Beth-shemesh

Beth-shemesh is a significant location mentioned in the Bible, with multiple references across various books. The name Beth-shemesh means house of the sun in Hebrew. It was a city in ancient Israel located in the territory of Judah. Here is an exhaustive and definitive Bible dictionary answer from a biblical perspective regarding Beth-shemesh:

Beth-shemesh is first mentioned in Joshua 15:10 as one of the cities allotted to the tribe of Judah. It is also listed in 2 Chronicles 14:15 as a city fortified by King Rehoboam. Beth-shemesh was a Levitical city in the territory of Judah according to Joshua 21:16. It was strategically located near the border of the Philistine territory.

One of the most well-known events associated with Beth-shemesh is recorded in 1 Samuel 6. This chapter describes the return of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines and its arrival at Beth-shemesh. The people of Beth-shemesh looked inside the Ark, which was a direct violation of God’s command, and many of them were struck down as a result of their irreverence.

In 1 Kings 4:9, Beth-shemesh is mentioned as one of the cities under the jurisdiction of Solomon. It was a significant city during the time of the divided kingdom, as seen in 2 Kings 14:11 and 2 Kings 14:13, where it is mentioned in the context of King Amaziah’s reign.

In 1 Chronicles 6:59, Beth-shemesh is listed as a Levitical city assigned to the Kohathite clan. The Levites were responsible for the care and transportation of the Ark of the Covenant, highlighting the spiritual significance of Beth-shemesh in Israelite worship and religious practices.

Another reference to Beth-shemesh is found in 2 Chronicles 25:21 and 2 Chronicles 25:23, where it is mentioned in the context of a military conflict between King Amaziah of Judah and King Joash of Israel.

Additionally, Beth-shemesh is associated with other variations of its name, such as Ir-shemesh, meaning city of the sun, as mentioned in Joshua 19:41. This further emphasizes the city’s geographical and cultural significance in ancient Israel.

In Judges 1:35, there is a reference to Mount Heres, also known as Beth-shemesh, which indicates the presence of a mountain or hill in the vicinity of the city.

In conclusion, Beth-shemesh holds a prominent place in biblical history and geography, serving as a key city in the territory of Judah with religious, military, and cultural significance. The various events and references related to Beth-shemesh underscore its importance in the biblical narrative and provide valuable insights into the religious practices and historical context of ancient Israel.

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