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Shechem and Hebron: Famous and often overlooked cities of Bible Times

by Robert Randle  
1/11/2010 / Bible Studies

For many students of the Bible as well as believing Christians and Jews, cities such as Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jericho, Capernaum, Shiloh and a few others carry a certain importance or intrigue. Yet, the cities of Shechem and Hebron add quite a historical perspective on the lives of a few of the more well-known personages of antiquity.

Genesis 12: 6
Abram passed through the land [Canaan] to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.

Genesis 13: 18a
Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron.

Genesis 14: 13
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol and brother of Aner, and they were allies with Abram.

Genesis 23: 2-3
Kirjath Arba (that is Hebron) in the land of Canaan, the sons of Heth.

Genesis 23: 7-10
Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land [Hebron], the sons of Heth. And he spoke with them saying, "If it is your wish that I bury my dead [Sarah; Cp. 23: 2] out of my sight, hear me, and entreat with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, "that he may give me the cave of Macpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you."

Genesis 23: 16-20
Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants. So the field of Ephron which was in Macpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Macpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.

Genesis 33: 18-19
Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan Aram; and he pitched his tent before the city. And he bought the parcel of land [the field] where he had pitched his tent, from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for one hundred pieces of silver.

Genesis 35: 27, 29
Then Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had dwelt. So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [in Hebron].

NOTE: Sarah, Abraham, and now Isaac are buried at the same burial place; the cave of Macpelah in Hebron.

Genesis 37: 1, 13b, 14b
Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father [Isaac] was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them." So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.

Genesis 50: 13-14a
For his [Jacob's] sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of Macpelah, before Mamre [Hebron], which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as property for a burial place. And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt.

NOTE: Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob are buried at the same burial place; the cave of Macpelah in Hebron.

Joshua 24: 1, 25
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, for their heads [leaders], for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

NOTE: Joshua consecrated the people to the LORD at Shechem.

Joshua 24: 32
The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had brought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem (Cp. Genesis 33: 18-19; 34: 2a) for one hundred pieces of money [silver or an unknown currency-'quesitah'], which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph.

NOTE: The great patriarch and former Governor of the whole land of Egypt was buried [and probably his sons Manasseh and Ephraim] in the land of Shechem.

2 Samuel 2: 11
And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months (Cp. 2 Samuel 5: 3, 5).

NOTE: This was the capitol until moved to Jerusalem under a united Monarchy or Confederation of the twelve tribes [10 tribes of Israel along with Judah and Benjamin].

1 Kings 12: 20, 25
Jeroboam was made king over Israel and fortified Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim and dwelt there.

NOTE: In all likelihood Jeroboam made it his capitol and probably died in Shechem also.

Last, but not least:

Luke 1: 5, 7, 13, 57
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. But the angel said to him, ""Do not be afraid Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.

NOTE: The city where Elizabeth lived, as a descendant of Aaron, was most probably Hebron (Cp. Joshua 21: 13).

Mark 6: 21-29 refers to King Herod beheading John the Baptizer and apparently the author didn't know the difference between someone being a King and a tetrarch; whom, although a ruler, still the person is not as powerful nor has the same authority as that of a King. Since John the Baptizer ministered in Bethany beyond the Jordan, which was in the region of Judea where Herod Archelaus ruled [according to 'Wikipedia']; he would have been the Herodian ruler to have executed John. His disciples buried him in a tomb; it was most likely in an ossurary located among John's ancestral family cave in Hebron.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
January 5, 2010

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