BETH SHAN: In this area lies the 80 meter (263 feet)
high tell of Beth-shean, one of the oldest cities in Bible Lands. The remains of
20 layers of settlement have been found going back more than three thousand
years BC. The Israelites failed to conquer the city in Joshua's time (Jos 17:16;
Jdg 1:27), and the fortified town was still under Philistine control in the time
of Saul, the first king of Israel. When Saul and his sons were slain in battle
their bodies were hung on the walls of this city by the victors (1Sa 31:6-13).
Beth-shean is included in the cities of Solomon's kingdom (1Ki 4:12). When the
Greek empire dominated the area the city was known as Scythopolis. Pliny, the
Roman author (1st cent AD) mentions the city in his writings. It was one of the
cities in the Roman province of Decapolis which was visited by Jesus (Mar
The city was further developed by the Romans and all around
the ancient tell the archaeologists are busy uncovering this large city that was
devastated by an earthquake. A recent find is a mosaic featuring the portrait of
a zebra, an animal not found in Israel.
THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL: One king, united nation
-- for last time until Christ (cp Eze 37:22).
THEY ATE, THEY DRANK...: Typ Israel powerful, and chief
among the nations (Mic 4:7,8).
THESE COUNTRIES BROUGHT TRIBUTE: Submissive nations (cp
TIPHSAH: A town situated on the right bank of the
Euphrates c 40 mi west of its confluence with the Balikh River and which
constituted the extreme northeast boundary of the kingdom of Solomon. Later
called Thapsacus, it guarded an important river crossing where Cyrus the Younger
and Alexander forded the Euphrates with their armies (WyE).
LIVED IN SAFETY: Security, peace: as in kingdom (Eze
AND OTHER HORSES: KJV has "dromedaries" -- not likely.
"Or rather mules, by comparing the passage with 2Ch 9:24; the particular kind of
creatures meant is not agreed on; though all take them to be a swifter sort of
creatures than horses; or the swifter of horses, as race horses"
THE SONS OF MAHOL: Or "the sons of the dance" (Heb
idiom, cp Psa 87 subscr). Poss ref: the dancing of David in 2Sa 6:14-16, in
which these Levites (cp 1Ch 6:33,34) play a part.