In Genesis 28:19

Then he named that place Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

in Genesis 35:6

So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

we get that both Bethel and Luz mean the same city. Then in Joshua 16:2

It went from Bethel to Luz, and continued to the border of the Archites at Ataroth.

Are we talking of the same Bethel and the same Luz? If yes, how can one go from Bethel to Luz?

1 Answer 1


Several versions give a translation similar to:

It went on from Bethel (that is, Luz), crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth,

Such versions inlcude: NIV, NLT, BSB, etc. Ellicott has a similar comment:

Joshua 16:2. From Bethel to Luz — Dupin translates this Bethel-Luz, and Dr. Waterland, Bethel, which is Luz; for we sometimes find them mentioned as one and the same place, as Joshua 18:13; Jdg 1:23; and it is probable that in a length of time they were united, and the inhabitants of the former went to the latter.

Similarly, the Cambridge commentary has:

  1. and goeth out] Thence it passed on to Luz. It seems impossible to determine exactly whether Bethel and Luz were the same town, Luz being the Canaanite and Bethel the Hebrew name, or whether they were distinct places close to one another.

(a) This verse, Joshua 18:13, and Genesis 28:19, seem to favour the last interpretation.

(b) Genesis 35:6, Jdg 1:23, favour the former.

The conclusion of Mr Grove is “that the two places were distinct during the times preceding the conquest, Luz being the city, and Bethel the pillar and altar of Jacob; but after the destruction of Luz by the tribe of Ephraim the town of Bethel arose.” See his Article in Smith’s Bibl. Dict.

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