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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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SICHEM, SYCHEM, or SHECHEM, called also Sychar in the New Testament afterward Neapolis, and in the present day Nablous, Naplous, Napolose, and Naplosa, (for it is thus variously written,) a city of Samaria, near the parcel of ground which Jacob bought of Hamor, the father of Shechem, and gave to his son Joseph. Here Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt to be interred; and on the same piece of ground was the well called Jacob's well, at which our Saviour sat down when he had the memorable conversation with the woman of Samaria, John 4, which caused her, and many other inhabitants of Sechem, or Sychar, as it is there called, to receive him as the Messiah. On contemplating this place and its vicinity, Dr. E. D. Clarke says, "The traveller directing his footsteps toward its ancient sepulchres, as everlasting as the rocks in which they are hewn, is permitted, upon the authority of sacred and indisputable record, to contemplate the spot where the remains of Joseph, of Eleazer, and of Joshua, were severally deposited. If any thing connected with the memory of past ages be calculated to awaken local enthusiasm, the land around this city is preeminently entitled to consideration. The sacred story of events transacted in the field of Sichem, from our earliest years, is remembered with delight; but with the territory before our eyes where those events took place, and in the view of objects existing as they were described above three thousand years ago, the grateful impression kindles into ecstacy. Along the valley, we beheld ‘a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,' as in the days of Reuben and Judah, ‘with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh,' who would gladly have purchased another Joseph of his brethren, and conveyed him as a slave to some Potiphar in Egypt. Upon the hills around flocks and herds were feeding, as of old; nor in the simple garb of the shepherds of Samaria was there any thing repugnant to the notions we may entertain of the appearance presented by the sons of Jacob." The celebrated well called Jacob's well, but which, with the inhabitants of Sechem, is known by the name of Bir Samaria, or the "Well of Samaria," is situated about half an hour's walk east of the town.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Sechem'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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