BETH AVEN (bĕth' ā'vĕn, Heb. bēth’āwen, house of vanity). A town on the northern mountains of Benjamin (Josh.18.12), beside Ai, east of Bethel (Josh.7.2) and west of Michmash (1Sam.13.5; 1Sam.14.23). The name is used by Hosea (1Sam.4.15; 1Sam.5.8; 1Sam.10.5) to reveal the fallen condition of Bethel due to the idolatry introduced by King Jeroboam. The house of God (Bethel) had become the house of vanity and idolatry (Beth Aven).
BETH-AVEN, BETHAVEN bĕth ā’ vən
(Heb. בֵּ֥ית אָֽוֶן
, village of evil
), a purposeful perversion of the familiar town name Beth-El (Hos 10:5
) The location given for it in 1 Samuel 13:5
is said to be W of Michmash, which may indicate the existence of two such locations. It has been proposed that it is an archaic name of Ai, but evidence is lacking.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A place on the northern boundary of the territory of Benjamin (Jos 18:12) East of Bethel, near Ai (Jos 7:2), West of Michmash (1Sa 13:5; 14:23). Beth-aven, "house of vanity," i.e. "idolatry," may possibly represent an original beth-’on, "house of wealth." Wilson (PEFS, 1869, 126) suggests Khirbet An, West of Michmash. The name is used in mockery for Bethel by Hosea (4:15; 10:5,8, etc.; compare Am 5:5).