BETH ARABAH (bĕth' ăr'a-ba, house of the desert, niv; “Beth-arabah” in rsv; “Arabah” in jb, kjv, mof, nasb, neb). A town probably at the northern end of the Dead Sea, one of Judah’s six northern border cities (Josh.18.18).
BETH-ARABAH bĕth ăr’ ə bə
(Heb. בֵּית הָעֲרָבָ֔ה
), a small town located in the wilderness SE of Jericho on the N bank of the Wadi el-Qelt a few m. W of the Jordan valley. It is prob. the site of the modern Arab village of ’Ain Gharbeh. It was the boundary between Judah on the S and Benjamin on the N (Josh 15:6
). There is some difference in the text as to whether it was a city of Judah (15:6
) or belonged to Benjamin (18:22
). There is the distinct possibility that the town may have changed hands at some time by an incident not recorded in the text. A difficulty is found in Joshua 18:18
however where the text reads, מוּל־הָֽעֲרָבָ֖ה
, which means, “over against the Arabah,” which is usually understood as an error and which should read as the other passages. There is no indication, however, why such an error in the MT should have been made, so there is still some doubt as to the emendation.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(beth ha-`arabhah; Baitharaba, "place of the Arabah"):
(1) One of the 6 cities of Judah "in the wilderness" (Jos 15:61), on the borders of Benjamin and Judah (Jos 15:6; 18:18 Septuagint). "The wilderness of Judah" is the barren land West of the Dead Sea. Beth-arabah is not yet identified.
(2) One of the cities of Benjamin (Jos 18:22). Septuagint (Codex Vaticanus) reads Baithabara, and this may be correct. The names are early confounded.