Who and what is…
This is the name of 2 biblical men and a city.
Shechem, a son of Hamor the Hivite (Genesis 33:19)
Shechem, a descendant of Manasseh (Numbers 26:31; Joshua 17:2)
Shechem, a city in Samaria on the highway to Jerusalem
also known as: Sichem (Genesis 12:6), Greek: Sychem (Acts 7:16), Sychar (John 4:5), Neapolis, Nablus, Tell Balatad
Site of biblical Shechem—satellite view
The name of this city first appears in Genesis 33:18. It was a very old Canaanite city that stood in a strategic narrow sheltered valley between Mount Ebal on the north and Mount Gerizim on the south, these mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. It is considered one of the oldest settlements in Canaan. After the Israelite conquest, Shechem belonged to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 17:7).
Biblical events here
Abraham—Here Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Genesis 12:6-7).
- Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpelah here (Acts 7:16)—a double cave
He bought it from the sons of Heth (Genesis 25:9-10). This became the burial place of his wife Sarah and of Abraham himself, and also of his son Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (named Israel by God) (Genesis 49:31; 50:13). (also see: Ishmael)
Jacob—Here also Jacob “bought a parcel of a field at the hands of the children of Hamor” the Hivite 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.)
Jacob’s Well—Here too, after a while, Jacob dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John 4:5, 39-42)—see Jacob’s Well.
Joshua assembled Israel here and gave a parting address—Joshua gathered all Israel to Shechem “before God,” and delivered to them his 2nd parting address (Joshua 24:1-15).
Joshua’s covenant with the Israelites—Joshua “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 Mount Ebal and Mount 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.
City of Refuge—Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city of refuge for Western Israel (Joshua 20:7).
- Levite city—Shechem became a Levite city, of the Kohathites (Joshua 21:20-21)
Grave of Joseph—Here the bones of Joseph were buried (24:32).
Rehoboam appointed king here—Rehoboam was appointed king in Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19).
King Jeroboam lived here—Jeroboam afterwards took up his residence here.
Christ’s famous conversation at Jacob’s Well with a Samaritan woman—This city is mentioned in connection with our Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria.
He [Christ] left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar [Shechem], near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her,
“Give Me a drink.”
…the Samaritan woman said to Him,
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” —John 4:3-10 NASB
This city is one of the world’s oldest and still remains in existence to the present day, under a different name. It is the modern Nablus, a contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Emperor Vespasian. It lies about 1½ miles up the valley on its southern slope, and on the north of Mount Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem.
Modern Nabulus, in West Bank, Israel (population 126-thousand)—satellite view
A city called 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.
Article Version: April 30, 2018