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Shechem

One of the interesting personages in the kaleidoscopic history of Judges, Abimelech, the son of Gideon and a concubine, is closely associated with Shechem. Abimelech conspired with his mother’s relatives to kill all the other sons of Gideon and to have himself made king of Shechem (Judg.9.6). Trouble developed between Abimelech and the people of Shechem; a conspiracy against Abimelech was revealed to him by the ruler of the city. In the fighting that followed, Abimelech took the city and completely destroyed it. When a number of people took final refuge in the stronghold of the temple of Baal-Berith or El-berith, Abimelech gathered fuel and fired the stronghold, so that about one thousand persons perished in the conflagration (Judg.9.46-Judg.9.49). The name Shechem occurs in historical records and other sources outside Palestine. It is mentioned as a city captured by Senusert III of Egypt (nineteenth century b.c.) and appears in the Egyptian cursing texts of about the same time. “