Be'ther (Heb. id. בֶּתֶר), the name of certain "mountains" mentioned only in Song 2:17. The word means, properly, dissection (as in Ge 5:10; Jer 34:18-19, "piece"); the mountains of Bether may therefore be mountains of disjunction, of separation, that is, mountains cut up, divided by ravines, etc. The Sept. gives ὄρη κοιλωμάτων, mountains of hollows in this sense. They may be the same with those rendered mountains of spices" in 8:14, from the growth of trees from which odorous gums distilled. SEE BITHRON.

If it be the name of a place, it may possibly be identical with the Bether where the impostor Barcocheba (q.v.) was at last overcome by Hadrian (see the Zemach David, cited by Eisenmenger, Entdeck. Judenth. 2, 656), a strongly fortified city (see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 371, where the Hebrews form is given בִּיתֵר, Bither, Chald. בִּתרָא, Bithra; the correct pointing being perhaps בִּיתִר, i.e. Baethar, for בֵּיתאּתִּר, Beth-Tar, Lat. Bether, Biter, etc.), not far from Jerusalem (Βίθθηρα, Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 4, 6). For the history of the campaign at this place, see Minter, Jud. Krieg, § 20, translated under the title "Jewish War under Adrian," in the Bibliotheca Sacra, 1843, p. 393 sq.; and for notices of the place, see the editor's remarks appended to the translation, p. 456 sq. The locality is thought by Dr. Robinson (Later Bib. Researches, p. 266-271) to be identical with that of the Benjamite Bethel (q.v.), the modern Beitin; but Williams (Holy City, 2, 210) and Stewart (Tent and Khan, p. 347), apparently with better reason, fix it in the present village Bittir, two hours W.S.W. of Jerusalem (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 295). This latter position also seems to agree with that of a Bether (Βαιθήρ, i.e. Baether, v. r. Θηθήρ) mentioned by the Sept. in Jos 15:59, among the names of an additional group of eleven towns near Bethlehem, in the tribe of Judah (q.v.), thought by some to have accidentally dropped from the Hebrews text (see Keil, Comment. in loc.).

Evidently different from this place was a Bether (with the same orthography) mentioned in the Talmud as lying four Roman miles from the sea (see Reland, Palaest. p. 639), the Betarum (of the Itin. Anton. and Hieros.) on the way from Caesarea to Antipatris; now probably the village of Barin, about 1½ hour south of Kakun (Schwarz, Palest. p. 144; Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 295).

Bible concordance for BETHER.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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