When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,…
This name is only found in St. John 4:5, but it is universally considered to be the same as Sichem or Shechem, which is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament history. Dr. Robinson (Bib. Res. 3:118) says, "In consequence of the barred of the Jews, and in allusion to the idolatry of the Samaritans, the town Sichem probably received among the Jewish common people the by-name of Sychar, which we find in the Gospel of St. John; while Stephen, in addressing the more courtly Sanhedrim, employs the ancient name (Acts 7:16). Sychar might be derived from a Hebrew root, meaning either falsehood or drunkard." Josephus describes Sheehem as between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The present Nabulus is a corruption of Neapolis; and Neapolis succeeded the more ancient Shechem. The city received its new name from Vespasian. The situation of the town is one of surpassing beauty. It lies in a sheltered valley, protected by Gerizim on the south and Ebal on the north. The feet of these mountains, where they rise from the town, are not more than 500 yards apart. The bottom of the valley is about 1,800 feet above the level of the sea, and the top of Gerizim 800 feet higher still. The site of the present city, which is believed to have been also that of the Hebrew city, occurs exactly on the water- summit; and streams issuing from the numerous springs there, flow down the opposite slopes of the valley, spreading verdure and fertility in every direction. Travellers vie with each other in the language which they employ to describe the scene that bursts here so suddenly upon them on arriving in spring or early summer at this paradise of the Holy Land. "Here," says Dr. Robinson (3:96) " a scene of luxuriant and almost unparalleled verdure burst upon our view. The whole valley was filled with gardens of vegetables, and orchards of all kinds of fruit, watered by several fountains, which burst forth in various parts, and flow westward in refreshing streams. It came upon us suddenly like a scene of fairy enchantment. We saw nothing to compare with it in all Palestine. Here, beneath the shade of an immense mulberry-tree, by the side of a purling rill, we pitched our tent for the remainder of the day and night We rose early, awakened by the songs of nightingales and other birds, of which the gardens around us were full."
(F. I. Dunwell, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,