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Beth-shemesh

Meaning: house of the sun

The name of four biblical places…

  1. A sacerdotal city in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 21:16; 1 Samuel 6:15), on the north border of Judah (Joshua 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 Chronicles 28:18). It is the modern ruined Arabic village 'Ain-shems, on the northwest 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 (Joshua 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 (Joshua 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 (Jeremiah 43:13); called by the Greeks Heliopolis, and by the Egyptians On (q.v.), Genesis 41:45.

Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor.