National Geographic : 1920 Jan
mains of houses and have laid bare numer ous ancient earthenware vessels. As we look upon these primitive habi tations, more than 3,000 years old, it is hard to realize that we are not actually looking on the oldest city built here, but upon a town that, at this early date, had already had a long existence. It is at Shechem, then called "Sichem," and the plain of Moreh, into which the Shech'em gorge opens at its eastern ex tremity, that Biblical history introduces Abraham, the father of the Hebrews, in Canaan. Likewise Jacob made this lo cality his first halt on returning from his sojourn with Laban in Haran. Here he purchased the parcel of ground whither, at a later date, Joseph's bones were brought from Egypt to be buried, and where today Jacob's well is pointed out as the spot at which Jesus and the Sa maritan woman met (see map, page 46). Immediately following the Israelitish invasion of Canaan and the taking of Jericho and Ai, Joshua built upon Ebal the first altar of sacrifice erected by his people in the new land. The Shechem Valley now became the theater of the first general convocation, and, according to the Mosaic injunction, the whole congregation was assembled, "half of them over against Mount Geri zim and half of them over against Mount Ebal." From Ebal were to be proclaimed the curses against those who should for sake the law of their God, and from Gerizim the blessings that would result in the following of Yahweh (the unpro nounced Hebrew name for God). Here also, just before his death, Joshua addressed the last assembly of the people, making a covenant with them. We now come to the broader period of its history. Ephraim, destined to figure as the leading tribe of the Northern King dom, had the lot of its possession fall to the district wherein Shechem lay. This territory was then known as "Mount Ephraim." The town of Shechem itself was appor tioned to the Levites, since they, being a tribe of priests, received no inheritance except cities and their suburbs in which to dwell throughout all the tribes. She chem was also selected as one of the cities of refuge, and throughout the Hebraic occupation held an important place. ABU EL HASSAN, SON OF THE LATE HIGH PRIEST JACOB All the Samaritan priests wear long hair. which they wind under their dome-shaped fezzes. "And the Lord said unto Moses, speak unto the priests and say unto them that they shall not make baldness upon their heads; nor shall they shave off the corner of their beards' (Lev. 21: 1-5).