Beth'ul (Heb. Bethul', בּתוּל, contracted for Bethuel; Sept. Βαθούλ, v. r. Βουλά), a town of Simeon in the south, named with Eltolad and Hormah (Jos 19:4). In the parallel lists in Jos 15:30, and 1Ch 4:9, the name appears under the forms of CHESIL and BETHUEL, and probably also under that of BETHEL in Jos 12:16. Calmet incorrectly supposes it to be also the Bethulia of Judith (iv. 5; 6:1). He has somewhat greater probability, however, in identifying it with the Bethelia (Βηθηλία) of which Sozomen speaks (Eccl. Hist. 5, 15), as a town belonging to the inhabitants of Gaza, well peopled, and having several temples remarkable for their structure and antiquity; particularly a pantheon (or temple dedicated to all the gods), situated on an eminence made of earth, brought thither for the purpose, which commanded the whole city. He conjectures that it was named (house of God) from this temple. Jerome (Vita S. Hilarionis, p. 84) alludes to the same place (Betulia); and it is perhaps the episcopal city Betulium (Βητούλιον, Reland, Palaest. p. 639). There is a Beit-Ula extant a little south of the road from Jerusalem toward Gaza (Robinson's Res. 2, 342 note), about seven miles N.W. of Hebron (Van de Velde's Map); but this is entirely too far north for the region indicated, which requires a location in the extreme S.W., possibly at the present water-pits called Themail (Robinson, 1:299), or rather the ruins just north of them, and four miles south of Beer-sheba (Van de Velde, Map). According to Schwarz (Palest. r. 113), it is identical with a hill (Jebel Hassy, Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 295) S.W. of Eleutheropolis, which he says is still called Bethulia; but this lacks confirmation, and is also too far north.

Bible concordance for BETHUL.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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