A city figuring in two Biblical narratives. Dothan is today identified with Tell Dotha, situated on a hill in a small basinlike plain lying between the hills of Samaria and the Carmel range, ten miles (16.1 kilometers) NE of Samaria.
Young Joseph found his brothers and their flocks “at Dothan.” It is thought likely that they were to the N of that city, on the pasture ground through which ran the road connecting Gilead (E of the Jordan) with the Mediterranean seacoast and Egypt. This may have been the route traveled by the “caravan of Ishmaelites” who purchased Joseph.—Gen. 37:17-36.
Centuries later the king of Syria dispatched a heavy military force to Dothan to arrest Elisha. Here the prophet’s fearful attendant had his eyes miraculously opened to see the fiery war equipment of God in “the mountainous region . . . all around Elisha,” that is, either on the same hill where Dothan stood or the nearby hills to the E, S and W of Dothan. (2 Ki. 6:11-17) The Syrians, in encircling the city, may have also posted themselves in these surrounding hills, from which they then ‘came down’ when Elisha went out of the city to meet them. The enemy forces were rendered harmless, however, when miraculously struck with a type of blindness, Jehovah perhaps using the angelic forces in accomplishing this.—Vss. 18, 19; compare Genesis 19:1, 10, 11.
The ruins of Tell Dotha are believed by some to offer a fairly complete sketch of Palestinian culture down to the third or the fourth century C.E. It was apparently thriving during the aforementioned Biblical periods. Certain rectangular-shaped cisterns found here, measuring ten feet (3.04 meters) deep, are thought by some to be similar to the “waterpit” into which Joseph was cast.