🔼The name Bethel in the Bible
That Bethel was named so by Jacob after he sees his famous vision in which a ladder reaches into the heavens. Before that event this town was known as Luz (Genesis 28:19). Long before Jacob, Abraham dwelled there too (Genesis 12:8). And long after, the judge Samuel held court in Bethel (1 Samuel 7:15). Bethel is also the location of the gruesome scene in which two bears kill 42 boys after they mocked the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:23; see for a discussion of that scene our Biblical commentary).
The name Bethel is mostly spelled with a maqqep, but in Genesis 35:16, Joshua 8:17, 1 Kings 12:32 and Jeremiah 48:13 it's spelled without (בית אל). The ethnonym of the unfortunate Hiel the Bethelite is spelled בית האלי (1 Kings 16:34). And since the god of Shechem was called El-berith, its temple was known as בית אל ברית or Beth El Berith (Judges 9:46).
🔼Etymology of the name Bethel
The name Bethel consists of two elements. The first part of the name is the word בית (bayit), meaning house:
The name Bethel means House Of God.