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Monday, May 9 2011

Upper And Nether Bethhoron

Bethhoron, also rendered into English as Beth-horon, from the Hebrew words pronounced bayth, meaning house, and cor-rone, meaning hollow or valley, was the name given to two towns in the tribal territory of Ephraim, located northwest of Jerusalem toward Joppa. Although the names were the same, the towns, which were about 3 kilometers (2 miles) apart, were distinguished as "upper" and "nether" (i.e. lower) Bethhoron - indicating the geographic elevation difference between them.

In his time, King Solomon (see Israelite Monarchy - The United Kingdom) "built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether" - although it was actually a rebuilding of the towns because they existed prior to the time of Solomon, as recorded in the book of Joshua (as we will read farther below).

"8:1 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD [see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff], and his own house, 8:2 That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. 8:3 And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it. 8:4 And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. 8:5 Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; 8:6 And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion." (2 Chronicles 8:1-6 KJV)

"He built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether"

It was in the area of Bethhoron that the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') bombarded the Amorites with large hailstones while they were in battle with Joshua. The miraculous "long day" followed (see also The Blood Moon Prophecy).

Israel and Judah

"10:9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. 10:10 And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. 10:11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven [see also Are We In Heaven Now?], and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 10:14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel." (Joshua 10:9-14 KJV)

Bethhoron was assigned to the tribal lands of Ephraim (see The Israelite Patriarchs - Ephraim).

"16:1 And the lot of the children of Joseph fell from Jordan by Jericho, unto the water of Jericho on the east, to the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout mount Bethel. 16:2 And goeth out from Bethel to Luz, and passeth along unto the borders of Archi to Ataroth, 16:3 And goeth down westward to the coast of Japhleti, unto the coast of Bethhoron the nether, and to Gezer: and the goings out thereof are at the sea.

16:4 So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance." (Joshua 16:1-4 KJV)

As the assigned priesthood, the Levites were given towns and lands throughout the territories of the other tribes (in which they remained until after the division of Israel, after which they moved south to Judah - see the Fact Finder question below). Bethhoron was provided to the Kohath branch of the Levites.

"21:20 And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim.

21:21 For they gave them Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs, 21:22 And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and Bethhoron with her suburbs; four cities." (Joshua 21:20-22 KJV)

The central location of Bethhoron guaranteed it to be a scene of battle throughout Bible History, as shown in these two examples, from the time of Saul, before David became king of Israel (see Israelite Monarchy - The Origin and The Civil War) and the time of Amaziah, after The Division Of Israel into The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" and The Southern Kingdom of "Judah."

"13:16 And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 13:17 And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: 13:18 And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness." (1 Samuel 13:16-18 KJV)

"25:11 And Amaziah [see Amaziah Of Judah] strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand. 25:12 And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces. 25:13 But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil." (2 Chronicles 25:11-13 KJV)

It was between the above two examples, after Saul but before Amaziah, that Solomon "built" (i.e. rebuilt) Bethhoron.

"9:15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer. 9:16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife. 9:17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether, 9:18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land, 9:19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion." (1 Kings 9:15-19 KJV)

Other rebuildings were also done, as recorded here, the Ephraimite "daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper."

"7:20 And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son, 7:21 And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle.

7:22 And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him. 7:23 And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house. 7:24 And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah." (1 Chronicles 7:20-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did the Levites (those who were obedient to the LORD) leave their lands in the northern kingdom of Israel?
See No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?; also Are Levites 'Jews'?

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This Day In History, May 9

1386: England and Portugal signed the Treaty of Windsor, pledging "permanent alliance and friendship."

1502: Christopher Columbus left Cadiz, Spain, on his fourth and last voyage to "the new world" (while he was away, his employer, King Ferdinand of Spain, was beginning the murderous Spanish Inquisition against non-Catholics all across Europe).

1657: William Bradford, English pilgrim governor of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts for 30 years, died.

1671: Thomas Blood, the Irish adventurer popularly known as Captain Blood, stole the crown jewels from the Tower of London.

1793: Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie began his famous journey from Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca in Canada. He eventually reached the Pacific Ocean by way of the Bella Coola River, becoming the first European to cross North America using a route north of Mexico.

1901: Australia opened its first Parliament in Melbourne.

1915: The Battle of Artois during the First World War began (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars). When it ended 18 days later, 216,000 men had been killed or wounded.

1927: The new city of Canberra replaced Melbourne as the capital of Australia.

1936: Italy formally annexed Ethiopia; King Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia.

1945: The Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia was liberated by the allies; to it had been sent the so-called "privileged Jews", holders of the Iron Cross first class or better and 50 percent disabled war veterans. Of the 141,184 people sent there, more than 88,000 were gassed, including 81 year old Adolfine, sister of Sigmund Freud (Freud, old and dying of cancer, had been ransomed from the Nazis and brought to England). 3 other of Freud's sisters were murdered: Pauline, 80, and Marie, 82, in Treblinka, and Rose, 84, in Auschwitz.

1946: King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicated. The monarchy was replaced by a republic.

1962: A laser beam is successfully bounced off Moon for the first time.

1965: Lunar 5, an unmanned Soviet spacecraft, was launched toward the moon from a rocket already in Earth's orbit. It later crashed on the moon rather than making the projected soft landing.

1978: The body of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was found in the trunk of a car; he had been kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades.

1983: Pope John Paul II announced the reversal of the Catholic Church's 1633 condemnation of Galileo Galilei, the scientist who correctly taught that planets go around the sun - the "infallible" papacy said that Galileo was wrong (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).


Copyright © Wayne Blank