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BEEROTH (bē-ê'rŏth, Heb. be’ērôth, wells). A Canaanite town whose inhabitants succeeded in deceiving Israel by making a covenant with them (Josh.9.3ff.). When the deceit was discovered, they were made slaves by the Israelites (Josh.9.22-Josh.9.23). They were apparently Hivites (Josh.9.7), their village located in the territory assigned to Benjamin (Josh.18.25; 2Sam.4.2). The murderers of Ish-Bosheth (2Sam.4.2) and Naharai, Joab’s armor-bearer (2Sam.23.37) came from Beeroth; and Beerothites returned from Babylon after the Exile (Ezra.2.25).

BEEROTH, BEEROTHITE be e’ roth, be’ ĕ roth, (בְּאֵרֹ֖ות, wells) be e’ roth īt, be’ ĕr oth īt (בְּאֵ֣רֹתִ֔י). Beeroth is one of the four cities involved in the Gibeonite treaty (Josh 9:17), which this Hivite confederation deceitfully obtained from Joshua (9:7). This city was then incorporated as one of the cities of the tribe of Benjamin (18:25; 2 Sam 4:2). After the Exile it was repopulated (Ezra 2:25; Neh 7:29).

In 2 Sam 4, the account of the two sons of Rimmon, a Beerothite, named Baanah and Rechab is told. These two brothers, captains of Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, were responsible for murdering Ishbosheth while he was sleeping. Somewhere in this time the Beerothites fled to Gittaim, apparently due to the Philistine threat (2 Sam 4:3).

One of David’s “thirty,” the military elite of Israel, came from Beeroth. He was Nahari, armorbearer to Joab (2 Sam 23:37; 1 Chron 11:39).

The location of this site is not certain. Some identify it with modern el-Bīreh, eight m. N of Jerusalem, but this name does not appear in any literary document before the Middle Ages. Eusebius’ Onomasticon places it under Gibeon, but Gibeon is there capable of two interpretations, viz., Gibeon=el-ğīb or Gibeon=el-bīreh (or a place close to it). Even the unearthing of a number of jar handles at el-ğīb with the name of “Gibeon” on them (BA 19 [1956], 70) has failed to convince everyone, since jars were inscribed with the place of manufacture where they were destined for use. Other suggestions are Tell en-Nasbeh, Nebi Samwil and el-ğīb.


C. C. McCown, Excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh (1947), 23-59; J. Simons, Geographical and Topographical Texts of OT (1959), 175, 176.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

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