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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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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.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Shechem'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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