views updated


BEZEK (Heb. בֶּזֶק), place-name mentioned in the Bible. Saul mustered his army there before undertaking his campaign to relieve *Jabesh-Gilead, which was being besieged by the Ammonites under Nahash (i Sam. 11:8). Bezek has been identified (following Eusebius, Onom. 54:8) with Khirbat lbzīq, 15 mi. (24 km.) north of Shechem on the road leading to Beth-Shean. Its position on the road descending from the hill country of Ephraim to the Jordan Valley would explain its choice as a mobilization point.

A Bezek is also mentioned in Judges 1:4–5, as the place where the tribe of Judah defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites. Their dying overlord, Adoni-Bezek, was taken to Jerusalem. Attempts to locate this Bezek in the vicinity of Jerusalem have so far been unsuccessful. Some scholars accept its identification with the other Bezek, assuming that the tribe of Judah crossed the Jordan Valley in the direction opposite to that taken by Saul and then continued south to its inheritance.


Clermont-Ganneau, Arch, 2 (1899), 239ff.; Alt, in: pjb, 22 (1926), 48ff.; em.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]