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).
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.