. B.C. 1906. This young man, having seen Jacob's daughter Dinah, was smitten, with her beauty, and deflowered her. This wrong was terribly and cruelly avenged by the damsel's uterine brothers, Simeon and Levi. (See Dinah). It seems likely that the town of Shechem, even if of recent origin, must have existed before the birth of a man so young as Hamor's son appears to have been; aid we may therefore suppose it a name preserved in the family, and which both the town and the princes inherited. See No. 4 below. Shechem's name is always connected with that of his father, Hamor ( Genesis 33:19; Genesis 34;  Joshua 24:32;  Judges 9:28;  Acts 7:16). (See Jacob).

    2. A son of Gilead, of the tribe of Manasseh, and head of the family of the' Shechemites ( Numbers 26:31). B.C. post 1856. His family are again mentioned as the Beni-Shechem ( Joshua 17:2).

    3. In the lists of 1 Chronicles another Shechem is named among the Gileadites as a son of Shemidah, a younger member of the family of the foregoing (7:19). B.C. post 1856. It must have been the recollection of one of these two Gileadites which led Cyril of Alexandria into his strange fancy (quoted by Reland, Paloest. p. 1007, from his Comm. On Hosea ) of placing the city of Shechem on the eastern side of the Jordan.

    4. An ancient and important city of Central Palestine, which still subsists, although under a later designation. In our account of it we introduce the copious illustrations by modern explorers.

    I. The Name. The Hebrew word, as above seen, means a "shoulder," or, more correctly, the upper part of the back, just below the neck, like the Latin dorsum, a ridge (Gesenius, s.v.). The origin of this name is doubtful. Some have supposed it was given to the town from its position on the watershed lying between the valley of the Jordan, on the east, and the Mediterranean, on the west. But this is not altogether correct, for the watershed is more than halfway from the city to the entrance of the valley; and, had it been otherwise, the elevation at that point is so slight that it would neither suggest nor justify this as a distinctive title. It has also been made a question whether the place was so called from Shechem, the son of Hamor, head of their tribe in the time of Jacob ( Genesis 33:18 sq.), or whether he received his name from the city. The import of the name favors, certainly, the latter supposition, since its evident signification as an appellative, in whatever application, would naturally originate such a name; and the name, having been thus introduced, would be likely to appear again and again in the family of the hereditary rulers of the city or region. The name, too, if first given to the city in the time of Hamor, would have been taken, according to historical analogy, from the father rather than the son. Some interpret  Genesis 33:18-19 as showing that Shechem in that passage may have been called also Shalem. But this opinion has no support except from that passage; and the meaning even there more naturally is that Jacob came In Safety to Shechem ( שָׁלֵם , as an adjective, Safe ; comp.  Genesis 28:21); or (as recognized in the English Bible) that Shalem belonged to Shechem as a dependent tributary village. (See Shalem). The name is also given in the, A,V. in the form of SICHEM ( Genesis 12:6) and SYCHEM ( Acts 7:16), to which, as well as SYCHAR ( John 4:5), the reader is referred. In the Sept., above stated, it is (as in the New Test. above) usually designated by Συχέμ , but also Σίκιμα in  1 Kings 12:25; and Τὰ Σίκιμα , as in  Joshua 24:32, which is the form generally used by Josephus and Eusebius (in the Onomast.). But the place has also been known by very different names from these variations of the ancient Shechem. To say nothing of Mabortha ( Μαβορθά or Μαβαθρά ), which Josephus says ( War, 4, 8, 1) it was called by the people of the country ( מִעֲבִרְתָּא , Ithe Thoroughfare or Gorge ) , and which also appears, with a slight variation ( Mamortha ) in Pliny ( Hist. Nat. 5, 13), Josephus ( Ibid. ) calls it Neapolis ( Νεάπολις , "New Town"), from its having been rebuilt by Vespasian after the Roman war in Palestine; and this name is found on coins still extant (Enckel, Doctr. Num. 3, 433). (See Neapolis). This last name it has still retained in the Arab Nablus, and is one of the very few instances throughout the country where the comparatively modern name has supplanted the original

    II. Location . The scriptural indications of its locality are not numerous. Joshua places it in Mount Ephraim (20:7; see also  1 Kings 12:25). Shiloh was "on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem" ( Judges 21:19); hence Shechem must have been farther north than Shiloh. In the story of Jotham it is more precisely located under Mount Gerizim (9:7); which corresponds with the more full and exact description of Josephus, who places it between Gerizim and Ebal (Ant. 4,8, 44). Further, Shechem, as we learn from Joseph's history ( Genesis 37:12, etc.), must have been near Dothan; and, assuming Dothan to be the place of that name a few miles northeast of Nablus, Shechem must have been among the same mountains, not far distant. So, too, as the Sychar in  John 4:5 was probably the ancient Shechem, that town must have been near Mount Gerizim, to which the Samaritan woman pointed or glanced as she stood by the well at its foot. The collateral evidences in support of this opinion we may briefly state.

    1. The city is not built on an elevated position, as almost all the towns of Palestine are, but at the foot of Gerizim and along the valley, indicating a date anterior to the warlike and unsettled state of the country which led the inhabitants to select a more secure and defensive site for their towns; as also the unwillingness of the people through future generations to change the site of their ancient and renowned city.

    2. The advantage which it affords of a good supply of running water a most important consideration in that climate especially. No spot in this favored locality has such an abundance as the city itself.

    3. The road which has connected the valley with the summit of Mount Gerizim through all past ages is the one ascending behind the present town. It is true that there is another path leading up from the valley about halfway between the city and the east end of the valley; but this has never been more than a kind of by path, used by few except shepherds.

    4. The antiquities in and around the city. These are neither numerous nor important in themselves, but as evidence on the subject in question they are of considerable value. They consist of portions of walls, cisterns, fragments of potteries, and such like, all of early date, and some evidently of Hebrew origin. These being either within the walls of the present city, or in its immediate vicinity, and none to be met with in any other part of the valley, seem to be a pretty conclusive proof that the present site is the original one.

    5. The narrative of Jotham's parable to the people of Shechem clearly indicates the same spot ( Judges 9:7-21). He would have stood on one of those large projections of Gerizim that overlook the city; and in no other spot in the valley would the whole story tally so well. Josephus, in relating Jotham's exploit, confirms this beyond all dispute. His words are that Jotham went up to Mount Gerizim, which overhangs the city Shechem (Ant. v, 7, 2). We may remark that Josephus usually retains the old name Shechem when speaking of the city, but occasionally adopts, the new name, Neapolis (War, 4, 8, 1); and thus clearly identifies Shechem with Nablus. This was certainly the Jewish opinion, as we read in Midrash Rabbah that "Shechem in Mount Ephraim is Napulis." So, also, the early Christians Epiphanius (Adv. Hoer. 3, 1055) and Jerome (Epit. Paula). The only ancient author that makes a distinction between Shechem and Nablus is Eusebius, if indeed he means to assert the fact, which seems doubtful from his mode of expression (Onomast. s.v. Τερέβινθος , Συχέμ ) . But his contemporary, the Bordeaux Pilgrim, who visited the place in A.D. 333, not only identities the two, but also never calls the city by its new name, Neapolis, but only its ancient name, Sychem; and most likely he thus only expressed the general and probably universal opinion that then prevailed among both Jews and Christians. The ancient town, in its most flourishing age, may have filled a wider circuit than its modern representative. It could easily have extended farther up the side of Gerizim, and eastward nearer to the opening into the valley from the plain But any great change in this respect, certainly the idea of an altogether different position, the natural conditions of the locality render doubtful. That the suburbs of the town, in the age of Christ, approached nearer than at present to the entrance into the valley between Gerizim and Ebal may be inferred from the implied vicinity of Jacob's well to Sychar in John's narrative ( John 4:1 sq.). The impression made there on the reader is that the people could be readily seen as they came forth from the town to repair to Jesus at the well; whereas Nablus is more than a mile distant, and not visible from that point. The present inhabitants have a belief or tradition that Shechem occupied a portion of the valley on the east beyond the limits of the modern town; and certain travelers speak of ruins there, which they regard as evidence of the same fact. The statement of Eusebius that Sychar lay east of Neapolis may be explained by the circumstance that the part of Neapolis in that quarter had fallen into such a state of ruin when he lived as to be mistaken for-the site of a separate town (see Reland, Palest.. p. 1004). The portion of the town on the edge of the plain was more exposed than that in the recess of the valley, and, in the natural course of things, would be destroyed first, or be left to desertion and decay. Josephus says that more than ten thousand Samaritans (inhabitants of Shechem are meant) were destroyed by the Romans on one occasion (War, 3, 7, 32). The population, therefore, must have been much greater than Nablus, with its present dimensions, would contain.

    III. History . 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  Genesis 12:6). Some have inferred from the expression "place of Shechem" ( מְקוֹם שְׁכֶם ) that it was not inhabited as a city in the time of Abraham. But we have the same expression used of cities or towns in other instances ( Genesis 18:24;  Genesis 19:12;  Genesis 29:22); and it may have been interchanged here, without any difference of meaning, with the phrase, "city of Shechem," which occurs in  Genesis 33:18. A position affording such natural advantages would hardly fail to be occupied as soon as any population existed in the country. The narrative shows incontestably that at the time of Jacob's arrival here, after his sojourn in Mesopotamia ( Genesis 33:18; ch. 34), Shechem was a Hivite city, of which Hamor, the father of Shechem, was the head man. 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 ( Genesis 43:22;  Joshua 24:32;  John 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.

    The defilement of Dinah, Jacob's daughter, and the capture of Shechem and massacre of all the male inhabitants by Simeon and Levi, are events that belong to this period ( Genesis 34:1 sq.). As this bloody act, which Jacob so entirely condemned ( Genesis 34:30) and reprobated with his dying breath ( Genesis 49:5-7), is ascribed to two persons, some urge that as evidence of the very insignificant character of the town at the time of that transaction. But the argument is by no means decisive. Those sons of Jacob were already at the head of households of their own, and may have had the support, in that achievement of their numerous slaves and retainers. We speak in like manner of a commander as taking this or that city when we mean that it was done under his leadership. The oak under which Abraham had worshipped survived to Jacob's time; and the latter, as he was about to remove to Beth-el, collected the images and amulets which some of his family had brought with them from Padan-aram and buried them "under the oak which was by Shechem" ( Genesis 35:1-4). The "oak of the monument" (if we adopt that rendering of אֵלוֹן מֻצָּב in  Judges 9:6), where the Shechemites made Abimelech king, marked, perhaps, the veneration with which the Hebrews looked back to these earliest footsteps (the Incunabula Gentis ) of the patriarchs in the Holy Land. (See Meonenim).

    During Jacob's sojourn at Hebron his sons, in the course of their pastoral wanderings, drove their flocks to Shechem, and at Dothan, in that neighborhood, Joseph, who had been sent to look after their welfare, was seized and sold to the Ishmaelites ( Genesis 37:12;  Genesis 37:28). In the distribution of the land after its conquest by the Hebrews, Shechem fell to the lot of Ephraim ( Joshua 20:7), but was assigned to the Levites, and became a city of refuge (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 ( Deuteronomy 27:11; Joshua 9:32-35). It was here Joshua assembled the people, shortly before his death, and delivered to them his last counsels ( Joshua 24:1;  Joshua 24:25). After the death of Gideon, Abimelech, his bastard son, induced the Shechemites to revolt from, the Hebrew commonwealth and elect him as king (Judges 9). It was to denounce this act of usurpation and treason that Jotham delivered his parable of the trees to the men of Shechem from the top of Gerizim, as recorded at length in  Judges 9:22 sq. The picturesque traits of the allegory, as Prof. Stanley suggests (Sinai and Palestine, p. 236; Jewish Church, p. 348), are strikingly appropriate to the diversified foliage of the region. In revenge for his expulsion, after a reign of three years, Abimelech destroyed the city, and, as an emblem of the fate to which he would consign it, sowed the ground with salt ( Judges 9:34-45).

    It was soon restored, however, for we are told in 1 Kings 12 that all Israel assembled at Shechem, and Rehoboam, Solomon's successor, went thither to be inaugurated as king. Its central position made it convenient for such assemblies; its history was fraught with recollections which would give the sanctions of religion as well as of patriotism to the vows of sovereign and people. The new king's obstinacy made him insensible to such influences. Here, at this same place, the ten tribes renounced the house of David and transferred their allegiance to Jeroboam ( 1 Kings 12:16), under whom Shechem became for a time the capital of his kingdom. We come next to the epoch of the exile.. The people of Shechem doubtless shared the fate of the other inhabitants, and were, most of them at least, carried into captivity ( 2 Kings 17:5-6;  2 Kings 18:9 sq.). But Shalmaneser, the conqueror, sent colonies from Babylonia to occupy the place of the exiles (17:24). It would seem that there was another influx of strangers, at a later period, under Esar-haddon ( Ezra 4:2). The "certain men from Shechem" mentioned in  Jeremiah 41:5, who were slain on their way to Jerusalem, were possibly Cuthites, i.e. Babylonian immigrants who had become proselytes or worshippers of Jehovah (see Hitzig, Der Proph. Jeremiah p. 331)., These Babylonian settlers in the land, intermixed, no doubt, to some extent with the old inhabitants, were the Samaritans, who erected at length a rival temple on Gerizim (B.C. 300), and between whom and the Jews a bitter hostility existed for so many ages (Josephus, Ant. 12, 1, 1; 13, 3, 4). The Son of Sirach (1, 26) says that "a foolish people," i.e. the Samaritans, "dwelt at Shechem" ( Τὰ Σίκιμα ) . From its vicinity to their place of worship, it became the principal city of the Samaritans, a rank which it maintained at least till the destruction of their temple, about B.C. 129, a period of nearly two hundred years ( Ibid. 13, 9, 1; War, 1, 2, 6). From the time of the origin of the Samaritans the history of Shechem blends itself with that of this people and of their sacred mount, Gerizim; and the reader will find the proper information on this part of the subject under those heads. The city was taken and the temple destroyed by John Hyrcanus, B.C. 129 (Ant. 13, 9, 1; War, 1, 2, 6).

    As already intimated, Shechem reappears in the New Test. It is probably the Sychar of  John 4:5, near which the Savior conversed with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. Συχάρ , as the place is termed there ( Σιχάρ in Rec. Text is incorrect), found only in that passage, was no doubt current among the Jews in the age of Christ, and was either a term of reproach ( שֶׁקֶר , "a lie") with reference to the Samaritan faith and worship, or, possibly, a provincial mispronunciation of that period (see Lucke, Comm. Ub. Johan. 1, 577). The Savior, with his disciples, remained two days at Sychar on his journey from Judaea to Galilee. He preached the Word there, and many of the people believed on him ( John 4:39-40). In  Acts 7:16, Stephen reminds his hearers that certain of the patriarchs (meaning Joseph, as we see in  Joshua 24:32, and following, perhaps, some tradition as to Jacob's other sons) were buried at Sychem. Jerome, who lived so long hardly more than a day's journey from Shechem, says that the tombs of the twelve patriarchs were to be seen there in his day. The anonymous city in  Acts 8:5, where Philip preached with such effect, may have been Sychem, though many would refer that narrative to Samaria, the capital of the province.

    We have seen that not long after the times of the New Test. the place received the name of Neapolis, which it still retains in the Arabic form of Nablus, being one of the very few names imposed by the Romans in Palestine which have survived to the present day. It had probably suffered much, if it was not completely destroyed, in the war with the Romans (see Rambach, De Urbe Sichem Sale Conspersa [Hal. 1730]), and would seem to have been restored or rebuilt by Vespasian, and then to have taken this new name; for the coins of the city, of which there are many, all bear the inscription Flavia Neapolis the former epithet no doubt derived from Flavius Vespasian (Mionnet, Med. Antiq. 5, 499). The name occurs first in Josephus (War, 4, 8, 1), and then in Pliny; (Hist. Nat. 5, 14), Ptolemy (Geog. v, 16). As intimated above, there had already been converts to the Christian faith at this place under our Savior, and it is probable that a Church had been gathered here by the apostles ( John 4:30-42;  Acts 8:25;  Acts 9:31;  Acts 15:3). Justin Martyr was a native of Neapolis (Apolog. 2, 41). The name of Germanus, bishop of Neapolis, occurs in A.D. 314; and other, bishops continue to be mentioned down to A.D. 536, when the bishop John signed his name at the synod of Jerusalem (Reland, Palest. p. 1009). When the Moslems invaded Palestine, Neapolis and other small towns in the neighborhood were subdued. while the siege of Jerusalem was going on (Abulfeda, Annal. 1, 229). After the taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, Neapolis and other towns in the mountains of Samaria tendered their submission, and Tancred took possession of them without resistance (Will. Tyr. 9, 20). Neapolis was laid waste by the Saracens in A.D. 1113; but a few years after (A.D. 1120) a council was held here by king Baldwin II to consult upon the state of the country (Fulcher, p. 424; Will. Ty

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    shē´kem ( שׁכם , shekhem , "shoulder"; Συχέμ , Suchém , ἡ Σίκιμα , Sı́kima , τὰ Σίκιμα , Sı́kima , etc.; the King James Version gives "Sichem" in   Genesis 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 Palestine ( Genesis 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" (  Genesis 35:4 ). Hither he had come after his meeting with Esau ( Genesis 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 ( Genesis 33:19 ). Here also he raised an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel, "God, the God of Israel" ( Genesis 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 ( Genesis 37:12 ff). It is mentioned as lying to the West of Michmethath ( el - Makhneh ) on the boundary of Manasseh ( Joshua 17:7 ). It was in the territory of Ephraim; it was made a city of refuge, and assigned to the Kohathite Levites ( Joshua 20:7;  Joshua 21:21 ). Near the city the Law was promulgated ( Deuteronomy 27:11;  Joshua 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 ( Joshua 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 ( Joshua 24:33 ). Abimelech, whose mother was a native of the city, persuaded the men of Shechem to make him king ( Judges 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 ( Judges 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 (  Judges 9:4 ,  Judges 9:46 ). 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 Kings 12:1;  2 Chronicles 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 ( Jeremiah 41:5 ff). It became the central city of the Samaritans, whose shrine was built on Mt. Gerizim (Sirach 50:26; Ant. , XI, viii, 6; Xii , i, 1; Xiii , iii, 4). Shechem was captured by John Hyrcanus in 132 Bc ( Ant. , Xiii , ix, 1; BJ , I, ii, 6). It appears in the New Testament only in the speech of Stephen ( Acts 7:16 , King James Version "Sychem"). Some (e.g. Smith, DB , under the word) would identify it with Sychar of  John 4:5; but see Sychar . Under the Romans it became Flavia Neapolis. In later times it was the seat of a bishopric; the names of five occupants of the see are known.

    2. Location and Physical Features:

    There is no doubt as to the situation of ancient Shechem. It lay in the pass which cuts through Mts. Ephraim, Ebal and Gerizim, guarding it on the North and South respectively. Along this line runs the great road which from time immemorial has formed the easiest and the quickest means of communication between the East of the Jordan and the sea. It must have been a place of strength from antiquity. The name seems to occur in Travels of a Mohar (Max Muller, Asien u. Europa , 394), "Mountain of Sahama" probably referring to Ebal or Gerizim. The ancient city may have lain somewhat farther East than the modern Nāblus , in which the Roman name Neapolis survives. The situation is one of great beauty. The city lies close to the foot of Gerizim. The terraced slopes of the mountain rise steeply on the South. Across the valley, musical with the sound of running water, the great bulk of Ebal rises on the North, its sides, shaggy with prickly pear, sliding down into grain fields and orchards. The copious springs which supply abundance of water rise at the base of Gerizim. The fruitful and well-wooded valley winds westward among the hills. It is traversed by the carriage road leading to Jaffa and the sea. Eastward the valley opens upon the plain of Makhneh. To the East of the city, in a recess at the base of Gerizim, is the sanctuary known as Rijāl el - ‛Amūd , literally, "men of the column" or "pillar," where some would locate the ancient "oak of Moreh" or "of the pillar." Others would find it in a little village farther East with a fine spring, called Balāṭa , a name which may be connected with ballūṭ , "oak." Still farther to the East and near the base of Ebal is the traditional tomb of Joseph, a little white-domed building beside a luxuriant orchard. On the slope of the mountain beyond is the village of ‛Askar  ; see Sychar . To the South of the vale is the traditional Well of Jacob; see &JACOB'S Well . To the Southwest of the city is a small mosque on the spot where Jacob is said to have mourned over the blood-stained coat of Joseph. In the neighboring minaret is a stone whereon the Ten Commandments are engraved in Samaritan characters. The main center of interest in the town is the synagogue of the Samaritans, with their ancient manuscript of the Pentateuch.

    3. Modern Shechem:

    The modern town contains about 20,000 inhabitants, the great body of them being Moslems. There are some 700 or 800 Christians, chiefly belonging to the Greek Orthodox church. The Samaritans do not total more than 200. The place is still the market for a wide district, both East and West of Jordan. A considerable trade is done in cotton and wool. Soap is manufactured in large quantities, oil for this purpose being plentifully supplied by the olive groves. Tanning and the manufacture of leather goods are also carried on. In old times the slopes of Ebal were covered with vineyards; but these formed a source of temptation to the "faithful." They were therefore removed by authority, and their place taken by the prickly pears mentioned above.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

    Shechem, 1

    Shechem, a town of central Palestine, in Samaria, among the mountains of Ephraim , in the narrow valley between the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim (comp. ), and consequently within the tribe of Ephraim . It is in N. lat. 32°17′, E. long. 35°20′, being thirty-four miles north of Jerusalem and seven miles south of Samaria. It was a very ancient place, and appears to have arisen as a town in the interval between the arrival of Abraham in Palestine and the return of Jacob from Padan-aram, for it is mentioned only as a place, described by reference to the oaks in the neighborhood, when Abraham came there on first entering the land of Canaan . But, in the history of Jacob it repeatedly occurs as a town having walls and gates: it could not, however, have been very large or important, if we may judge from the consequence which the inhabitants attached to an alliance with Jacob, and from the facility with which the sons of the patriarch were able to surprise and destroy them (;;;; ). After the conquest of the country, Shechem was made a city of refuge , and one of the Levitical towns , and during the lifetime of Joshua it was a center of union to the tribes , probably because it was the nearest considerable town to the residence of that chief in Timnath-serah. In the time of the judges, Shechem became the capital of the kingdom set up by Abimelech (, sq.), but was at length conquered and destroyed by him . It must, however, have been before long rebuilt, for it had again become of so much importance by the time of Rehoboam's accession, that he there gave the meeting to the delegates of the tribes, which ended in the separation of the kingdom . It was Shechem which the first monarch of the new kingdom made the capital of his dominions (; comp. 14:17), although later in his reign the pleasantness of Tirzah induced him to build a palace there, and to make it the summer residence of his court; which gave it such importance, that it at length came to be regarded as the capital of the kingdom, till Samaria eventually deprived it of that honor [ISRAEL]. Shechem, however, still throve. It subsisted during the exile and continued, for many ages after, the chief seat of the Samaritans and of their worship, their sole temple being upon the mountain (Gerizim), at whose foot the city stood [SAMARITANS]. The city was taken, and the temple destroyed, by John Hyrcanus, B.C. 129. In the New Testament it occurs under the name of Sychar , which seems to have been a sort of nick name, such as the Jews were fond of imposing upon places they disliked. Stephen, however, in his historical retrospect, still uses the proper and ancient name . Not long after the times of the New Testament the place received the name of Neapolis, which it still retains in the Arabic form of Nabulus, being one of the very few names imposed by the Romans in Palestine which have survived to the present day. It had probably suffered much, if it was not completely destroyed, in the war with the Romans, and would seem to have been restored or rebuilt by Vespasian, and then to have taken this new name. It has remained in the hands of the Muhammadans since A.D. 1242.

    There is no reason to question that the present town occupies the site of the ancient Shechem, although its dimensions are probably more contracted. The fertility and beauty of the deep and narrow valley in which the town stands, especially in its immediate neighborhood, have been much admired by travelers, as far exceeding what they had seen in any other part of Palestine. The town itself is long and narrow, extending along the N.E. base of Mount Gerizim, and partly resting upon its declivity. The population of the place is rated by Dr. Olin at 8000 or 10,000, of whom 500 or 600 are Christians of the Greek communion, and the rest Muslims, with the exception of about 130 Samaritans, and one-third that number of Jews. The inhabitants bear the character of being an unusually valiant as well as a turbulent race, and some years since maintained a desperate struggle against the Egyptian government in some bloody rebellions.

    Shechem, 2

    Shechem, son of Hamor, prince of the country or district of Shechem, in which Jacob formed his camp on his return from Mesopotamia. This young man having seen Jacob's daughter Dinah, was smitten with her beauty, and deflowered her. This wrong was terribly and cruelly avenged by the damsel's uterine brothers, Simeon and Levi, as described in the article Dinah (Genesis 34). It seems likely that the town of Shechem, even if of recent origin, must have existed before the birth of a man so young as Hamor's son appears to have been; and we may therefore suppose it a name preserved in the family, and which both the town and the princes inherited. Shechem's name is always connected with that of his father Hamor (; Genesis 34; ).