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BETHOGABRIS

BETHOGABRIS or BETHAGABRA (Βαιτογαβρά, Ptol., Βαιθγαύρη), the Betogabri of the Peutinger tables, between Asealon and Aelia, 16 Roman miles from the former. It is reckoned to Judaea by Ptolemy (16.4), and is probably identical with Βήγαβρις (al. Βήταρις) of Josephus, whichhe places in the middle of Idumaea. (B. J. 4.8.1.) It was afterwards called ELEUTFEROPOLTS, as is proved as by other evidence, so by the substitution of one name for the other in the lists of episcopal sees given by William of Tyre and Nilus: as suffragans of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. (Compare Reland's Palaest. p. 220 with 227.) That it was a place of considerable importance in the fourth century is proved by the fact that it is assumed as a centre (by Eusebius in his Onomasticon), from which to measure the distances of other localities, and the “district” or “region of Eleutheropolis,” is his usual description of this part of the country. It has now recovered its ancient name Beit-Jebrin, and is a large Moslem village, about 20 miles west of Hebron. The name signifies “the house of Giants,” and the city was situated not far from Gath, the city of Goliath and his family. The large caves about the modern village, which seem formerly to have served as habitations, suggest the idea that they were Troglotides who originally inhabited these regions. It was sometimes confounded with Hebron, and at another period was regarded as identical with Ramath-lehi (Judges 15.9--19), andthefountain Enhakkore was found in its suburbs (Antoninus Mart. &c. ap. Reland. Palaest. p. 752); and it is conjectured by Reland (l.c.) that this erroneous opinion may have given occasion to its change of name, to commemorate in its new appellation the deliverance there supposed to have been wrought Samson. St. Jerome, who gives a different and less probable account of its Greek name, makes it the northern limit of Idumaea. (Reland, l.c.) Beit-Jebrin still contains some traces of its ancient importance in a ruined wall and vaults of Roman construction, and in the substructions of various buildings, fully explored and described by Dr. Robinson (B. R. vol. ii. pp. 355, 356. 395--398).

BETH-SHITTA (Βηθσεὲδ, al. Βασεεττά, LXX.), occurs only in Judges (7.22) as one of the places to which the Midianites fled after their defeat by Gideon in the valley of Jezreel (6.33). Dr. Robinson suggests that the modern village of Shûtta, near the Jordan, SE. from Mount Tabor, may be connected with this Scripture name. (B. R. vol. iii. p. 219.) [G.W]

BETH-ZACHARIAH (Βαιθζαχαρία, Βεθζαχαρία), a city of Judaea, 70 stadia distant from Bethsura or Bethzur [q. v.], on the road to Jerusalem. [p. 1.398](1 Maccab. 6.23; J. AJ 12.9.4; B. J. 1.1.5.) It was here that Judas Maccabaeus encamped at a mountain pass, to defend the approach to Jerusalem against Antiochus Eupator, and here an engagement took place, in which Judas was defeated, with the loss of his brother Eleazar, who was crushed to death by one of the elephants, which he had stabbed in the belly. (Joseph. l.c.) Sozomen calls it Χαφὰρ Ζαχαρία (H. E. 9.17), and places it in the region of Eleutheropolis [BETHOGABRIS], and, apparently in order to account for the name, says that the body of Zachariah was found there. A village named Tell-Zakarîya (Robinson, B. R. vol. ii. p. 350) still marks the site of the ancient town. It is situated in the SW. of Wady-es-Sumt, formerly the valley of Elah, in the narrowest part of the valley, so that the scene of Judas's conflict with the forces of Antiochus was not far distant from that of David's overthrow of the Philistine champion.

[G.W]

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