(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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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. When the men of Jabesh-Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, they went and took Saul's corpse and his sons' corpses from 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. This still needs to be investigated in detail.
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.