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A city located forty-one miles north of Jerusalem in the pass between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. It dominated an important trade route and controlled a fertile valley to the east. Shechem was the first city visited by Abraham in his migration from Haran (Gen 12:6), but it figures most prominently in the traditions associated with Jacob. It was the scene of the rape of Dinah (Gen 34); a narrative in which the prince and the city have the same name). When the Hebrews returned to Canaan from Egyptian slavery, they brought Joseph’s mummified body with them and buried it in a tomb near the city (Josh 24:32). It was then identified as a Kohathite levitical city of refuge (Josh 21:20-21). At Shechem Joshua renewed the Sinai covenant with Israel’s tribal leaders, probably at the temple of the Lord of the Covenant (Josh 24). Abimelech, a son of Gideon by a concubine who lived at Shechem, roused the Shechemites to his support and had himself declared king (Judg 9:1-6). In later centuries, Rehoboam went there to be crowned king (924 BCE) in the northern part of his kingdom (1Kgs 12:1), and the city served for a time as Jeroboam’s capital (1Kgs 12:25).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.