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Bible Cities: Bethel
Ancient Bethel

Map of Ancient Bethel


Bethel in Easton's Bible Dictionary house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai. It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19). The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4). Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and there he "built an altar, and called the place El- beth-el" (q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference. In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings 23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9 miles south of Shiloh. (2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh. 16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2). (3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/B/Bethel/

Bethel in Fausset's Bible Dictionary ("house of God".) 1. Abram pitched his tent on a mountain E. of Bethel, abounding in pasture (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3). The city, near the place, then bore the Canaanite name Luz. Bethel is the name given by anticipation to the place; appropriately so, as Abram virtually made it the "house of God." It was expressly so named by Jacob, when he had the vision of the heavenly ladder, on his way from his father at Beersheba to Harsh (Genesis 28:19; Genesis 31:13). He set up a pillar, and anointed it with oil, to mark the place where God spoke with him. Bethel, the place, is expressly distinguished from Luz, the old Canaanite city. "Jacob called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of that city was called Luz at the first" (Joshua 16:1-2). The naming of Bethel Jacob repeated more publicly on his return home, 20 years later, with his family purified of idols, when God again appeared to him, and confirmed his change of name to Israel (Genesis 35:1-15; Genesis 32:28). Bethel belonged by lot to Benjamin, but was falcon by Ephraim (Bethel being on his southern border) through the treachery of an inhabitant (Judges 1:22-26). It was about 12 miles N. of Jerusalem. In Judges 20:26 translate for "the house of God" Bethel. During the civil war with Benjamin the tribes took the ark thither to consult God (compare 1 Samuel 10:3). It was one of Samuel's towns of circuit for judging (1 Samuel 7:16). One of Jeroboam's two sanctuaries for the calf worship, selected doubtless because of its religious associations (1 Kings 12-13). There the prophet from Judah foretold the overthrow of the calf altar by Josiah. Abijah, king of Judah, took Bethel from Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:19), but it was soon recovered by Israel. Under Ahab the Baal worship at Samaria and Jezreel drew off attention from the calf worship at Bethel. This accounts for a school of prophets of Jehovah being there in Elijah's time (2 Kings 2:2-3). The existence of "bears," two, near the town, implies that Bethel was then less frequented (2 Kings 2:23- 25). Under Jehu, who restored the calf worship, and Jeroboam II his great grandson, Bethel comes again into prominence (2 Kings 10:29). Bethel became the king's chapel" (sanctuary) "the king's court" ("house of the kingdom") (Amos 7:13; Amos 3:14-15). More altars, besides the original one were erected. "Summer and winter houses" too, and "great houses" and "houses of ivory." After the overthrow of Israel, the king of Assyria sent one of the Israelite priests to settle at Bethel, and teach the new settlers from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, "the manner of the god of the land," and "how they should fear Jehovah" (2 Kings 17:27- 28). Josiah, as foretold, defiled the altar with dead men's bones, but disturbed not the sepulchre of the prophet of Judab when he discerned its title. It was ordered by God that the votaries of the calf worship at Bethel never dared to violate the sepulchre and title of the prophet who denounced their idol. The worship of Jehovah and of the calves had been all along strangely blended. (See BETHAVEN.) Among those returning from captivity were men of Bethel (Ezra 2:28; Nehemiah 7:32; Nehemiah 11:31.) The ruins, covering three or four acres, still bear a like name, Beitin, on a low bill, between two wadies, which unite in the main valley of es-Suweinit, toward the S.E. Bethel still abounds in stones such as Jacob used for his pillow and afterward for a sanctuary. On the round mount S.E. of Bethel. Abram doubtless built the altar, and afterwards stood with Lot when giving him his choice of the land (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:10). E. of this mount stands the ruin Tel er Rijmah, "the mound of the heap," answering to Ai or Hai. Ritter makes Medinet Gai answer to Ai. 2. A town in southern Judah (Joshua 12:16; 1 Samuel 30:27). Bethel in Joshua 19:4 answers to Chesil in Joshua 15:30. Bethuel, 1 Chronicles 4:30. Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho under the curse (1 Kings 16:34).
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/B/Bethel/

Bethel in Hitchcock's Bible Names the house of God
http://www.bible-history.com/hitchcock/B/Beth-el/

Bethel in Naves Topical Bible 1. A city north of Jerusalem The ancient city adjacent to, and finally embraced in, was called Luz Jos 18:13; Jud 1:23-26 Abraham estblishes an altar at Ge 12:8; 13:3,4 The place where Jacob saw the vision of the ladder Ge 28:10-22; 31:13; Ho 12:4 And builds an altar at Ge 35:1-15 Deborah dies at Ge 35:8 Conquered by Joshua Jos 8:17; with 12:16 Conquered by the household of Joseph Jud 1:22-26 Allotted to Benjamin Jos 18:13,22 Court of justice held at By Deborah Jud 4:5 By Samuel 1Sa 7:16 Tabernacle at, and called HOUSE OF GOD Jud 20:18,31; 21:2 Jeroboam institutes idolatrous worship at 1Ki 12:25-33; 2Ki 10:29 Idolatry at Jer 48:13; Am 4:4 Shalmanezer sends a priest to 2Ki 17:27,28 Prophecies against the idolatrous altars at 1Ki 13:1-6,32; 2Ki 23:4,15-20; Am 3:14 The school of prophets at 2Ki 2:3 The young men of, mock Elisha 2Ki 2:23,24 People of, return from Babylon Ezr 2:28; Ne 7:32 Prophecies against Am 5:5 -2. A city in the south of territory of the tribe of Judah 1Sa 30:27 -3. A mountain 1Sa 13:2
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/B/BETH-EL/

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.
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/B/Bethel/

Bethel in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE beth'-el (beth-'el; Baithel and oikos theou, literally, "house of God"): (1) A town near the place where Abraham halted and offered sacrifice on his way south from Shechem. 1. Identification and Description: It lay West of Ai (Gen 12:8). It is named as on the northern border of Benjamin (the southern of Ephraim, Josh 16:2), at the top of the ascent from the Jordan valley by way of Ai (Josh 18:13). It lay South of Shiloh (Jdg 21:19). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it 12 Roman miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Neapolis. It is represented by the modern Beitin, a village of some 400 inhabitants, which stands on a knoll East of the road to Nablus. There are four springs which yield supplies of good water. In ancient times these were supplemented by a reservoir hewn in the rock South of the town. The surrounding country is bleak and barren, the hills being marked by a succession of stony terraces, which may have suggested the form of the ladder in Jacob's famous dream. 2. The Sanctuary: The town was originally called Luz (Gen 28:19, etc.). When Jacob came hither on his way to Paddan-aram we are told that he lighted upon "the place" (Gen 28:11. Hebrew). The Hebrew maqom, like the cognate Arabic maqam, denotes a sacred place or sanctuary. The maqom was doubtless that at which Abraham had sacrificed, East of the town. In the morning Jacob set up "for a pillar" the stone which had served as his pillow (Gen 28:18; see PILLAR, matstsebhah), poured oil upon it and called the name of the place Bethel, "house of God"; that is, of God whose epiphany was for him associated with the pillar. This spot became a center of great interest, lending growing importance to the town. In process of time the name Luz disappeared, giving place to that of the adjoining sanctuary, town and sanctuary being identified. Jacob revisited the place on his return from Paddan-aram; here Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under "the oak" (Gen 35:6 f). Probably on rising ground East of Bethel Abraham and Lot stood to view the uninviting highlands and the rich lands of the Jordan valley (Gen 13:9 ff). 3. History: Bethel was a royal city of the Canaanites (Josh 12:16). It appears to have been captured by Joshua (8:7), and it was allotted to Benjamin (Josh 18:22). In Jdg 1:22 ff it is represented as held by Canaanites, from whom the house of Joseph took it by treachery (compare 1 Ch 7:28). Hither the ark was brought from Gilgal (Jdg 2:1, Septuagint). Israel came to Bethel to consult the Divine oracle (Jdg 20:18), and it became an important center of worship (1 Sam 10:3). The home of the prophetess Deborah was not far off (Jdg 4:5). Samuel visited Bethel on circuit, judging Israel (1 Sam 7:16). With the disruption of the kingdom came Bethel's greatest...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BETHEL/

Bethel Scripture - 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:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Chronicles/7/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/12/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/13/

Bethel Scripture - 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:
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Samuel/10/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Samuel/13/

Bethel Scripture - 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 towns thereof.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/13/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/23/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/23/

Bethel Scripture - 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 head.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/2/

Bethel Scripture - Genesis 28:19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city [was called] Luz at the first.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Genesis/28/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Genesis/31/

Bethel Scripture - Joshua 12:16 The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/12/

Bethel Scripture - Joshua 12:9 The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which [is] beside Bethel, one;
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/12/

Bethel Scripture - 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,
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/16/

Bethel Scripture - 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/18/

Bethel Scripture - 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 Israel.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Joshua/8/



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