Bethel, a city of ancient Palestine, about 11 m. X. of Jerusalem. It was originally called Luz, and was named Beth-El (house or place of God) by Jacob, who here beheld in a vision the angels ascending and descending. The ruing called Beitin occupy its ancient site, covering an area of three or four acres. On the highest point are the remains of a square tower, and toward the south those of a Greek church standing on foundations of more ancient date. Bethel was a royal city of the Canaanites, and on the conquest of Palestine by Israel was assigned to Benjamin, but ultimately occupied by the Ephraimites. On the division of the country into the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, Jeroboam for political purposes built there an altar and set up a golden calf, to prevent the Israelites from resorting to the sanctuary at Jerusalem.
Bethel, a town of Oxford co., Maine, on the Androscoggin river and the Grand Trunk railroad. 70 m. N. N. W. of Portland; pop. in 1870, 2,286. It is rendered attractive to tourists by the beauty of the surrounding scenery The principal points of interest in the vicinity are Screw Auger falls, Rumford falls. Partridge tails, White Cap mountain, and Class Face mountain; the White mountains are 25 m. distant, the town contains 3 hotels, 5 churches manufactories of woollens, starch, lumber carnages, spools, furniture, blinds, etc, and an academy with 150 pupils.