Beth-el, Beth-aven, Beitunya
mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Mon Jul 24 05:23:58 EDT 2000
Your proposal that el-Bireh is Bethel was countered by Professor Lemche's
advisory to this list that Beeroth was 7 Roman miles from Jerusalem
according to Hieronymous. I don't recall your making a "refutation" to this
important piece of information :
"It is, however, interesting to note that Hieronymus translates the said
part of Eusebius as: Beeroth sub colle Gabaon. ostenditur hodieque uilla ab
Aelia euntibus Neapolim in septimo lapide."
As you have correctly noted Deir Dibwan (Beth-aven ?) is not "due west" of
Michmash. But I might add neither is el-Bireh "literally due West" of
Michmash, it is NW, so your proposal suffers the same problem as mine,
neither proposal supports Beth-Awen as being "literally due West" of
Mukhmas (Michmash ?), as portrayed in 1 Samuel 13: 5-
"They came up and pitched camp at Michmash, to the east of Beth-Aven."
If one were to insist on a "Literal Westerly" position of Beth-aven from
Mukhmas/Michmash, "as the crow flies" one might like to have look at
BEITUNYA lying to the WSW of el-Bireh, and E of Beit Ur el Fauqa, biblical
Upper Beth-horon ( cf. map titled "Jerusalem," Survey of Palestine, Sheet 8,
1933-34, scale: 1:100,000). I note that Beth-horon figures prominently in
the subsequent battle as it passes Beth-aven (cf. 1Sam 13:18, 14:23, 31).
The battle appears to begin at Michmash, the Philistines are routed westerly
towards Beth-horon (1Sam 14:23), evidently fleeing past Beth-aven before
reaching it (Beth-horon), and then on to Aijalon (1Sam 14:31):
"The fighting reached the other side of Beth-horon." (1 Sam 14:23)
"That day the Philistines were beaten from Michmash all the way to
Aijalon..." (1 Sam 14:3)
As Beitunya lies somewhat westerly of Mukhmas and near (east of) Beit Ur al
Fauqa (Beth-horn) this brings a "new site" into consideration.
If Beitunya is what 1 Samuel 13:5 had in mind, then there may be two
different localities called Bet-aven, Beitunya and Deir Dibwan (?).
Your proposal that Beitin might be Beth-aven, I note, has some "suggested
support" in that the prophets are believed to have called Bethel, Beth-aven
(Hos. 4:15; 5:8;10:5; Amos 5:5). If this is the case, then "in antiquity,
the location became confused." In which case, both of us are right, Beitin
is Beth-aven and it is also Beth-el.
In regards to the possiblity of "confused directions" in the biblical text I
note that the Tanakh preserves an incorrect statement about a border, which
scholars found it needful to "amend" :
"From the outskirts of Kiriath-jearim, the boundary passed WESTWARD* and ran
on to the fountain of the the waters of Nephtoah." (p. 365, Joshua 18:15,
Tanakh, Jewish Pub. Society, Philadelphia, 1988)
The noted * states: "WESTWARD, emendation yields EASTWARD" (p.365, Tanakh)
All the best,
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg
More information about the b-hebrew