The name may mean "place of marshes" = Hebrew beth-betsi. According to G. A. Smith there is a Wady el-Bassah East of Tekoa in the wilderness of Judea. The name means "marsh," which Dr. Smith thinks impossible, and really "an echo of an ancient name." Jonathan and Simon repaired the ruins of the fortified place "in the desert" (1 Macc 9:62,64). Josephus reads Bethalaga, i.e. Beth-hoglah (Ant., XIII, i, 5). Peshitta version reads Beth-Yashan (see JESHANAH), which Dr. Cheyne thinks is probably correct. Thus the origin of the name and the site of the town are merely conjectural.
S. F. Hunter
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