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beth´zûr ( בּית־צוּר , bēth -cūr ; Βαιθ-σούρ , Baith -soúr , "house of rock"; less probably "house of the god Zur"):

(1) Mentioned (Joshua 15:58 ) as near Halhul and Gedor in the hill country of Judah; fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7 ). In Nehemiah 3:16 mention is made of "Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of half the district of Beth-zur." During the Maccabean wars it (Bethsura) came into great importance (1 Macc 4:29, 61; 6:7, 26, 31, 49, 50; 9:52; 10:14; 11:65; 14:7, 33). Josephus describes it as the strongest place in all Judea ( Ant. , XIII , v, 6). It was inhabited in the days of Eusebius and Jerome.

(2) It is the ruined site Beit Ṣûr , near the main road from Jerusalem to Hebron, and some 4 miles North of the latter. Its importance lay in its natural strength, on a hilltop dominating the highroad, and also in its guarding the one southerly approach for a hostile army by the Vale of Elah to the Judean plateau. The site today is conspicuous from a distance through the presence of a ruined medieval tower. (See PEF , III, 311, Sh XXI ).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Beth-Zur'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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