Mount Gerizim / Shechem

Shechem

Town in Samaria between Mount Grizim and Mount Ebal. Shechem had been a Canaanite settlement, mentioned on an Egyptian stele of a noble at the court of Senusret III (c. 1880–1840 BC) and in the Amarna Letters of about 1350 BC (Shachmu).

At Shechem, Abram “built an altar to the Lord who had appeared to him … and had given that land to his descendants” (Gen 12:6-7). This Biblical account, considered by some to be the first place Abram stopped when Abraham, Sarah, Lot and their party entered Canaan. The Bible states that on this occasion, God confirmed the covenant he had first made with Abraham in Ur, regarding the possession of the land of Canaan. On a later sojourn, the sons of Jacob avenged their sister’s rape by massacring the city’s inhabitants. Joshua assembled the Israelites in Shechem and encouraged them to reaffirm their adherence to the Torah.

Shechem

shechem

The body of Joseph (son of Jacob) was buried in Shechem after it was returned from Egypt (Joshua 24,32).

Joseph’s Tomb

Joseph's Tomb

After the division of the Kingdoms Jeroboam made it his capital. When the kings of Israel moved first to Tirzah, and later on to Samaria, Shechem lost its importance, and we do not hear of it until after the fall of Jerusalem  at 587 B.C.

After the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, the Assyrian king settled exiled Samaritans and Gentiles there. When the Assyrians deported most of the citizens of the Northern Kingdom in the seventh century B.C., they repopulated the Northern Kingdom with people who did not know the God of Abraham. The people living in the region subsequently, part Jew, part Gentile, came to be known as Samaritans (from the name of Omri’s former capital, Samaria). Over the years, this mixed people developed a Pentateuch-based religion, with worship centered at Mount Gerizim. In the fourth century B.C., with the authorization of the Persians, the Samaritans built a temple on Mount Gerizim. It was destroyed, however, by John Hyrcanus in 107 B.C. when he took nearby Shechem and the surrounding territory.

Mount Gerizim

The Hellenistic Period

An Hellenistic Figurine

Wine Press

A Glass Flask

Olive Press-1

Olive Press – 2

Vespasianus razed the ancient town to the ground and built a new town between Mount Grizim and Mount Ebal (the site of the present town), from whose Latin name Neapolis the Arab name Nablus derives.

A Roman Coin – with Mount Gerizim and the Temple on the top.

Afterwards it fell to the Byzantines and the Crusaders, and subsequently to the Arabs.

The Byzantine Fortress

Byzantine fortress

A Byzantin Cross Pendant

The northern Gate

northern gate

A Samaritan Oil-Lamp

The Byzantine Basilica

Byzantine Basilica