), a strong city of Samaria, situated on the mountain range at the south of the Plain of Esdraelon, and commanding the passes.
It is the scene of the book of Judith, and its site was recovered by Dr. Schultz in 1847, on the northern declivity of Mount Gilboa, south-west of Bisan.
It is identified by its name Beit Ilfah,
by its fountain (Judith,
7.3. 12.7), by considerable ruins, with rock graves, and sarcophagi, and by the names of several sites in the neighbourhood identical with those of the book of Judith. (See Dr. Schultz's Letter in Williams's Holy City,
vol. i. Appendix, p. 469.) [G.W
BETH-ZUR (Βηθσούρ, Βηθσούρα
, Eth. Βηθσουρίτης
), a city of the tribe of Judah, and one of those fortified by Rehoboam. (Joshua,
15.58; 2 Chron.
In the books of Maccabees and in Josephus there is frequent mention of one, or perhaps two cities of this name, in the south
of Judaea (1 Mace.
14.13), and therefore some-times reckoned to Idumaea (1 Macc.
4.29, but in verse 61, κατὰ πρόσωπον τῆς Ἰδουμαίας,
compare 2 Macc.
It is described as the most strongly fortified place of Judaea. (Ant.
In the time of Judas Maccabaeus it stood a long siege from Antiochus Eupator, but was at length forced to capitulate (12.8.4, 5), and was held by the renegade Jews after other fortresses had been evacuated by their Syrian garrisons (13.2.1), but at length surrendered to Simon (5.7). Josephus places it 70 stadia distant from Beth-Zachariah. (12.8.4.) Eusebius and St. Jerome speak of Βεθσούρ,
Bethsur, or Bethsoron, on the road from Aelia to Hebron, twenty miles from the former, and therefore only two from the latter.