[House of the Rock].
A town in the mountainous region of Judah listed between Halhul and Gedor. (Jos 15:58) The name is still preserved at Burj es-Sur, while excavations have shown the actual site of the ancient city to be at Khirbet et-Tubeiqeh (Bet Zur), about 0.5 km (0.3 mi) to the NW. This location is 7.5 km (4.5 mi) N of Hebron, with Gedor about 5 km (3 mi) farther NNW and Halhul 1.5 km (1 mi) to the SSE. It is described as one of the highest ruined towns in Palestine, being situated on a hill 1,007 m (3,304 ft) above sea level. As it was near the highway leading N-S along the ridge of the watershed route and also guarded the routes leading to Mareshah and Libnah in the W, Beth-zur occupied a position of strategic importance.
Following the division of the kingdom, Beth-zur was one of 15 cities rebuilt and fortified by King Rehoboam as a means of protecting Judah and Benjamin against invasion. (2Ch 11:5-12) It was among the cities reinhabited by the Jews returning from the Babylonian exile. (Ne 3:16) During the Maccabean period Beth-zur (then called Bethsura) figured prominently in the Jews’ struggle against the Seleucid kings of Syria, the Apocryphal book of First Maccabees describing a signal victory won there by Judas Maccabaeus against the Syrian forces (165 B.C.E.), following which he fortified the city again. (1 Maccabees 4:61; 6:26) In 162 B.C.E. the Syrians besieged the city, and it eventually capitulated because of lack of food supplies. (1 Maccabees 6:30-50) It became a Syrian garrison, and General Bacchides strengthened its fortifications.—1 Maccabees 9:52.
Archaeological excavations at Beth-zur in 1931 and 1957 revealed evidence of strong fortifications. Numerous coins were found dating from the fourth to the second century B.C.E.; these included silver Jewish coins believed to date from the Persian period or about the fourth century B.C.E.
The name Beth-zur appears in a genealogical list of the descendants of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel at 1 Chronicles 2:45. Maon is there said to be “the father of Beth-zur.” Many commentators understand Beth-zur to refer to the town of that name, Maon in such case being the father of those settling there, or perhaps the chief or principal one of the city.