JERUSALEM (Jul. 10)
That Beth Zur, the ancient Palestinian city located eighteen miles south of Jerusalem, was inhabited almost continuously for twenty-one centuries, from the early Bronze Age until shortly before the Christian era, is the discovery made by Professors Ovid R. Sellers and W. F. Albright, who are excavating under the auspices of a joint expedition of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago and the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem.
Many relics of various periods in the history of Beth Zur, the site of which is 3,300 feet above sea level, have been discovered by the excavators. These relics indicate that there was some habitation in Beth Zur as far back as 2200 B. C., and that around 1600 B. C. the town was well populated. Several centuries later the city was completely burned, but was rebuilt again. During the period of reign of King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, the town again boasted a considerable population, and it was during this period that it was fortified.
No evidence has been unearthed to show that Beth Zur was destroyed during Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Palestine or at any subsequent time.
More than 200 coins of different periods and much pottery was found in the ruins of Beth Zur. These date mostly from the period of the Persian and Hellenic occupation of the town. Fourteen of the coins are with Hebrew inscriptions, dating from the time of King John Hyrcanus.
Simon Maccabeus, brother of Judas Maccabeus, retook Beth Zur from the Syrians and expelled all of its Hellenizers. The town then declined rapidly, and was abandoned before the time of Christ.