house of God.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God ( Judges 20:18 Judges 20:31 ; 21:2 ). Here the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron ( 20:26-28 ). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice ( 1 Samuel 7:16 ). It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf ( 1 Kings 12:28-33 ; 13:1 ). Hence the prophet Hosea ( Hosea 4:15 ; 5:8 ; Hosea 10:5 Hosea 10:8 ) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 17:28 2 Kings 17:29 ). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah ( 2 Kings 23:15-18 ); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity ( Ezra 2:28 ; Nehemiah 7:32 ). It has been identified with the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9 miles south of Shiloh.
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Bethel". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".