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Shalem

SHALEM shā’ ləm (שָׁלֵ֜ם; LXX Σαλημ; whole or sound) 1. Place name (Gen 33:18, KJV). The Heb. form is identical with “Salem” in Genesis 14:18 and of “Jerusalem.” It prob. is not a place name and should be tr., “Jacob came safely” (RSV). Some of the ancient VSS, e.g. Septuagint, Peshitta, and Vulgate, take it as a name. Others take it adverbially.

2. Same consonants as “s̱lm,” a Canaanite deity attested at Ugarit (texts 17:12 and 52:52). Some suggest that “Jerusalem” reflects the name of this deity (cf. also element, “shalom”; e.g. Abishalom, 1 Kings 15:2).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The word as a place-name occurs only in Ge 33:18. With Luther, following Septuagint, Peshitta and Vulgate, the King James Version reads "And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem." the Revised Version (British and American) with the Targums Onqelos and pseudo-Jonathan, the Samaritan codex and the Arabic, reads "came in peace to the city of Shechem." There is a heavy balance of opinion among scholars in favor of the latter reading. It is certainly a remarkable fact, supporting the King James Version, that about 4 miles East of Shechem (Nablus), there is a village bearing the name Salem. If the King James Version is right, this must represent the city referred to; and East of Salem would transpire the events recorded in Ge 44. Against this is the old tradition locating Jacob’s well and Joseph’s tomb near to Shechem. Eusebius (in Onomasticon) gets over the difficulty by identifying Shalem with Shechem.

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