Bethu'lia (or rather Betylua, Βετυλούα, for the Hebrews בּתוּליָה [Simonis, Onom. AN.T. p. 41] or בּתוּליָּה for בּתוּאלִֵיָּה, house of God Jehovah), a place mentioned only in the apocryphal book of Judith (4, 6; 6:10, 11, 14; 7:1, 3, 6, 13, 20; 8:3, 11; 10:6; 11:19; 12:7; 13:10; 15:3, 6; 16:21, 23), of which it was the principal scene, and where its position is minutely described. It was near Dothaim (4, 6), on a hill which overlooked (ἀπέναντι) the plain of Esdraelon (6, 11, 13, 14; 7:7, 10; 13:10), and commanded the passes from that plain to the hill country of Manasseh (4, 7; 7:1), in a position so strong that Holofernes abandoned the idea of taking it by attack, and determined to reduce it by possessing himself of the two springs or wells (πηγαί) which were "under the city," in the valley at the foot of the eminence on which it was built, and from which the inhabitants derived their chief supply of water (6, 11; 7:7, 13, 21). Notwithstanding this detail, however, the identification of the site of Bethulia has hitherto been so great a puzzle as to form an important argument against the historical truth of the book of Judith (see Cellarii Notit. 3, 13, 4). SEE JUDITH. In the Middle Ages the name of Bethulia was given to "the Frank Mountain," between Bethlehem and Jerusalem (Robinson, 2, 172), but this is very much too far to the south to suit the narrative. Modern tradition has assumed it to be Safed in North Galilee (Robinson, 3, 152), which again, if in other respects it would agree with the story, is too far north. Von Raumer (Palast. p. 135) suggests Saner, which is perhaps nearer to probability, especially since the discovery of Dothan (q.v.), which is probably meant by the Dothaim of Judith (see Schubert, 3, 161; Stewart, p. 421; Van de Velde, Narrative, 1, 367). The ruins of that town are on an "isolated rocky hill," with a plain of considerable extent to the east, and, so far as situation is concerned, naturally all but impregnable (Robinson, 3, 325). It is about three miles from Dothan, and some six or seven from Jenin (Engannim), which stand on the very edge of the great plain of Esdraelon. Though not absolutely commanding the pass which leads from Jenin to Sebustieh, and forms the only practicable ascent to the high country, it is yet sufficiently near to bear out the somewhat vague statement of Judith 5:6. Nor is it unimportant to remember that Sanur actually endured a siege of two months from Djezzar Pasha without yielding, and that on a subsequent occasion it was only taken after a three or four months' investment by a force very much out of proportion to the size of the place (Robinson, 3, 152). The most complete identification, however, is that by Schultz (in Williams's Holy City, 1, Append. p. 469), who finds Bethulia in the still extant though ruined village Beit-Ilfa, on the northern declivity of Mt. Gilboa, containing rock graves, sarcophagi, and other marks of antiquity, and having a fountain near (comp. Ritter, Erdk. 15, 423 sq.; Gross, in the Zeitschr. d. deutschen morg. Gesellsch. 3, 58, 59). Dr. Robinson (Later Bib. Res. p. 337), with his usual pertinacity, disputes this conclusion. SEE BETH-LEPHTEPHA.

Bible concordance for BETHUL.

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