BETH-AVEN (behth-ay' vuhn) Place name meaning, “house of deception” or “of idolatry.” 1. A city near Ai east of Bethel (Joshua 7:2). It formed a border of Benjamin (Joshua 18:12) and was west of Michmash (1 Samuel 13:5). Saul defeated the Philistines here after God used his son Jonathan to start the victory (1 Samuel 14:23). The exact location is not known. Suggestions include Burqa, south of Bethel; tell Maryam; and Ai. 2. Hosea used the term as a description of Beth-el. Instead of a house of God, Beth-el had become a house of deception and idolatry. Thus he commanded worshipers to refuse to go there (Hosea 4:15), to prepare for battle against an army marching from the south against Benjamin (Hosea 5:8), and to be afraid of the golden calves in the worship place of Beth-el, not because they represented the fearful presence of God but because they brought disaster on the nation (Hosea 10:5). All the worship places were Aven, deception and idolatry (Hosea 10:8).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.