Who and what is…

Hebrew: שְׁכֶם or שכם —transliteration: Shekem —possible meaning: shoulder or ridge

Shechem is the name of 2 biblical men and a city where important Biblical events took place.


  1. Shechem, a son of Hamor the Hivite

    His descendants are called Shechemites.

    And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money [a hundred qesitah] the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel [God, the God of Israel]. —Genesis 33:18-20 ESV

  2. Shechem, a descendant of Manasseh (Numbers 26:31; Joshua 17:2)

    His family/descendants are also called Shechemites.

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), Flavia Neapolis (Roman), Nablus (modern city), Balata' Hill, Tell Balatad (archaeological dig site)

Site of excavated ruins of biblical Shechem—satellite view / The modern city of Nabulus is biblical Shechem.

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).

Overlooking the city of Shechem is Mount Ebal where the first great altar to YHWH was built by Joshua (see Mount Ebal).

Biblical events at Shechem

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.

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Article Version: April 26, 2022