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Bethel in Smiths Bible Dictionary (the house of God) well known city and holy
place of central Israel, about 12 mlles north of Jerusalem. If we are to accept
the precise definition of Ge 12:8 the name of Bethel would appear to have
existed at this spot even before the arrival of Abram in Canaan. Ge 12:8; 13:3,4
Bethel was the scene of Jacob's vision. Ge 28:11-19; 31:13 Jacob lived there. Ge
35:1-8 The original name was Luz. Jud 1:22,23 After the conquest Bethel is
frequently heard of. In the troubled times when there was no king in Israel, it
was to Bethel that the people went up in their distress to ask counsel of God.
Jud 20:18,26,31; 21:2 Authorized Version, "house of God." Here was the ark of
the covenant. Jud 20:26- 28; 21:4 Later it is named as one of the holy cities to
which Samuel went on circuit. 1Sa 7:16 Here Jeroboab placed one of the two
calves of gold. Toward the end of Jeroboam's life Bethel fell into the hands of
Judah. 2Ch 13:19 Elijah visited Bethel, and we hear of "sons of the prophets" as
resident there. 2Ki 2:2,3 But after the destruction of Baal worship by Jehu
Bethel comes once more into view. 2Ki 10:29 After the desolation of the northern
kingdom by the king of Assyria, Bethel still remained an abode of priests. 2Ki
17:27,28 In later times Bethel is named only once under the scarcely-altered
name of Beitin. Its ruins still lie on the righthand side of the road from
Jerusalem to Nablus. 2. A town in the south part of Judah, named in Jos 12:16
and 1Sam 30:27 In Jos 15:30; 19:4; 1Ch 4:29,30 the place appears under the name
of CHESIL, BETHUL and BETHUEL. Hiel the Bethelite is recorded as the rebuilder
of Jericho. 1Ki 16:34 3. In Jos 16:1 and 1Sam 13:2 Mount Bethel, a hilly section
near Beth-el, is referred to.
(Luz, Beth-aven): Benin. Bethel "house of God" was a town about 10 miles N of
Jerusalem, originally Luz (Gen 28:19). It was here that Abraham encamped (12:8;
13:3) in this beautiful pastureland. It received the name of Bethel, "house of
God," because of Jacob's dream (28:10-22). Bethel was assigned to the Benjamites,
but they did not possess it, and we find it taken by the children of Joseph (Judg
1:22-26). Apparently the Ark of the Covenant was brought here (Judg 20:26-28).
It was one of the three places that Samuel chose in which to settle legal
matters (1 Sam 7:16), and Jeroboam chose Bethel as one of the two places in
which he set up golden calves (1 Kings 12:28-33). King Josiah removed all traces
of idolatry and restored the true worship of Jehovah (2 Kings 23:15-20). Bethel
was occupied by Jews returning from Babylon (Ezra 2:28 with Neh 11:31).
Bethel is identified with the modern Benin or Beitin. It stands upon the point
of a low rocky ridge, between two shallow wadis which unite, the water then
falls into the Wadi Suweinit toward the SE.
Archaeologists have determined that although there was a village at Beitin as
early as 3200 BC, continuous occupation of the site apparently began around BC
During the sixteenth century the settlement was enlarged and surrounded with an
11 foot thick stone wall and possessed some of the best-laid masonry of that
period yet discovered in Palestine.
Around 1235 BC the city was destroyed in a great fire that left debris five feet
thick in places. It is believed to be attributed to the Israelite conquest of
Judg 1:22-25. The later Israelite level of occupation has construction
strikingly inferior to Canaanite levels, but the period of David and Solomon
shows noticeable recovery. No sanctuary dating to the days when Jeroboam I
instituted calf worship there has yet been recovered. Although Bethel was only a
small village during Nehemiah's day (5th cent BC), it became an important place
during the Hellenistic period and grew even larger in Roman and Byzantine days.
Remains in the area show that the city continued to exist throughout the
Byzantine era but apparently disappeared when the Muslims took over Palestine.
Gen. 12:8; 28:19; Josh. 18:13; Judg. 1:22ff.; 1 Sam. 7:16; 1 Kgs. 12:29; Amos
3:14; 2 Kgs. 23:15; its people, Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32.
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Bethel in Bible Cities
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2 Kings 23:15 -
Moreover the altar that [was] at Bethel,
[and] the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin,
had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high
place, [and] stamped [it] small to powder, and burned the grove.
1 Chronicles 7:28 -
And their possessions and habitations [were], Bethel and
the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns
thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof:
2 Kings 2:23 -
And he went up from thence unto Bethel:
and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the
city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald
2 Chronicles 13:19 -
And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with
the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the
1 Samuel 10:3 -
Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of
Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel,
one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another
carrying a bottle of wine:
1 Kings 12:33 -
So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the
fifteenth day of the eighth month, [even] in the month which he had devised of
his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered
upon the altar, and burnt incense.
Joshua 8:17 -
And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel,
that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after
1 Samuel 13:2 -
Saul chose him three thousand [men] of Israel; [whereof] two thousand were with
Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel,
and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the
people he sent every man to his tent.
2 Kings 23:4 -
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second
order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD
all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host
of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and
carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
Joshua 12:9 -
The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which [is] beside Bethel,
Joshua 12:16 -
The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel,
Genesis 31:13 -
I [am] the God of Bethel,
where thou anointedst the pillar, [and] where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now
arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Joshua 18:13 -
And the border went over from thence toward Luz, to the side of Luz, which [is] Bethel,
southward; and the border descended to Atarothadar, near the hill that [lieth]
on the south side of the nether Bethhoron.
1 Kings 13:4 -
And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God,
which had cried against the altar in Bethel,
that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his
hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in
again to him.
Joshua 16:1 -
And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the
water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho
throughout mount Bethel,
Genesis 28:19 -
And he called the name of that place Bethel:
but the name of that city [was called] Luz at the first.
Amos 7:10 -
Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent
to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the
midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
Amos 7:13 -
But prophesy not again any more at Bethel:
for it [is] the king's chapel, and it [is] the king's court.
Joshua 8:9 -
Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode
between Bethel and
Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
Amos 3:14 -
That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will
also visit the altars of Bethel:
and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
Jeremiah 48:13 -
And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their
1 Samuel 7:16 -
And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel,
and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.
2 Kings 23:19 -
And all the houses also of the high places that [were] in the cities of Samaria,
which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the LORD] to anger, Josiah took
away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.
Genesis 35:1 -
And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel,
and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when
thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
1 Kings 13:32 -
For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel,
and against all the houses of the high places which [are] in the cities of
Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
Judges 4:5 -
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in
mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
2 Kings 2:3 -
And the sons of the prophets that [were] at Bethel came
forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away
thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know [it]; hold ye your
2 Kings 23:17 -
Then he said, What title [is] that that I see? And the men of the city told him,
[It is] the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed
these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
Joshua 7:2 -
And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which [is] beside Bethaven, on the east
side of Bethel,
and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and
1 Kings 13:1 -
And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel:
and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
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