Ramat Rahel=Beth-Haccerem

Let us first start with the Byzantine evidence: Jerome mentions a “Bethacharma” located on a height between Tekoa and Jerusalem when commenting on Jeremiah 6:1, which mentions Beth-Haccerem as a place to send fire-signals from. En Kerem is visible neither from Jerusalem nor Ramat Rahel, nor does it seem to have significant Iron Age II remains. If En Kerem was Beth-Haccerem, smoke would have to rise 700 feet to be visible from Jerusalem. Indeed, the above evidence was precicely why early explorers of Palestine sometimes identified Beth-Haccerem with Herodium! Ramat Rahel, meanwhile, is both on a height (‘Ramat’), is between Tekoa and Jerusalem, is visible from both sites, and was inhabited in the Byzanine period (Stratum II). Thus, it is safe to say Ramat Rahel is Beth Haccerem (“Vineyard-House”), fitting due to it being an Assyrian-built collection center for the produce of Judah’s vineyards.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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