previous next


BETHSHEMESH (Βήθσαμες), a priestly city on the northern border of the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15.10, 45, 21.16), where the battle, provoked by Amaziah's foolish challenge, was fought between him and Jehoash (about B.C. 826). (2 Kings, 14.11--13.) It was erroneously ascribed to Benjamin Dy Eusebius and St. Jerome, and placed by them ten miles from Eleutheropolis, on the east of the road to Nicopolis. (Onomast. s. v.) This corrects the former error, for no place within ten miles of Eleutheropolis could possibly be in Benjamin; but it commits another, as we should read “west” in-stead of “east;” for there can be little doubt that the modern village of ‘Ain Shems represents the ancient Bethshemesh; and this would nearly answer to the description, with the correction above suggested. This view is confirmed by the narrative of 1 Sam. 6.9--20, where this is mentioned as the first city to which the ark came on its return from the country of the Philistines; and this city, with some others in “the low country,” was taken by the Philistines in the days of Ahaz. (2 Chron. 28.18.) It is probably identical with Irshemesh in the border of Dan (Josh. 19.41.) The manifest traces of an ancient site at ‘Ain Shems, further serve to corroborate its identity with Bethshemesh, which the name suggests, for “here are the vestiges of a former extensive city consisting of many foundations, and the remains of ancient walls and hewn stone.” (Robinson, B. R. vol. iii. p. 17--19, and note 6, p. 19.)

There was another city of this name in Naphthali (Josh. 19.38; Judg. 1.33), of which nothing is known. [G.W]


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: