Beth-Zur (beth'-zur), also spelled Bethsura, Beth-tsur, Belt Cur, or Baith-sour, is a historically and archaeologically significant site in
Judea, referenced several times within the Hebrew Bibleand in the writings of Josephus. It is the place where the Battle of Beth-Zuroccurred. The ruined citadel can be found near the main road between Jerusalemand Hebron, approximately 4 miles north of latter. The site’s location is now disclosed by the presence of a ruined medieval tower. The name Beth-Zur means "house of rock," or less likely "house of the god Zur." Beth-Zur was inhabited in the lifetimes of Eusebiusand Jerome.
Beth-Zur is mentioned in Joshua as being near
Halhuland Gedor, in the Judean hill country. [ Joshua 15:58 ] Rehoboamis credited with its fortification. [ 2 Chronicles11:7 ] Nehemiahis said to have been the ruler of a half district of the same name. [ Nehemiah3:16 ]
Maccabean wars, the site became quite significant, with the Battle of Beth-Zurin 164 BC. [ 1 Macc. 4:29,61; 6:7,26,31,49,50; 9:52; 10:14; 11:65; 14:7,33 ] The site’s importance lay in its natural strength, on a hilltop dominating the highroad, and also in its guarding the one southerly approach for a hostile army by the Vale of Elah to the Judean plateau. Josephusdescribes Beth-Zur as the strongest place in all Judea. [ Ant., XIII, v, 6 ]
The battle was the confrontation between the
SeleucidGreek general Lysiasand the Maccabees, led by Judas Maccabeus, resulting in the defeat of Lysiasand his forces. This victory was followed by the recapturing of Jerusalemby the Maccabees. The key to the battle was the exploitation of the natural terrain and fortifications, eventually causing the SeleucidGreeks to route.
Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). " [http://studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T1441 Beth-Zur] ". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". Eds. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Retrieved
December 9, 2005.
Hutchinson, J. (1915). " [http://studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T5622 Lysias] ". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". Eds. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Retrieved
December 12, 2007.
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