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.
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
His family/descendants are also called Shechemites.
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 at Shechem
- 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.)
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.Streaming video—“Has Joshua’s Altar Been Found on Mt. Ebal?”
- Levite city—Shechem became a Levite city, of the Kohathites (Joshua 21:20-21)
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,
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.
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.
- What is JACOB’S WELL?
- What is SYCHAR?
- What is SICHEM?
- What is NEAPOLIS?
- What is MOUNT EBAL?
- What is MOUNT GERIZIM?
- Archaeological discoveries related to “Abimelech at Shechem” by Bryant G. Wood PhD (Associates for Biblical Research) —“For some 800 years, from the time of Jacob until the time of Gideon, Shechem was an important highland urban center controlling the area from Megiddo to Jerusalem. It is no surprise, then, that Gideon's son Abimelech went to the leaders of Shechem to gain support for his failed attempt to become king of the Israelite tribes. Three archaeological discoveries at Shechem relate to the narrative of Judges 9. …”
- Cities of the Bible