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Bible Cities: Beth Shan
Ancient Beth Shan

Map of Ancient Beth Shan


Beth Shan in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE beth-she'-an, beth'-shan (beth-shan, or [beth-she'an]; in Apocrypha Baithsan or Bethsa): A city in the territory of Issachar assigned to Manasseh, out of which the Canaanites were not driven (Josh 17:11; Jdg 1:27); in the days of Israel's strength they were put to taskwork (Jdg 1:28). They doubtless were in league with the Philistines who after Israel's defeat on Gilboa exposed the bodies of Saul and his sons on the wall of the city (1 Sam 31:7 ff), whence they were rescued by the men of Jabesh , who remembered the earlier kindness of the king (1 Sam 31:7 ff; 2 Sam 21:12). In 1 Ki 4:12 the name applies to the district in which the city stands. It was called Scythopolis by the Greeks. This may be connected with the invasion of Israel by the Scythians who, according to George Syncellus, "overran Israel and took possession of Beisan." This may be the invasion noticed by Herodotus, circa 600 BC (i.104-6). Here Tryphon failed in his first attempt to take Jonathan by treachery (1 Macc 12:40). It fell to John Hyrcanus, but was taken from the Jews by Pompey. It was rebuilt by Gabinius (Ant., XIV, v, 3), and became an important member of the league of the "ten cities" (BJ, III, ix, 7). The impiousness of the inhabitants is painted in dark colors by Josephus (Vita, 6; BJ, II, xviii, 3); and the Mishna speaks of it as a center of idol worship (`Abhodhah Zarah, i.4). Later it was the seat of a bishop. It is represented by the modern Beisan, in the throat of the Vale of Jezreel where it falls into the Jordan valley, on the southern side of the stream from `Ain Jalud. The ruins of the ancient city are found on the plain, and on the great mound where probably stood the citadel. Between the town and the stretch of marsh land to the South runs the old road from East to West up the Vale of Jezreel, uniting in Esdraelon with the great caravan road from North to South.

Beth Shean in Easton's Bible Dictionary house of security or rest, a city which belonged to Manasseh (1 Chr. 7:29), on the west of Jordan. The bodies of Saul and his sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its name to a district (1 Kings 4:12). The name is found in an abridged form, Bethshan, in 1 Sam. 31:10, 12 and 2 Sam. 21:12. It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret. After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It is now called Beisan.

Beth Shean in Naves Topical Bible A city of the tribe of Manasseh 1Ch 7:29; Jos 17:11 -Not subdued Jud 1:27 -Bodies of Saul and his sons exposed in 1Sa 31:10,12 -Called BETH-SHAW 1Sa 31:10,12; 2Sa 21:12 -District of, under tribute to Solomon's commissariat 1Ki 4:12

Beth Shean in Smiths Bible Dictionary (house of rest), or in Samuel, BETHSHAN, a city which belonged to Manasseh, 1Ch 7:29 though within the limits of Issachar Jos 17:11 and therefore on the west of Jordan. Comp. 1 Macc. 5:62. In later times it was called Scythopolis. 2 Macc. 12:29. The place is still known as Beisan. It lies in the Ghor or Jordan valley, about twelve miles south of the Sea of Galilee and four miles west of the Jordan.

Bethshan in Hitchcock's Bible Names Beth-shean

Bethshan Scripture - 1 Samuel 31:10 And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.

Bethshan Scripture - 1 Samuel 31:12 All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.

Bethshan Scripture - 2 Samuel 21:12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:

Bethshean in Fausset's Bible Dictionary BETHSHEAN or BETHSHAN ("house of quiet.") Now Beisan. A city of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:29), though within Issachar's boundary; 14 miles S. of the sea of Galilee, 4 miles W. of and on the height over the Ghor or valley of the Jordan, connected with the great plain of Jezreel, Esdraelon (Joshua 17:11). The Canaanites were not driven out thence (Judges 1:27). One of Solomon's commissariat districts was named from it, extending thence to Abel-meholah (1 Kings 4:12). Except its temporary subjection in his reign, it kept a kind of independence of Israel, holding close relations with the Phoenicians on the N. and the Philistines on the S. Hence the latter fastened Saul's body to the wall of Bethshean, and put his armor in the house of Ashtaroth (1 Samuel 31:10; 1 Samuel 31:12). The men of Jabesh Gilead stole the bones of Saul and Jonathan and Saul's other two sons from the wall in "the street" or open space before the gate of Bethshean (2 Samuel 21:12.) In 1 Samuel 29:1 translate "the Israelites pitched (before the fatal battle at Gilboa), by THE fountain in Jezreel." Close to Bethshean is the water of Ain Jalud, of which "the fountain is in Jezreel." The abundant supply of water, and the level country favoring the use of chariots, were the secondary causes which enabled the Canaanites to keep hold of Bethshean against Israel. Robinson places Jabesh Gilead at Ed Deir; so the distance to Bethshean which "the valiant men of Jabesh Gilead" took "all night" to traverse was 20 miles. The ruins are of a pagan character, and occupy a space three miles in circumference.

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