Glimpses of Israel - Shechem

by Joseph Hunting

Shechem, or Nablus, has roots that go back to the days of Israel's Patriarch Jacob. After he had served Laban for twenty years he returned homeward with his family and flocks. It is significant that, as he journeyed, he bought a field "at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel " (God, the God of Israel). (Genesis 33:19-20)

Five hundred years later, just before his death, Joshua gathered all Israel to Shechem, "and Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem." It is noteworthy that at this time all Israel covenanted to put away all idols and to serve the Lord and Him only.

After a further five hundred years all Israel again gathered at Shechem to anoint Rehoboam king after the death of Solomon. No altar was erected on this occasion, neither was a covenant made to serve the Lord. Instead, there was a rebellion that changed the course of Israel's history with a division that will only be fully healed when Messiah establishes His reign of peace and equity upon earth.

Today Shechem is one of the principle cities of the West Bank with a predominantly Arab population. The city lies in the valley which separates Mount Ebal from Mount Gerizim from which mountains the blessings and the curses were proclaimed to the nation after entering into the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 28)