Beth Shean

Beth Shean (also spelled Beth Shan) was one of the cities of the Decapolis, a region where Jesus ministered (Matt 4:25; Mark 5:20, 7:31). Beth Shean has a long history, with occupation periods from around 2000B.C.

The large number of Egypitans artifacts dating back to the 12th century B.C. suggests that Beth-Shean was inhabited by Egyptians. This statue was found in the home of Ramses-Weser-Kepesh, the governor at that time.

After the decline of the Egyptian empire, Beth Shean was occupied by Canaanites. The remnants of 5 Canaanite temples were found dating back to the 12th century B.C.

The Roman period has left its imprint on the site, with the most impressive building being the theatre.

The Roman columns stood on both sides of the street and would mark the cardo, the heart of the city that was vibrant with shops and pagan temples. During the Roman period, the city was known as Scythopolis.

In the Old Testament, Beth Shean is listed as part of the tribe of Manasseh after Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land (Josh 17:11, 16). It is here that the bodies of Saul and his sons were fastened to its walls after a key Philistine victory (1 Sam 31:10-12).

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