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Bethel

Source:
A Dictionary of the Bible What is This? Contains accessibly written entries for topics covering the religious, historical, and social aspects of the Bible.

    Bethel

    Formerly Luz, it was renamed by Jacob (Gen. 28: 18–19). In the northern part of the divided kingdom, it became notorious when Jeroboam established a rival sanctuary there with a golden calf to discourage his people from travelling south to Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 13: 1–32; 2 Kgs. 10: 29). Bethel was therefore denounced as idolatrous by the prophets (Hosea 10: 15; Jer. 48: 13). When Josiah, the reforming king of Judah (639–609 BCE), enjoyed a reign of prosperity, he was able to destroy the sanctuary and kill its priests (2 Kgs. 23: 15–20), though the city itself, which seems to have been destroyed earlier by the Assyrians (722 BCE) and rebuilt, was spared. The Babylonians under Nabonidus were less generous than Josiah and they destroyed the city again. But once more it rose and began to thrive right through the Hellenistic and Roman eras and the Middle Ages, and today is known as Beitin.

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