7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Bethel


House of God, the name of a city west of Hai, on the confines of the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, Ge 12:8; 28:10-22, and occupying the spot where Jacob slept and had his memorable dream, the name he then gave it superseding the old name Luz, Jg 1:23. Thirty years after, he again pitched his tent there, Ge 35:1-15. It was captured by Joshua, and given to Benjamin, Jos 12:9; 18:22. The Ephraimites, however, expelled the Canaanites, Jg 1:22-26. Here the ark of the covenant, and probably the tabernacle, long remained, Jg 20:26; 1Sa 10:3. Samuel held his court here in turn, 1Sa 7:16. After Solomon, it became a seat of gross idolatry; Jeroboam choosing it as the place for one of his golden calves, from the sacredness previously attached to it, 1Ki 12:29. The prophets were charged with messages against Bethel, 1Ki 13:1-2; Jer 48:13; Am 3:14; 7:10. The first of these was fulfilled by Josiah, 2Ki 23:13; and the others in the later desolation of Bethel, where nothing but ruins can now be found. Its site was identified by Dr. Robinson, in the place now called Beitin. It is twelve miles from Jerusalem towards Shechem, on the southern side of a hill, with a narrow and fertile valley on the east, and the long-traveled road on the west. At the bottom of the hill are the remains of a vast stone reservoir, of an ancient Hebrew age.

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house of God.

(1.) A place in Central Palestine, 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 (Ge 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 (Ge 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (Ge 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 (Ge 28:10,19); and on his return he again visited this place, "where God talked with him" (Ge 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 (Ho 12:4-5) makes reference.

In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God (Jg 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 (Jg 20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice (1Sa 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 (1Ki 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the prophet Hosea (Ho 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 (2Ki 17:28-29). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2Ki 23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity (Ezr 2:28; Ne 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 (Jos 16:1; 1Sa 13:2).

(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Jos 8:17; 12:16).

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("house of God".)

1. Abram pitched his tent on a mountain E. of Bethel, abounding in pasture (Ge 12:8; 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 (Ge 28:19; 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" (Jos 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 (Ge 35:1-15; 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 (Jg 1:22-26). It was about 12 miles N. of Jerusalem. In Jg 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 1Sa 10:3). It was one of Samuel's towns of circuit for judging (1Sa 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 (2Ch 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 (2Ki 2:2-3).

The existence of "bears," two, near the town, implies that Bethel was then less frequented (2Ki 2:23-25). Under Jehu, who restored the calf worship, and Jeroboam II his great grandson, Bethel comes again into prominence (2Ki 10:29). Bethel became the king's chapel" (sanctuary) "the king's court" ("house of the kingdom") (Am 7:13; 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" (2Ki 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 (Ezr 2:28; Ne 7:32; 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 (Ge 12:7; 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 (Jos 12:16; 1Sa 30:27). Bethel in Jos 19:4 answers to Chesil in Jos 15:30. Bethuel, 1Ch 4:30. Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho under the curse (1Ki 16:34).

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1. On a rocky knoll beside the great road to the north, about 12 miles from Jerusalem, stands the modern Beil

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1. Name, signifying 'house of God,' given to the place where God first appeared to Jacob in a dream. It led him to say, "Surely the Lord is in this place . . . . this is none other but the house of God . . . . and he called the name of that place Beth-el." Ge 28:16-19. God thus gave to Jacob the apprehension that the house of God on earth

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(the house of God) well known city and holy place of central Palestine, 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.

Jg 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.

Jg 20:18,26,31; 21:2

Authorized Version, "house of God." Here was the ark of the covenant.

Jg 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.

See Chesil

See Bethul

See Bethuel

1Ki 16:34

3. In

Jos 16:1

and 1Sam 13:2 Mount Bethel, a hilly section near Beth-el, is referred to.

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BETHEL, a city which lay to the west of Ai, about eight miles to the north of Jerusalem, in the confines of the tribe of Ephraim and Benjamin. Here Jacob slept and had his vision. The name of this city had formerly been Luz, which signifies an almond, and was probably so called from the number of almond trees which grew in those parts. See JACOB.