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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Beth-Sha´n (house of rest, or Rest-town), a city belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh, west of the Jordan, and situated in a valley of that river, where it is bounded westward by a low chain of the Gilboa mountains. It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, and is about two miles from the Jordan, eighteen from the southern end of Lake Gennesareth, and twenty-three from Nazareth. It also bore the name of Scythopolis, perhaps because Scythians had settled there in the time of Josiah (B.C. 631), in their passage through Palestine towards Egypt.

Although Bethshan was assigned to Manasseh (Joshua 17:11), it was not conquered by that tribe (Judges 1:17). The body of Saul was fastened to the wall of Bethshan by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10). The ancient native name, as well as the town itself, still exists in the Beisan of the present day. It stands on a rising ground somewhat above the valley of the Jordan, or in the valley of Jezreel, where it opens into the Jordan valley. It is a poor place, containing not more than sixty or seventy houses, inhabited by Muslims. The ruins of the ancient city are of considerable extent. It was built along the banks of the rivulet which waters the town and in the valleys formed by its several branches, and must have been nearly three miles in circumference. The chief remains are large heaps of black hewn stones, with many foundations of houses and fragments of a few columns.





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

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