From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("a swallowing up"), called so from earthquakes having affected it.

1. One of the five cities of the plain, spared at Lot's intercession, and named Zoar, "a little one" ( Genesis 14:2;  Genesis 19:22). S.E. of the Dead Sea, on the route to Egypt, not far from where Sodom and Gomorrah stood, according to Holland, arguing from the smoke of the burning cities having been seen by Abraham from the neighborhood of Hebron, and also because if Sodom had been N. of the Dead Sea Lot would not have had time to escape to gear on the S.E. of the sea. But Grove places the cities of the plain N.W. of the Dead Sea, between Jericho and the sea, as the plain was seen by Lot from the neighborhood of Bethel.

From the hills between Bethel and Hai ( Genesis 13:3;  Genesis 13:10) it is impossible to see the S. of the Dead Sea. Bela is joined with Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, in  Genesis 14:2;  Genesis 14:8, forming a confederacy against the invading kings of Elam, Shinar, etc. Bela was probably the name of the king of Zoar, as his name alone of the five would otherwise not be given. Bela is also the name of an Edomite king ( Genesis 36:32). Robinson perhaps rightly identifies Bela with a ruin on the N. side of Lisan, "the tongue" of land jutting out into the Dead Sea at the S.E., between the wady Beni Hamid and the wady el Dera'ah. It was a Moabite city ( Isaiah 15:5;  Jeremiah 48:34);  Deuteronomy 34:3 does not prove that its site was further S., but only that Moses' eye caught no more southward town than Zoar.

2. A king of Edom, son of Beor, a Chaldean probably by birth (like Balaam also descended from Beor, and originally residing in Pethor of Aram by the Euphrates:  Numbers 22:5;  Numbers 23:7), and reigning in Edom by conquest ( Genesis 36:31-39;  1 Chronicles 1:43-51).  1 Chronicles 1:3. Benjamin's oldest son ( Genesis 46:21;  Numbers 26:38;  1 Chronicles 7:6;  1 Chronicles 8:1). From Gera (one house of his family) came Ehud, Israel's judge and deliverer Eglon of Moab ( Judges 3:14-30). As Husham is like Bela a king of Edom, so with Bela son of Benjamin is connected a Benjamite family of Hushim, sprung from a foreign woman of Moab ( 1 Chronicles 7:12;  1 Chronicles 8:8-11).  1 Chronicles 8:4. Azaz's son, a Reubenite ( 1 Chronicles 5:8). He too "in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baal Meon, eastward unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates" ( 1 Chronicles 5:8-9).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

BELA . 1 . A king of Edom (  Genesis 36:32-33 , cf.   1 Chronicles 1:43 f.). The close resemblance of this name to that of ‘Balaam, the son of Beor,’ the seer, is noteworthy, and has given rise to the Targum of Jonathan reading ‘Balaam, the son of Beor’ in   Genesis 36:32 .   Genesis 36:2 . The eldest of the sons of Benjamin (  Genesis 46:21 ,   Numbers 26:38 [patronym. Belaites ],   1 Chronicles 7:6;   1 Chronicles 8:1 ). 3 . A Renbenite who was a dweller in the Moabite territory (  1 Chronicles 5:8 f.). It is noteworthy that this Bela, like the Edomite king mentioned above, seems to have been traditionally connected with the Euphrates. 4 . A name of Zoar (  Genesis 14:2;   Genesis 14:8 ).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Be'la. (Destruction).

1. One of the five cities of the plain which was spared at the intercession of Lot, and received the name of Zoar,  Genesis 14:2;  Genesis 19:22. See Zoar .

2. Son of Beor, who reigned over Edom, in the city of Dinhabah, eight generations before Saul.  Genesis 36:31-33;  1 Chronicles 1:43-44.

3. Eldest son of Benjamin, according to  Genesis 46:21, (Authorized Version, "Belah");  Numbers 26:38;  Numbers 26:40;  1 Chronicles 7:6;  1 Chronicles 8:1 and head of the family of the Belaites.

4. Son of Ahaz, a Reubenite.  1 Chronicles 5:8.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

1. Anothername of ZOAR, a small city near the Dead Sea.  Genesis 14:2,8;  Genesis 19:22 .

2. Son of Beor and king in Edom.  Genesis 36:32,33;  1 Chronicles 1:43,44 .

3. Son of Azaz, of the tribe of Reuben.  1 Chronicles 5:8 .

4. Eldest son of Benjamin, and head of the family of the BELAITES.  Genesis 46:21 (BELAH);   Numbers 26:38,40;  1 Chronicles 7:6,7;  1 Chronicles 8:1,3 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

  • A son of Azaz ( 1 Chronicles 5:8 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Bela'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

     Genesis 14:2 2 Genesis 36:32 3 Genesis 46:21 Numbers 26:38 1 Chronicles 7:7 4 1 Chronicles 5:8

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

     Genesis 14:2 .

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

    (Heb. id. בֶּלִע , a thing Swallowed ) , the name of one place, three men, and one mythology figure.

    1. (Sept. Βαλάκ .) A small city on the shore of the Dead Sea, not far from Sodom, afterward called ZOAR, to which Lot retreated from the destruction of the cities of the plain, it being the only one of the five that was spared at his intercession ( Genesis 19:20;  Genesis 19:30). It lay at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, on the frontier of Moab and Palestine (Jerome on Isaiah 15), and on the route to Egypt, the connection in which it is found ( Isaiah 15:5;  Jeremiah 48:34;  Genesis 13:10). We first read of Bela in  Genesis 14:2;  Genesis 14:8, where it is named with Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as forming a confederacy under their respective kings, in the vale of Siddim, to resist the supremacy of the King of Shinar and his associates. It is singular that the King of Bela is the only one of the five whose name is not given, and this suggests. the probability of Bela having been his own name, as well as the name of his city, which may have been so called from him. The tradition of the Jews was that it was called Bela from having been repeatedly ingulfed by earthquakes; and in the passage  Jeremiah 48:34, "From Zoar even unto Horonaim (have they uttered their voice) as an heifer of three years old," and  Isaiah 15:5, they absurdly fancied an allusion to its destruction by three earthquakes

    (Jerome, Quaest. Heb. in Genesis 14). There is nothing improbable in itself in the supposed allusion to the swallowing up of the city by an earthquake, which בָּלִע exactly expresses ( Numbers 16:30); but the repeated occurrence of בֶּלִע , and words compounded with it, as names of men, rather favors the notion of the city having been called Bela from the name of its founder. This is rendered yet more probable by Bela being the name of an Edomitish king in  Genesis 36:32. For further information, see De Saulcy's Narrative, 1, 457-481, and Stanley's Palestine, p. 285. (See Zoar).

    2. (Sept. Βαλά , Βαλέ .) The eldest son of Benjamin, according to  Genesis 46:21 (where the name is Anglicized "Belah");  Numbers 26:38;  1 Chronicles 7:6;  1 Chronicles 8:1, and head of the family of the Belaites. BC post 1856. The houses of his family, according to  1 Chronicles 8:3-5, were Addar, Gera, Abihud (read Ahihud), Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Shupham, and Huram. The exploit of Ehud, the son of Gera, who shared the peculiarity of so many of his Benjamite brethren in being left-handed ( Judges 20:16), in slaying Eglon, the king of Moab, and delivering Israel from the Moabitish yoke, is related at length,  Judges 3:14-30. It is perhaps worth noticing that as we have Husham by the side of Bela among the kings of Edom,  Genesis 36:34, so also by the side of Bela, son of Benjamin, we have the Benjamite family of Hushim ( 1 Chronicles 7:12), sprung apparently from a foreign woman of that name, whom a Benjamite took to wife in the land of Moab ( 1 Chronicles 8:8-11). (See Becher).

    3. (Sept. Βαλάκ .) A king of Edom before the institution of royalty among the Israelites; he was a son of Beor, and his native city was Dinhabah ( Genesis 36:32-33;  1 Chronicles 1:43). B.C. perhaps cir. 1618. Bernard Hyde, following some Jewish commentators (Simon, Onomast. p. 142, note), identifies this Bela with Balaam, the son of Beor; but the evidence from the name does not seem to prove more than identity of family and race. There is scarcely any thing to guide us as to the age of Beor, or Bosor, the founder of the house from which Bela and Balaam sprung. As regards the name of Bela's royal or native city Dinhabah, which Fairst and Gesenius render "the place of plunder," it may be suggested whether it may not possibly be a form of דִּהֲבָה , the Chaldee for Gold, after the analogy of the frequent Chaldee resolution of the dagesh forte into nun. There are several names of places and persons in Idumaea which point to gold as found there as Dizahab  Deuteronomy 1:1, "place of gold;" Mezahab "waters of gold," or "gold-streams, " Genesis 36:39. Compare Dehebris, the ancient name of the Tiber, famous for its yellow waters. If this derivation for Dinhabah be true, its Chaldee form would not be difficult to account for, and would supply an additional evidence of the early conquests of the Chaldees in the direction of Idumaea. The name of Bela's ancestor Beor is of a decidedly Chaldee or Aramaean form, like Peor, Pethor, Rehob, and others; and we are expressly told that Balaam, the son of Beor, dwelt in Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, i.e. the river Euphrates; and he himself describes his home as being in Aram ( Numbers 22:5;  Numbers 23:7). Saul again, who reigned over Edom after Samlah, came from Rehoboth by the river Euphrates ( Genesis 36:37). We read in Job's time of the Chaldaeans making incursions into the land of Uz, and carrying off the camels, and slaying Job's servants ( Job 1:17). In the time of Abraham we have the King of Shinar apparently extending his empire so as to make the kings on the borders of the Dead Sea his tributaries, and with his confederates extending his conquests into the very country which was afterward the land of Edom ( Genesis 14:6). Putting all this together, we may conclude with some confidence that Bela, the son of Beor, who reigned over Edom, was a Chaldaean by birth, and reigned in Edom by conquest. He may have been contemporary with Moses and Balaam. Hadad, of which name there were two kings ( Genesis 36:35;  Genesis 36:39), is probably another instance of an Aramaean king of Edom, as we find the name Ben-hadad as that of the kings of Syria or Aram in later history (1 Kings 20). Compare also the name of Hadad-ezer, king of Zobah, in the neighborhood of the Euphrates ( 2 Samuel 8:3, etc.). (See Edom); (See Chaldaean).

    4. (Sept. Βαλέκ .) A son of Azaz, a Reubenite ( 1 Chronicles 5:8). B.C. post 1618. It is remarkable that his country too was "in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baal-meon; and eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates" (8, 9).

    in Norse mythology, was a giant whom the god Freyr killed in a duel, by striking him on the head with the horns of a deer.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [9]

    Be´la [ZOAR]