4. Why it is written Sychar, and not Sychem.

If Sychem and Sychar be one and the same city, why should not the name be the same?

I. This may happen from the common dialect, wherein it is very usual to change the letters. So Reuben in the Syriac version is Reubil, and Rubelus, in Josephus; by what etymology let him tell, and explain it if you can. Speaking of Leah bringing forth Reuben, he thus expresseth himself; "And having brought forth a male child, and obtaining favour from her husband by it, she called his name Rubel, because it happened to her according to the mercy of God; for this his name signifies."

It would be endless to reckon up such variations of letters in proper names; but as to the letter r, which is our business at present, take these few instances:

'Nebuchadnezzar' is elsewhere 'Nebuchadrezzar'; 'Belial' is 'Beliar'; 'Shepham,' by the Greek interpreters, Sephamar, Numbers 34:11: so Sychem, Sychar; and this so much the rather because the letters r and m have obtained I know not what kind of relation and affinity one with another. So Dammesek and Darmesek in the Holy Scriptures; and the 'Samaritans' are the 'Samatians' in Dionysius Afer, &c.

Or, secondly, it might happen that the Jews, by way of scoff and opprobrium, might vulgarly call Sychem Sychar, either that they might stigmatize the Samaritans as 'drunkards,' Isaiah 28:1, "Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim"; or (as the word might be variously writ and pronounced) might give them some or other disgraceful mark. So Aruch in Sochere, i.e. sepulchres. He quotes a place where the words are not as they are by him cited; nor is he consistent with himself in the interpretation. But Munster hath a sepulchre. If it be thus, perhaps Sychem, might be called Sychar, because there the twelve patriarchs were buried; and under that notion the Samaritans might glory in that name.