Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Schaff's Bible Dictionary

Definitions in Biblical History

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z   

What is Shecheh?
        (shoulder), a town in the valley between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim; called also Sichem, Sychem, and Sychar; in later times it was known as Neapolis, and now its Arabic name is Nablus. It was 34 miles north of Jerusalem, about 7 miles south-east 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. At the narrowest part of the vale is the town of Nablus, clinging to the slope of Gerizim, the "mountain of blessing." It is at an altitude of 1950 feet above the sea. Scripture History. - The city is mentioned forty-eight times in the Bible. Its history begins four thousand years ago, when Jerusalem had no existence, extends through Scripture from Abraham to Christ, and continues to the present day. When Abraham came from Chaldaea to the land which God should give him, he halted at the "place of Sichem." Gen 12:6. When Jacob came from Mesopotamia, Shechem was a Hivite city, and Jacob bought from Hamor the parcel of the field which he afterward gave to his son Joseph. Gen 33:18-19; Gen 43:22; Josh 24:32; John 4:5. Shechem was captured and the male inhabitants murdered by Simeon and Levi. Gen 34; Gen 49:5-7. Abraham worshipped under the oak which was by Shechem, and there Jacob buried the images brought by his family from Padan-aram; and Joseph came from Hebron to Shechem and Dothan, seeking his brethren, and there also Joseph was buried. Gen 27:12-28; Josh 24:32. A solemn dedicatory service of the whole nation took place near Shechem. Deut 11:29-30. Abimelech caused the Shechemites to revolt from the Hebrews and to elect him as king, but after a reign of three years he was expelled, and in revenge destroyed the city and sowed the ground with salt. Judg 9. It was rebuilt, and Rehoboam went there to be crowned; but, in consequence of the revolt, he fled. The city was fortified by Jeroboam, who made it the first seat of the northern kingdom. 1 Kgs 12:1-19, 1 Kgs 12:25; 2 Chr 10. Men of Shechem were slain by Ishmael. Jer 41:3, 1 Chr 6:5. After the Captivity, Shechem became the centre of Samaritan worship. See Samaria. N.T. references to this city are few. 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. Stephen refers to the sepulchres of the patriarchs at Sychem. Acts 7:16. During the Christian period Neapolis became the seat of a bishop. Justin Martyr was born there. The Crusaders took it after the conquest of Jerusalem; Baldwin II. held a great diet there, a.d. 1120. Present Appearance. - Modern travellers bear uniform testimony to the beauty of the scenery of Nablus. Dr. Robinson calls it "a scene of luxuriant and almost unparalleled verdure." Dean Stanley, says it is "the most beautiful - perhaps the only very beautiful - spot in Central Palestine," and Tristram says the landscape is "the richest in Palestine." It Shechem (Nabulus) Mount Gerazim on the left. Mount Ebal on the right. is abundantly supplied with water; vegetation is luxuriant; there are olive trees and orange groves and palm trees. The streets of the town are cleaner, and its houses as a rule better, than those of Jerusalem, being high, built of stone, and crowned with domes. The side streets are often like low cellars, quite dark, vaulted, and narrow, and so low that the passengers can scarcely stand upright, except in the centre of them. The town is a considerable centre of trade and manufactures. Cotton became the staple of the place a few years ago, and a cotton-mill was erected. There is also a trade in wool, and there are a score of manufactories of soap, which is made from olive oil. The bazaar exhibits a great variety of wares. The inhabitants are chiefly Mussulmans. Tristram estimated the population at 9000, of whom about 650 were Christians, 200 Samaritans, and a few Jews. There is a Protestant school, supported by the English Church Missionary Society. Baedeker estimates the population at 13,000, including 140 Samaritans, a few Jews, 600 Christians of the Greek Orthodox Church, and a few Latins and Protestants. The people still preserve their ancient reputation as restless, turbulent, and quarrelsome. Among the principal attractions of the town is the great mosque Jami el-Kebir, originally a church of the Crusaders, dedicated to St. John, and completed a.d. 1167. There are two other mosques which were originally churches of the Crusaders. In the south-western part of the town is the Samaritan synagogue (Keniset es-Samireh), a small, plain whitewashed room, the pavement of which is covered with matting and must not be trodden on with shoes. The Samaritans still retain their hereditary form of worship, and possess the famous Samaritan Codex of the Pentateuch, which is guarded with great care. Sometimes a copy is shown instead of the original, which they derive from a grandson of Aaron. See Samaria. The well which Jacob dug, and upon which our Lord rested and talked with a woman of Samaria, is near Nablus. See Jacob's Well. A little distance north of Jacob's well is the reputed site of Joseph's tomb, Josh 24:32, which has been preserved from molestation from age to age by the common reverence in which the patriarch is held by Jew, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim alike. The building shown is comparatively modern, being a common Muslim tomb in a square enclosure. It was recently restored by Mr. Rogers, an English consul at Damascus, in 1868. The Muslims claim that Joseph's body is in the cave of Machpelah, at Hebron, having been carried thither from Shechem. The granite shafts belonging possibly to the Samaritan temple on Gerizim are to be found amidst the ruins of a Roman villa in the plain, and again in another site of same date at a little distance. At the foot of the northern slope of Gerizim is a cemetery. The place is called El Amud("the column"), and the Rev. George Williams has with much probability identified it with "the pillar that was in Sheehem," where Abimelech was made king, Jud 9:6, and with the oak of Moreh, near which Abraham built his first altar to the Lord after entering the Promised Land, and where Joshua set up a great stone. Josh 24:26.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'shecheh' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

Copyright Information
© Schaff's Bible Dictionary

Schaff's Bible Dictionary Home
Bible History Online Home


Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Online Bible (KJV)
Naves Topical Bible
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Schaff's Bible Dictionary
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary