BELA, BELAH (bē'la, Heb. bela‘, destruction, belay)

BELA bĕla (בֶּ֖לַע, LXX Βαλακ; Βάλα, Βαλεκ, KJV BELAH, Gen 46:21 et al.). Name of several men in older genealogies of the OT.

Genesis 36:32f. (KJV) records that “Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah...Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead.” 1 Chronicles 1:43f. relates these same facts. The LXX transliterates the name as Βαλακ. The Targ. of Pseudo-Jonathan calls him Balaam, which is spelled nearly the same in Heb. The Balaam who was hired to curse Israel is also the son of a Beor (Num 22:5).

There is also a Bela at the top of the list of the sons of Benjamin (Gen 46:21 RSV; 1 Chron 7:6, and 8:1) telling plainly that he was the first-born. Numbers 26:38-40 and 1 Chronicles 8:3-5 record Bela’s sons. The LXX renders this one as Βάλα in Genesis and Βαλε elsewhere. The KJV of Genesis 46:21 has Baleh and Bela elsewhere.

Still a third man bears this name (1 Chron 5:8-10): “And Bela the son of Azaz, son of Shema, son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, as far as Nebo and Baal-meon. He also dwelt to the east as far as the entrance of the desert this side of the Euphrates, because their cattle had multiplied in the land of Gilead. And in the days of Saul they made war on the Hagrites, who fell by their hand; and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the region east of Gilead.”

The name Bela (Βάλεκ in LXX) appears in Genesis 14:2 either as another name for the town of Zoar or as the name of the king of Zoar.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(bela`, "destruction"; the King James Version Belah, Ge 46:21):

(1) Bela, the son of Beor, was the first king of Edom previous to the kingdom of Israel and reigned in the city of Dinhabah (Ge 36:32 f; 1Ch 1:43 f). Septuagint Codex Alexandrinus, Balak.

(2) Bela, the firstborn son of Benjamin (Ge 46:21; 1Ch 7:6 f; 1Ch 8:1). He was the head of the family of the Belaites (Nu 26:38), the father of Addar (called Ard, Nu 26:40), Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan (compare Shephupham, Nu 26:39), Huram (1Ch 8:3-5; Nu 26:40).

(3) Bela, a son of Azaz, of the tribe of Reuben, was a man of great power and wealth. His possessions reached from Nebo to the Euphrates (1Ch 5:8 ff).

See also

  • Zoar