Glimpses of Israel - Shechem

The city of Shechem has featured significantly in the history and development of the nation of Israel. When Abraham left Haran he took his wife, his nephew Lot, and all his possessions. Significantly, Shechem was their first place of residence in the Promised Land. (Genesis 12:6)

Abraham moved from Shechem to pitch his tent near Bethel. (Genesis 12:8) Isaac appears not to have visited the city. When he returned to the Promised Land, following twenty years with his uncle Laban, Israel, came and pitched his tent outside Shechem. (Genesis 33:18-20)

Then Israel purchased a parcel of land here upon which he built an altar, and called it El Elohe Israel, which means God, the God of Israel. He and his family, however, had to flee Shechem following the rape of his daughter Dinah by the Prince of Shechem, and the subsequent killing of all the Shechemite males by Simeon and Levi, the two sons of Israel. (Genesis 35:1)

Israel , like his grandfather, Abraham, left Shechem, for Bethel, and like his grandfather, Israel, built an altar at Bethel. (Genesis 35:7)

Israel 's possessions multiplied because the Lord God was with him. Israel's sons kept their father's flocks in Shechem and it was while they were there that Israel became concerned for them. Israel sent his favoured son, Joseph to enquire of their welfare, but his jealous brothers sold him into slavery. (Genesis 37:13, 28)

When the children of Israel came to inherit the Promised Land under Joshua, Shechem was set aside as a city of refuge in the mountains of Ephraim. (Joshua 20:7)

It was at Shechem also that Joshua gathered the children of Israel to make a covenant with them, and where the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up from Egypt, were finally buried. (Joshua 24)

Gideon, a Judge of Israel, had seventy sons, one of whom was Abimelech. His mother lived in Shechem. Abimelech was made king by the men of Shechem, after he had killed his brothers, the sons of Gideon, with the exception of Jotham. (Judges 9)

It was at Shechem that the kingdom of Israel was divided following the rebellion led by Jeroboam who opposed King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Subsequently, Jeroboam became King of Israel, in the north, while Rehoboam was made King of Judah, in the south. (1 Kings 12)

Israel's misfortunes have continued with the city of Shechem, known today as Nablus, it is currently under Palestinian control, following the government of Israel's decision to exchange it for promises of peace, as part of the Oslo Agreement.

And it appears that the God of Israel has not yet finished with Shechem either: "God has spoken in His holiness: 'I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem ; and measure out the Valley of Succoth.'" (Psalm 60:6)