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Beth-Ho´ron: two places of this name are distinguished in Scripture as the Upper and Nether Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3; Joshua 16:5; Joshua 18:13; 1 Chronicles 7:24). The Nether Beth-horon lay in the N.W. corner of Benjamin; and between the two places was a pass called both the ascent and descent of Beth-horon, leading from the region of Gibeon (el-Jib) down to the western plain (Joshua 18:13-14; Joshua 10:10-11). Down this pass the five kings of the Amorites were driven by Joshua (Joshua 10:11). The upper and lower towns were both fortified by Solomon (1 Kings 9:17; 2 Chronicles 8:5). Cestius Gallus, the Roman proconsul of Syria, in his march from Caesarea to Jerusalem, after having burned Lydda, ascended the mountain by Beth-horon and encamped near Gibeon. From these intimations it would appear that in ancient times, as at the present day, the great road of communication and of heavy transport between Jerusalem and the sea-coast was by the pass of Beth-horon.

The two Beth-horons still exist under the name of Beit-Ur. The Lower Beit-Ur is upon the top of a low ridge, which is separated by a wady, or narrow valley, from the foot of the mountain upon which the Upper Beit-Ur stands. Both are now inhabited villages. The lower is very small, but foundations of large stones indicate an ancient site—doubtless that of the Nether Beth-horon.

The Upper Beit-Ur is likewise small, but also exhibits traces of ancient walls and foundations. In the steep ascent to it the rock is in some parts cut away, and the path formed into steps, indicating an ancient road. On the first offset or step of the ascent are foundations of huge stones, the remains perhaps of a castle that once guarded the pass.

It is remarkable that the places are still distinguished as Beit-Ur el-Foka (the Upper), and Beit-Ur el-Tahta (the Lower).





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Beth-Horon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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