Kat welcomes Tim Mackie to trace Shechem from Genesis to John. Mackie, one of the creators of the Bible Project, traces Shechem's narrative thread, revealing places in the Bible that carry a profound meaning for ancient and modern Bible readers. Together, Kat and Tim uncover God’s storytelling genius and showcase Shechem as a location repurposed by many biblical authors for literary impact.

Episode content warning: This episode contains content related to sexual assault.

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Episode Highlights:

  • The discussion kicks off with Genesis 12, where Abram and Sarah first encounter Shechem. Driven by God’s promise, Abram builds an altar at the Oak of Moreh, marking Shechem as a place of divine encounter and blessing.
  • However, the narrative takes an unexpected turn in Genesis 34, exposing Shechem’s darker side—a crime scene that contrasts starkly with its initial promise. Kat and Dr. Mackie highlight the biblical pattern of children intensifying the failures of their parents. Shechem becomes a recurring backdrop for betrayal and tragedy, as seen in Genesis 37 with Jacob’s sons. The contrast between Jacob’s reaction to Dinah’s violation and Joseph’s presumed death raises crucial questions about silence and societal values.
  • The discussion touches on cultural practices and patriarchal dynamics, shedding light on the biblical authors’ intention to expose broken aspects of humanity. Dr. Mackie emphasizes the importance of recognizing the discomfort these narratives evoke and the biblical authors’ deliberate attempts to challenge societal norms.
  • Dr. Mackie unveils additional references to Shechem in Deuteronomy and Joshua, highlighting its symbolic significance in Israel’s covenant journey.
  • ​​The conversation also touches on the multi-generational aspect of Shechem, illustrating how choices made over generations contribute to the challenges faced by the people of Shechem. It’s a place of both divine promise and human brokenness.
  • Kat and Tim express the profound significance of Jesus choosing to engage with the Samaritan woman at the well with an intentional visit to Shechem.

“Holy Curiosity with Kat Armstrong” is a production of Christianity Today
Executive Producers: Erik Petrik and Mike Cosper
Producer: Leslie Thompson
Associate Producer: McKenzie Hill
Mix Engineer: Kevin Morris
Show Artwork: Amy Jones