BETH BARAH (bĕth' bâr'a, Heb. bethbarah, house of the ford). One of the important fords of the Jordan, identified by some with Beth Arabah. The Midianites were expected to use it as they escaped from Gideon, thus Gideon’s instruction to his messengers to “seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah” (Judg.7.24). Here Jephthah killed the Ephraimites (Judg.12.4), and here, some say, Jacob crossed the Jordan (Gen.32.23).
BETH-BARAH bĕth bâr’ ə
(Heb. בֵּ֥ית בָּרָ֖ה
, town of fords
), mentioned only in Judges 7:24
where it appears in a peculiar sentence. “...as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.” Many scholars have supported the emendation of the MT to מַעְבְּרֹ֤ות הַיַּרְדֵּן
, “the fords of the Jordan.” In light of the fact that there is no known location of the place, the emendation is plausible. If such a village did exist it must have stood W of the Jordan toward Esdraelon.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
Perhaps Beth-`abharu, the guttural being lost in copying. It is a ford which the Midianites were expected to pass in fleeing from Gideon. Messengers were therefore sent by Gideon to the Ephraimites bidding them "take before them the waters, as far as Beth-barah, even (the Revised Version, margin "and also") the Jordan" (Jud 7:24). "The waters" were the streams emptying themselves into the Jordan: "even the Jordan" is a gloss on "the waters." Between the Jordan and the modern Wady Fari`ah an enemy could be entrapped; it is therefore probable that Beth-barah was on that stream near its entrance into the Jordan.