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Beit She'an

Beit She'an, south of the Sea of Galilee, must have been familiar to the first believers in Jesus, as it was the capital of the Decapolis cities, through which word of Jesus’ miracles and teachings spread (Matt. 4:25, Mark 5: 20).

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Beit She'an

Beit She'an, south of the Sea of Galilee, must have been familiar to the first believers in Jesus, as it was the capital of the Decapolis cities, through which word of Jesus’ miracles and teachings spread (Matt. 4:25, Mark 5: 20).

It has also been a scene of tragedy: more than a millennium earlier, the Philistines hung the body of Saul from its ramparts (I Sam. 31:10). Tel Beit Shean, with its 5,000 years of history, towers majestically over the ruins of the Roman and later the Christian city that took shape below.

Visitors wander the ancient streets, amazed by columns toppled in the earthquake of 749 AD; an impressive theater that has returned to use; a bathhouse, which has been reconstructed to show visitors the pastimes of bygone days, and later contained a baptistery; and the churches that graced its suburbs. The fertile surrounding countryside, from Gilead to Jezreel and Gilboa, is still worthy of the ancient epithet “gateway to the Garden of Eden.”



From the Scriptures

Beit She'an 1 Samuel 31
 8 On the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth; and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan; and they came to Jabesh and burnt them there. 13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days. 

The Revised Standard Version, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.) 1973, 1977.
 

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