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Beeroth

BEEROTH

BEEROTH (Heb. בְּאֵרוֹת; "wells"), one of the Gibeonite cities mentioned as part of a confederacy together with Gibeon, Chephirah, and Kiriath-Jearim (Josh. 9:17). Beeroth is listed with the cities of Benjamin (Josh. 18:25); part of its population had previously fled to Gittaim (ii Sam. 4:3). One of David's heroes came from Beeroth (ii Sam. 23:37; i Chron. 11:39), as did the assassins of Ish-Bosheth (ii Sam. 4:2). The town was resettled after the return from Babylon (Ezra 2:25; Neh. 7:29). Birea, where Bacchides encamped in 161 b.c.e. before the battle with Judah Maccabee (i Macc. 9:4), has been identified with the biblical locality. Beeroth is commonly identified with the Arab town al-Bīra near Ramallah, 9 mi. (14 km.) north of Jerusalem; Bronze Age remains have been found nearby, at Ra's al-Taḥūn. Several attempts to identify Beeroth with Tell al-Naṣb (Mizpeh?) or al-Jib (Gibeon) have been disproved by recent excavations. It has been proposed to locate Beeroth at Nebi Samwil, 1 mi. (1½ km.) south of el-Jib. Although this identification has not yet been confirmed by archaeological findings, it is strengthened by the statement of Eusebius (Onom. 48:9) that a village with this name was situated 7 mi. from Jerusalem on the road to Nikopolis (Emmaus; but according to Jerome, on the road to Neapoli, i.e., Shechem), and its possible appearance on the *Madaba Map.

bibliography:

D.A. Alt, in: zdpv, 69 (1953), 1–29; K. Elliger, ibid., 73 (1957), 125–32; idem, in: Mélanges… A. Robert (1957), 82–94; em, 2 (1965), 8–9; Albright, in: aasor, 4 (1924), 102–11; Z. Kallai, in: Eretz Israel, 3 (1954), 111–5.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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