The Meaning of Bethel
Bethel is a Hebrew name that means “house of God” or “temple of God.” It is derived from the Hebrew words beth (“house”) and El (“God”). The name has been used in the Bible to refer to several places, including a city in ancient Israel and a place where Jacob had a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder.
In the Bible, Bethel is first mentioned in Genesis 12:8 when Abraham moves to the region and builds an altar there. Later, in Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob has a dream at Bethel in which he sees a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending it. He then names the place Bethel, meaning “house of God.” In Joshua 4:5-7, Joshua sets up twelve stones at Bethel as a memorial to the crossing of the Jordan River.
Bethel is also mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:16 when Samuel sets up a monument there after defeating the Philistines. In 2 Kings 2:1-2, Elijah ascends into heaven from Bethel. In Amos 7:13, Amos prophesies against Bethel for its idolatry. Finally, in Hosea 4:15, Hosea condemns Bethel for its spiritual unfaithfulness.
Today, Bethel is still used as both a given name and surname. It is especially popular among Christians who are looking for a meaningful name with religious significance. As a given name, it can be used for either gender.