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November 15    Scripture



Bible Cities: Beth Shemesh
Ancient Beth Shemesh

Map of Beth Shemesh


Beth Shemesh in Easton's Bible Dictionary house of the sun. (1.) A sacerdotal city in the tribe of Dan (Josh. 21:16; 1 Sam. 6:15), on the north border of Judah (Josh. 15:10). It was the scene of an encounter between Jehoash, king of Israel, and Amaziah, king of Judah, in which the latter was made prisoner (2 Kings 14:11, 13). It was afterwards taken by the Philistines (2 Chr. 28:18). It is the modern ruined Arabic village 'Ain-shems, on the north-west slopes of the mountains of Judah, 14 miles west of Jerusalem. (2.) A city between Dothan and the Jordan, near the southern border of Issachar (Josh. 19:22), 7 1/2 miles south of Beth-shean. It is the modern Ain-esh-Shemsiyeh. (3.) One of the fenced cities of Naphtali (Josh. 19:38), between Mount Tabor and the Jordan. Now Khurbet Shema, 3 miles west of Safed. But perhaps the same as No. 2. (4.) An idol sanctuary in Egypt (Jer. 43:13); called by the Greeks Heliopolis, and by the Egyptians On (q.v.), Gen. 41:45.

Beth Shemesh in Fausset's Bible Dictionary ("house of the sun".) 1. A town on the N. boundary of Judah (Joshua 15:10), itself low in situation. A "valley" of wheat fields is mentioned accordingly as nigh (1 Samuel 6:13). Now Ain Shems, on the N.W. slopes of the mountains of Judah, "a low plateau at the junction of two fine plains" (Robinson), two miles from the Philistian plain, and seven from Ekron. From the latter was the road to Bethshemesh, on which the Philistines sent back the ark to Israel after its fatal stay among them. In the field of Joshua the Bethshemite was "the great Abel" (the Septuagint reads Aben "stone"; others retaining Abel explain it "the stone of mourning," compare 1 Samuel 6:19) whereon the ark was set (1 Samuel 6:18). Providence fitly arranged that Bethshemesh being a priests' city (Joshua 21:16; 1 Chronicles 1:59) had Levites and priests ready on the spot duly to receive the ark and sacrifice before it. Curiosity tempted many to stare at (not necessarily "into") the ark beneath the cover; compare Numbers 4:20; 2 Samuel 6:6-7. So God smote in the proportion of 50 out of the 1,000, i.e. one twentieth instead of one tenth of the population, as sometimes; seventy men in all, out of the population of Bethshemesh, which amounted to 1,400 in this view. The numbers in the English Bible are evidently a mistake (1 Samuel 6:19). Josephus (Ant. 6:4) makes it only 70. It was one of Solomon's commissariat districts under Bendekar (margin 1 Kings 4:9). Here Joash king of Israel encountered and made prisoner of Amaziah of Judah (2 Kings 14:11-13; 2 Chronicles 25:21-23). In Ahaz' reign the Philistines occupied Bethshemesh (2 Chronicles 28:18.) Ir- shemesh was the older name (compare Joshua 15:10; Joshua 19:41; Joshua 19:43; 1 Kings 4:9). Harcheres, "mount of the Sun." was another name for Bethshemesh (Judges 1:35.) 2. A city on Issachar's border (Joshua 19:22). 3. A fenced city of Naphtali (Joshua 19:38; Judges 1:33). The inhabitants were not expelled, but became Israel's tributaries. 4. An idol sanctuary in Egypt (Jeremiah 43:13), the Greek Heliopolis, Egyptian On, E. of the Nile, a few miles N. of Memphis (Genesis 41:45). The statue in honor of the sun rose to 60 cubits, the base was 10, above there was a miter a thousand pounds weight. These many towns of this name show how widespread the worship of the sun had been.

Beth Shemesh in Hitchcock's Bible Names house of the sun

Beth Shemesh in Naves Topical Bible 1. A priestly city of the tribe of Dan Jos 21:16; 1Sa 6:15; 1Ch 6:59 On the northern border of territory of the tribe of Judah Jos 15:10; 1Sa 6:9,12 In later times transferred to the tribe of Judah 2Ki 14:11 Mentioned in Solomon's commission districts 1Ki 4:9 Amaziah taken prisoner at 2Ki 14:11-13; 2Ch 25:21-23 Retaken by the Philistines 2Ch 28:18 Called BETH-SHMESH Jos 19:41 -2. A city near Jerusalem Jos 19:22 -3. A fortified city of the territory of the tribe of Naphtali Jos 19:38; Jud 1:33 -4. An idolatrous temple Jer 43:13

Beth Shemesh in Smiths Bible Dictionary (house of the sun). 1. One of the towns which marked the north boundary of Judah. Jos 15:10 It is now 'Ainshems, about two miles from the great Philistine plain, and seven from Ekron. 2. A city on the border of Issachar. Jos 19:22 3. One of the "fenced cities" of Naphtali. Jos 19:38; Jud 1:33 4. An idolatrous temple, or place in Egypt. Jer 43:13 In the middle ages Heliopolis was still called by the Arabs Ain Shems.

Beth Shemesh in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE beth-she'-mesh, beth'-shemesh (beth-shemesh; Baithsamus, "house of the sun"): This name for a place doubtless arose in every instance from the presence of a sanctuary of the sun there. In accordance with the meaning and origin of the word, it is quite to be expected that there should be several places of this name in Bible lands, and the expectation is not disappointed. Analysis and comparison of the passages in the Bible where a Beth-shemesh is mentioned show four places of this name. 1. Beth-shemesh of Judah: The first mention of a place by this name is in the description of the border of the territory of Judah (Josh 15:10) which "went down to Beth-Shemesh." This topographical indication "down" puts the place toward the lowlands on the East or West side of Israel, but does not indicate which. This point is clearly determined by the account of the return of the ark by the Philistine lords from Ekron (1 Sam 6:9-19). They returned the ark to Beth-shemesh, the location of which they indicated by the remark that if their affliction was from Yahweh, the kine would bear the ark "by the way of its own border." The Philistines lay along the western border of Judah and the location of Beth-Shemesh of Judah is thus clearly fixed near the western lowland, close to the border between the territory of Judah and that claimed by the Philistines. This is confirmed by the account of the twelve officers of the commissariat of King Solomon. One of these, the son of Dekar, had a Beth-shemesh in his territory. By excluding the territory assigned to the other eleven officers, the territory of this son of Dekar is found to be in Judah and to lie along the Philistine border (1 Ki 4:9). A Philistine attack upon the border-land of Judah testifies to the same effect (2 Ch 28:18). Finally, the battle between Amaziah of Judah and Jehoash of Israel, who "looked one another in the face" at Beth-shemesh, puts Beth- Shemesh most probably near the border between Judah and Israel, which would locate it near the northern part of the western border of Judah's territo ry. In the assignment of cities to the Levites, Judah gave Beth-shemesh with its suburbs (Josh 21:16). It has been identified with a good degree of certainty with the modern `Ain Shems. It may be that Ir-shemesh, "city of the sun," and Har- cherec, "mount of the sun," refer to Beth-shemesh of Judah (Josh 15:10; 19:41-43; 1 Ki 4:9; Jdg 1:33,35). But the worship of the sun was so common and cities of this name so many in number that it would be hazardous to conclude with any assurance that because these three names refer to the same region they therefore refer to the same place. 2. Beth-shemesh of Issachar: In the description of the tribal limits, it is said of Issachar...

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Chronicles 6:59 And Ashan with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with her suburbs:

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Kings 4:9 The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and Elonbethhanan:

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:12 And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, [and] went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside [to] the right hand or [to] the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:13 And [they of] Bethshemesh [were] reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see [it].

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:15 And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that [was] with it, wherein the jewels of gold [were], and put [them] on the great stone: and the men of Bethshemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:19 And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:20 And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us?

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:9 And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Bethshemesh, [then] he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that [it is] not his hand [that] smote us: it [was] a chance [that] happened to us.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 2 Chronicles 25:21 So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, [both] he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, which [belongeth] to Judah.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 2 Chronicles 25:23 And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 2 Chronicles 28:18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 2 Kings 14:11 But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Bethshemesh, which [belongeth] to Judah.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - 2 Kings 14:13 And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Jeremiah 43:13 He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that [is] in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Joshua 15:10 And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which [is] Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah:

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Joshua 19:22 And the coast reacheth to Tabor, and Shahazimah, and Bethshemesh; and the outgoings of their border were at Jordan: sixteen cities with their villages.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Joshua 19:38 And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh; nineteen cities with their villages.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Joshua 21:16 And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, [and] Bethshemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes.

Beth Shemesh Scripture - Judges 1:33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.

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