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BEZEK (bē'zĕk, scattering, sowing)

A town in the territory of Judah taken for Israel under Joshua from the Canaanites and Perizzites of whom more than ten thousand had congregated there. Its king had either the name or more probably the title Adoni-Bezek (i.e., lord of Bezek). The ruin Bezkah, about twenty miles (thirty-three km.) NW of Jerusalem, may mark the spot (Judg.1.4-Judg.1.5).The place where Saul numbered his forces before going to relieve Jabesh Gilead (1Sam.11.8), about fourteen miles (twenty-three km.) NE of Samaria.

BEZEK be’ zĕk (בֶּ֔זֶק, unknown). Many would seek to locate this city in the territory allotted to Judah and Simeon because of the inference of Judges 1:4; perhaps modern Bezqa, near Jerusalem. The problem with this identification is that no such town in southern Pal. is known from any other source. This battle mentioned in Judges 1:4-7 must be located in the mountains of Gilboa: modern Khirbet Ibziq. KD argued for this location; more recently Aharoni, denying that there is any reason to suspect the historicity of the brief notices collected in Judahites 1, points to the likelihood of the Judahites fighting in the region of Manasseh by noting the widespread phenomena of tribes passing through the hill country of Ephraim. In 1 Samuel 11:8 Saul starts his one night march from this city to Jabesh-Gilead, which is engulfed by the Ammonites.


K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and The OT (1966), 66, n. 36; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible (1967), 197 and n. 62 on 197; G. E. Wright, “Literary and Historical Problems of Josh. 10 and Judg. 1,” JNES V (1946), 108 (contrary view).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(bezeq; Bezek, Codex Vaticanus, Abiezek):

(1) The city of Adoni-bezek taken by Judah and Simeon (Jud 1:4 f), in the territory allotted to Judah. It is somewhat doubtfully identified with Bezqah, about 3 miles Northeast of Gezer.

(2) The place where Saul marshaled his army before marching to the relief of Jabesh-gilead (1Sa 11:8). Eusebius, Onomasticon speaks of two villages of this name 17 Roman miles from Shechem, on the way to Scythopolis. No doubt Khirbet Ibziq is intended. Here, or on the neighboring height, Ras Ibziq, a mountain 2,404 ft. above sea level, the army probably assembled.

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