The town of Shechem in Israel has been around since before the time of Abraham. Several important events of the Bible occurred there.
Known as Shechem until the Romans drove the Jews out of their land, it was renamed Flavia Neapolis by the Romans. Because of the Arab propensity to change the letter “P” to the letter “B,” it became Neabolis, and is now known as Nablus. Shechem is also referred to as Sichem (Genesis 12:6) and Sychar (John 4:5) in the King James Version.
When Abram first came to Canaan he built an altar to the Lord at Shechem. (Genesis 12:7)
When Jacob returned from Padan Aram he purchased land at Shechem. (Genesis 33:19)
Before he died, Joseph the viceroy of Egypt, instructed the Children of Israel to carry his bones back to Shechem when they returned to the Promised Land. Joseph is buried at Shechem.
In Shechem, now known as Nablus, is a building known as the Tomb of Joseph. The Palestinians declared that this was not the Biblical Joseph, but an Islamic holy man named Josef. During the Second Intifada in 2000, the Palestinians burned the tomb of Joseph/Josef, showing that they either lied or had no regard for their Islamic holy men.
Shechem is located in a valley formed by Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. When the Children of Israel first came to the Promised Land, Joshua built an altar to the Lord on Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30) Following the instructions of the Lord as given to Moses, the Children of Israel pronounced blessings and curses from Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. (Joshua 8:33)
Toward the end of his leadership of Israel, Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem. There he warned them against serving strange gods. The people swore that they would serve the Lord. It was there that Joshua made the statement, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Shechem was one of the six cities of refuge, where a man who had accidentally killed another could flee for protection.
After Solomon died, his son Reheboam went to Shechem to be crowned king of Israel. (1 Kings 12:1-19) There Jereboam, one of Solomon’s former officials, asked Reheboam if he would reduce the tax load that had been imposed by his father.
Reheboam asked for three days to make a decision. He consulted the elders, who advised him to be kind to the people. Setting aside their advice, he went to his young, rich, spoiled buddies, who told him to be tough with the people. Reheboam did as the younger men advised. This resulted in ten of the twelve tribes departing and making Jereboam as their king. This was the beginning of the ten northern tribes. Reheboam became king of Judah only.
It was at Shechem, at the one-hundred, fifty foot deep well of Jacob, that Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman (John 4:7-26), and revealed to her that He was the Messiah.
There is every possibility that Shechem will have a place of importance in the future Millennial Kingdom of Jesus. I look forward to the day.