(bĕth-shăn`) or


(bĕth-shē`ən), ancient town, at the meeting of the Vale of Jezreel with the Jordan valley. It was the most strategic point of E ancient Palestine, with the crossing of four roads. References to it in the Bible are numerous. Excavations (1921–33) revealed settlements of the 4th millennium B.C. From the 15th cent. B.C. to the 12th cent. B.C. it was a fortified Egyptian outpost, and later it was a Philistine town until it fell to the Israelites at the time of David. In Hellenistic times it was called Scythopolis, apparently because it fell to the Scyths in the 7th cent. B.C. It was a principal city of the Decapolis and a major trade center. The Arabs who took it (638 B.C.) named it Beisan. The present-day Israeli settlement called Bet Shean is nearby.


See A. Rowe, A Topography and History of Beth-shan (1930); G. M. FitzGerald, Beth-shan (1931).

References in periodicals archive ?
According to the biblical narrative, the Philistines cut off Saul's head and nailed his corpse to the wall of Beth-shan.
2) At that time, I thought that the Marniptah stela proposed in this letter, which he wants to install in the temple of Ba'al in Ugarit, should be related to the stelae from Beth-Shan.
See Alan Rowe, The Topography and History of Beth-Shan (Philadelphia: Univ.
When David ordered the burial of the bodies of Saul's descendants, he also ordered the burial of the bodies of Saul and Jonathan, which had been left hanging in Beth-shan by the Philistines.
The destruction of the important strongholds at Beth-shan and Megiddo (VIIA) signalled the [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 1 OMITTED] end of a long period of Egyptian domination of Syro-Palestine.
The last Egyptian occupation at Beth-shan, stratum Lower VI commenced shortly after the Late Bronze/Early Iron transition, and continued at least until the time of Ramesses IV before suffering a violent destruction by fire (Dothan 1982: 82; Mazar 1997: 69; Finkelstein 1996: 173-4).
Dothan's (1982) 'high' dating of early Philistia has now largely been superseded by a 'middle' chronology which posits that the Bichrome ware developed only after Philistine influence moved inland from the coastal cities at a time roughly contemporary with the fall of Egyptian Megiddo and Beth-shan.
The revised dating also leads to the reasonable conclusion that the Philistine expansion took place soon after the Egyptians abandoned Beth-shan and Megiddo c.