Lower Beth Horon


Twin cities, one higher than the other, and so called Upper and Lower Beth Horon. An important road here dominates the path to the Shephelah, the plain between the Judean hills and the Mediterranean coast. Joshua used the road to chase the coalition of southern kings led by the king of Jerusalem (Josh. 10:10). Here God cast hail stones on the enemies.

The border between the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin was at Beth-horon (Josh. 16:3, 5; 18:13-14). The city belonged to Ephraim but was set aside for the Levites (Josh. 21:22). The Philistines sent one unit of their army the way of Beth-horon to attack Saul and Jonathan (1 Sam. 13:18). Solomon rebuilt the lower city as a stone city and as a defense outpost (1 Kings 9:17). The chronicler preserved an even earlier tradition of a descendant of Ephraim, a woman named Sherah, building the two cities (1 Chron. 7:22-24).

When King Amaziah of Judah (796-767 B.C.) followed a prophet’s advice and sent home mercenary soldiers he had hired from Israel, those soldiers fought the cities of Judah, including Beth-horon (2 Chron. 25:13).

Upper Beth Horon is modern beit Ur el-Foqa, five miles northwest of Gibeon and ten miles northwest of Jerusalem. It is 1750 feet above sea level. Lower Beth Horon is two miles to the east and only 1050 feet above sea level. It is modern beit Ur et-Tahta.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary