Name of a city mentioned in the Talmud and in the Midrash (Neubauer, "G. T." pp. 122 et seq.), called "Betogaboa" by Ptolemy and others. It does not occur in the Old Testament; but Reland shows that it was one of the Idumean forts captured by Vespasian (Josephus, "B. J." iv. 8, § 1). It was also called "Eleutheropolis," under which name it is often mentioned by Eusebius. In his time it was the capital of the province within which it lay. The site of the ancient city is determined by the present village Bêt Gibrûn in south-western Judea, that contains some ruins. In the vicinity are many natural caves, artificially enlarged; hence it is thought that the name "Eleutheropolis," that is, "free city," arose through a confusion between "ḥor" (cave) and "ḥor" (free). The original name, which was not supplanted by the Greek form, is found in even the oldest Mohammedan writers.

J. Jr. F. Bu.
Images of pages