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Beth-Zur (beth'-zur), also spelled Bethsura, Beth-tsur, Belt Cur, or Baith-sour, is a historically and archaeologically significant site in the southern West Bank, referenced several times within the Hebrew Bible and in the writings of Josephus. It is the place where the Battle of Beth-Zur occurred. The ruined citadel can be found near the main road between Jerusalem and 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 Eusebius and Jerome.
Beth-Zur is mentioned in Joshua as being near Halhul and Gedor, in the Judean hill country. Rehoboam is credited with its fortification. Nehemiah is said to have been the ruler of a half district of the same name.
During the Maccabean wars, the site became quite significant, with the Battle of Beth-Zur in 164 BC. 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. Josephus describes Beth-Zur as the strongest place in all Judea.
The battle was the confrontation between the Seleucid Greek general Lysias and the Maccabees, led by Judas Maccabeus, resulting in the defeat of Lysias and his forces. This victory was followed by the recapturing of Jerusalem by the Maccabees. The key to the battle was the exploitation of the natural terrain and fortifications, eventually causing the Seleucid Greeks to route.
- ↑ Joshua 15:58
- ↑ 2 Chronicles 11:7
- ↑ Nehemiah 3:16
- ↑ 1 Macc. 4:29,61; 6:7,26,31,49,50; 9:52; 10:14; 11:65; 14:7,33
- ↑ Ant., XIII, v, 6
Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). "Beth-Zur". International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eds. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Retrieved December 9, 2005.
Hutchinson, J. (1915). "Lysias". International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eds. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
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