from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shechem (Israel)

Shechem, also Sechem, Shakmi or Shechem ( Hebrew שְׁכֶם / שְׁכָם šəkhæm) (Tell Balāṭa) was an ancient city in central Palestine , the remains of which were excavated in the middle of the modern Palestinian city of Nablus .

Name and topography

The name can be derived from the Hebrew word schechem , which means the neck between the shoulders (according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary). An important connecting road leads from the Mediterranean via the town of Shechem to the Jordan Valley and on to Gilead . Shechem, so to speak, forms the neck - the top of the pass - between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Valley. The name of the place Shechem indicates this geographical occurrence. The top of the pass - with the city of Shechem - is between the mountains of Gizim (in the south) and Ebal (in the north).


Already in the early 4th millennium BC The location was settled by Shechem. In the Middle and Late Bronze Age (around 2000–1200 BC), Shechem was an important Canaanite city ​​that was established around 1900 BC. With its king Ibisch-Hadad was mentioned in an Egyptian text of condemnation . In the 16./15. Century BC BC it was destroyed by the Egyptians, but then rebuilt. In the Amarna letters , Shechem appears several times as Shakmi (e.g. EA 289 ). The ruler at this point was a certain Lab'aia , who rebelled against the Egyptian king and was eventually murdered by the men of Gila. Shechem also seems to have dominated Ginti-kirmil at this time , as evidenced by a clay cylinder discovered in 1993 in Bet She'an . In the Bronze Age Shechem stood several temples as well as a large palace, in the middle of the 12th century BC. However, Shechem was destroyed and remained deserted for about 100 years. This destruction could be related to the war between Abimelech and the city of Shechem mentioned in the Bible ( JudgmentEU ).

The Old Testament of the Bible first mentions the town as a preliminary destination for Abraham's passage through the land of Canaan . An oak called "More" is said to have stood there ( Gen 12.6  EU ). At this point, YHWH , the God of Israel, appeared to Abraham and promised his descendants the ownership of the land of Canaan. Then he built an altar there to God . In Bethel northeast of it he built another altar (Gen. 12: 6-8).

In Gen. 33: 18-20  EU , Shechem is mentioned again as the place where Jacob bought land and built an altar after his reconciliation with Esau . But his sons Levi and Simeon attacked and murdered the inhabitants of the city after the eponymous Canaanite king Shechem , a descendant of Ham and his son Canaan, fell in love with the Semitic woman Dina and shared the camp with her. He proposed a wedding to their Semitic brothers, who found out about his honorable intentions. That wasn't enough for the brothers. They demanded that all male Canaanites be circumcised. On the third day after the circumcision, when the men of the land were still in pain, the sons of Jacob fell like beasts on the Canaanite inhabitants of Shechem, killing all males, ransacking the houses of the city and taking women and children prisoner (Genesis 34: 1-31). In order to avert the consequences of this crime, Jacob moves again to Bethel (formerly Lus) with his entire household at the behest of God. Jacob (Israel) demands the surrender of all idols and related ornaments that he buries under a large tree near Shechem. In Bethel he builds an altar and calls the place El-Bethel (means "God of Bethel") ( Gen 35: 1-7  EU ).

After the successful colonization and conquest of all of Canaan (13th century BC), Joshua , the successor of Moses , finally gathered all twelve tribes of Israel in Shechem to commit them to a common belief in one God, theirs Called fathers and freed them from Egypt ( Jos 24  EU ). This story of the "Diet of Shechem" is considered in OT research as a document of the early agreement of the Hebrews on a common YHWH cult under the leadership of the Joseph tribe . Because probably only a small part of these tribes had previously been in Egypt and brought the belief in YHWH with them from the desert , while most of them infiltrated into the cultivated land or conquered it by other routes. Along with Bethel, Shechem can thus be regarded as one of the earliest YHWH sanctuaries, where the proclamation of common faith, the memory of God's leadership, the discarding of foreign gods and the vow of loyalty to the one God of Israel were regularly practiced.

After the repopulation of Shechem in the 11./10. In the 19th century, the city soon played an important role again when the northern tribes of the Israelites rose against the Judean king Rehoboam in Shechem after Solomon's death . The new Israelite king Jeroboam I made Shechem the capital of his empire, which, however, was replaced after a few decades, first by Tirza and finally by Samaria . As a result, Shechem became less and less important. 107 BC It was conquered by John Hyrcanus I and then abandoned.

In the Bible

The New Testament of the Bible locates the grave of the Patriarchs , according to the Acts of the Apostles (7.16 EU ), falsely by Shechem .

" 16 They were brought to Shechem and buried in the tomb that Abraham had bought for silver money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem."

- 7.16 EU

This New Testament belief was confirmed by the theologian and church father Jerome in the 4th century.

Machpelah Cave , also known as the Patriarch's Cave or Patriarchal Tomb, is located in Hebron . According to the Torah ( Gen 23.19  EU ) Abraham bought the field with the Machpelah cave as a family grave for 400 silver shekels . A Hittite named Efron was the seller. Even Josephus mentions purchasing.


  • Ibisch-Hadad, around 1900 BC Chr.
  • Lab'aia, approx. 16-15 . Century BC Chr.
  • Mutbaal, his son


  • Karl Jaros: Shechem. An archaeological and religious history study with special consideration of Jos 24 (OBO 11) . Göttingen / Friborg 1976, ISBN 3-525-53314-4 .
  • Benjamin Mazar : Shechem - A City of the Patriarchs . In: Biblical Israel. State and People . The Magness Press, The Hebrew University , Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 1992, ISBN 965-223-797-3

Web links

Commons : Shechem  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Barnes, Albert (1949 reprint), Barnes Notes - Acts., Baker, Grand Rapids MI, p. 124
  2. Ant. I. 14. 22
  3. Machpelah

Coordinates: 32 ° 13 '  N , 35 ° 17'  E