Sichem (Nablus, Modern Tell Balata)

Ancient Nablus

Ancient Sichem (Shekem, Shechem, Nablus) has been unearthed. It is a city mentioned quite frequently in the Scriptures. It was the place where Joshua led the Israelite confederates in a renewal of the covenant. Before Joshua, the patriarchs were linked to the place.

The city of Shekhem, positioned in a pass between the mountains of Gerizim and Eibal and controlling the Askar Plains to the east, was an important regional center more than 3,500 years ago. As the existing remains show, it lay within fortifications of massive stones, was entered through monumental gates and centered on a temple with walls five yards (meters) thick.

The king of Shekhem, Labaya, is mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of the Pharaonic archive found at Tel al-Amarna in Egypt, which are dated to the 14th century B.C. The king had rebelled against Egyptian domination, and soldiers were dispatched north to subdue him. They failed.

The city also appears often in the biblical narrative. The patriarch Abraham, for example, was passing near Shekhem when God promised to give the land of Canaan to his descendants in the Book of Genesis. Later, Abraham’s grandson Jacob was camped outside the walls when a local Canaanite prince raped his daughter, Dinah. Jacob’s sons sacked the city in vengeance. The body of Jacob’s son Joseph was brought from Egypt hundreds of years later by the fleeing Israelites and buried at Shekhem.

Two millennia ago, the Romans abandoned the original site and built a new city to the west, calling it Flavius Neapolis. The Greek name Neapolis, or “new city,” later became enshrined in Arabic as Nablus. In Hebrew, the city is still called Shekhem.

Read more: FoxNews: Archaeologists Uncover ruings of Biblical City Shekem in War-Torn Palestine

Also read this page about Sichem (Shekem) in the Bible and this one from Ancient Sandals. Photos of Tell Balata (modern name of Sichem/Nablus) are found at Bible Places.

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