SALIM (sā'lĭm, Gr. Saleim). A place referred to in John.3.23 as near Aenon, where John was baptizing. A comparison of John.1.28; John.3.26; John.10.40 shows that it must have been west of the Jordan, but its exact location is unknown.
SALIM sǎ’ lǐm (Σαλίμ, G4890, prob. from Sem. original: cf. שָׁלֵ֜ם, see Shalem). The place where John was baptizing when Christ first became known for a baptism ministry (John 3:22-26). It was apparently a well-known site, since it was used to specify the location of Aenon (Sem. springs). It is not identified with certainty, but three suggestions merit discussions: (1) The Early Church, i.e. Jerome and Eusebius, located it at Salumias c. eight m. S of Scythopolis at modern Tell Radgah (i.e. Tell Sheikh es-Salim). This territory could well have been part of the Decapolis rather than part of Samaria. There are several springs nearby. (2) Albright suggests the well-known site of the same name E of Nablus. This is the nearest town to the springs of Wadi Far’ah. (3) IDB also mentions Judean Wadi Saleim six m. NE of Jerusalem near the springs of a second Wadi Far’ah.
“Salim,” HDB (1902); W. F. Albright, The Archeology of Palestine (rev. 1960), 247; “Salim,” IDB (1962).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A place evidently well known, since the position of Aenon, the springs where John was baptizing, was defined by reference to it: they were "near to Salim" (Joh 3:23). It must be sought on the West of the Jordan, as will be seen from comparison of Joh 1:28; 3:26; 10:40. Many identifications have been proposed: e.g. that of Alford with Shilhim and Ain in the South of Judah; that of Busching with `Ain Karim, and that of Barclay, who would place Salim in Wady Suleim near `Anata, making Aenon the springs in Wady Far`ah. These are all ruled out by their distance from the district where John is known to have been at work. If there were no other objection to that suggested by Conder (Tent Work, 49 f) following Robinson (BR, III, 333) with Salim in the plain East of Nablus, Aenon being `Ainun in Wady Far`ah, it would be sufficient to say that this is in the very heart of Samaria, and therefore impossible. In any case the position of Aenon, 6 miles distant, with a high ridge intervening, would hardly be defined by the village of Salim, with the important city of Shechem quite as near, and more easily accessible.
Onomasticon places Aenon 8 Roman miles South of Scythopolis (Beisan), near Salumias (Salim) and the Jordan. This points to Tell Ridhghah, on the northern side of which is a shrine known locally as Sheikh Selim. Not far off, by the ruins of Umm el-`Amdan, there are seven copious fountains which might well be called Aenon, "place of springs."
There is reason to believe that this district did not belong to Samaria, but was included in the lands of Scythopolis, which was an important member of the league of ten cities.