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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Heb. Beyth Barah', בֵּית בָּרָה, prob. for בֵּית עֲבָרָה, Beth-Abarah, i.e. house of crossing, q. d. ford; Sept. Βηθβηρά v. r. Βαιθηρά ), a place named in Judges 7:24 as a point apparently south of the scene of Gideon's victory (which took place at about Bethshean), and to which spot "the waters" (הִמִּיִם ) were "taken" by the Ephraimites against Midian, i. c. the latter were intercepted from crossing the Jordan. Others have thought that these "waters" were the wadys which descend from the highlands of Ephraim, presuming that they were different from the Jordan, to which river no word but its own distinct name is supposed to be applied. But there can hardly have been any other stream of sufficient magnitude in this vicinity to have needed guarding, or have been capable of it, or, indeed, to which the name "fording-place" could be at all applicable. Beth-barah seems to have been the locality still existing by that name in the time of Origen, which he assigned as the scene of John's baptism (John 2:28), since, as being a crossing rather than a town, the word would be equally applicable to both sides of the river. (See BETHA-BARA).
The pursuit of the Midianites may readily have reached about as far south as the modern upper or Latin pilgrims' bathing-place on the Jordan. The fugitives could certainly not have been arrested any where so easily and effectually as at a ford; and such a spot in the river was also the only suitable place for John's operations; for, although on the east side, it was yet accessible to Judaea and Jerusalem, and all the "region round about," i.e. the oasis of the South Jordan at Jericho. (See BETHANY). If the derivation of the name given above be correct, Beth-barah was probably the chief ford of the district, and may therefore have been that by which Jacob crossed on his return from Mesopotamia, near the Jabbok, below Succoth (Genesis 32:22; Genesis 33:17), and at which Jephthah slew the Ephraimites. as they attempted to pass over from Gilead (Judges 12:6). This can hardly have been any other than that now extant opposite Kurn Surtabeh, being indeed the lowest easy crossing-place. The water is here only knee-deep, while remains of an ancient bridge and of a Roman road, with other ruins, attest that this was formerly a great thoroughfare and place of transit (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 124). See FORD.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Beth-Barah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​b/beth-barah.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.