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Beth-sheh´mish; Heb., “house of sun”

A name borne by four cities that appear to have been centers for a sun cult. 1 A city in the Valley of Sorek, sixteen miles southwest of Jerusalem, modern Tell er-Rumeileh (Ain Shems), on the highway to Ashdod and the Mediterranean. When the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines, it was finally returned to the people of Beth-shemesh (1Sam 6:1-16). Joash, king of Israel (800–785 BCE), captured Amaziah, king of Judah, at Beth-shemesh (2Kgs 14:11-14; 2Chr 25:21). During the war between Syria and Ephraim, the Philistines were able to get control once again of Beth-shemesh (2Chr 28:18). 2 A city mentioned in (Josh 19:22), south of the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan. 3 A town in the allotment of Naphtali (Josh 19:38). 4 A center for the sun cult in Egypt, possibly the Egyptian city On (Heliopolis).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.