house of God.
- A place in Central Palestine, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
- When Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between Bethel and Ai ( Genesis 12:8 ); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again “called upon the name of the Lord” ( Genesis 13:4 ).
- Also Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven ( Genesis 28:10 Genesis 28:19 ); and on his return he again visited this place, “where God talked with him” ( 35:1-15 ), and there he “built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el” (q.v.). To this second occasion of God’s speaking with Jacob at Bethel, ( Hosea 12:4 Hosea 12:5 ) makes reference.
- In times of trouble the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God ( Judges 20:18 Judges 20:31 ; 21:2 ).
- In Bethel also, the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron ( 20:26-28 ).
- In Bethel also, Samuel held in rotation his court of justice ( 1 Samuel 7:16 ). It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf ( 1 Kings 12:28-33 ; 13:1 ). Hence the prophet Hosea ( Hosea 4:15 ; 5:8 ; Hosea 10:5 Hosea 10:8 ) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., “house of idols.” Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 17:28 2 Kings 17:29 ).
- Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel ( Joshua 16:1 ; 1 Samuel 13:2 ).
- A town in the south of Judah ( Joshua 8:17 ; 12:16 ).