Shechem (Shek´uhm)

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).

Gen 12:6

6Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Gen 34

The Rape of Dinah
1Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the region.2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, ... View more

Josh 24:32

32The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the portion of ground that Jacob had bought from the children ... View more

Josh 21:20-21

20As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite families of the Levites, the towns allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim.21To them wer ... View more

Josh 24

The Tribes Renew the Covenant
1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Isr ... View more

Judg 9:1-6

Abimelech Attempts to Establish a Monarchy
1Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's kinsfolk and said to them and to the whole clan of hi ... View more

1Kgs 12:1

The Northern Tribes Secede
1Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.

1Kgs 12:25

Jeroboam's Golden Calves
25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided there; he went out from there and built Penuel.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.