“Thus says Yahweh
To the house of Israel.
But do not seek Bethel!
Do not enter into Gilgal!
Do not cross over to Beer-sheba!
Gilgal shall surely go into exile!
Bethel shall come to nothing!
He will break out
Against the house of Joseph,
It will devour Bethel,
With no one to quench it.’”
Amos has Yahweh tell the house of Israel to seek him, so that they might live. However, they were not to seek Yahweh at the religious places of the idols at Bethel or Gilgal, since nothing would come of that. They were not to go to Beer-sheba either, which was south of Judah, like a resort place. Instead, they were to seek out Yahweh, so that they could live. Yahweh was going to break out against the house of Joseph, Ephraim, and devour Bethel, the capital city, with a fire that no one could put out.
“As for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, Dibon and its villages, Jekabzeel and its villages, Jeshua, Moladah, Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, Beer-sheba and its villages, Ziklag, Meconah and its villages, En-rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beer-sheba to the valley of Hinnom.”
Nehemiah mentioned 17 towns outside of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is not mentioned. Some of these towns had villages and fields, while others did not. Some were way south while others were in the western or central parts of Judah. Kiriath-arba may refer to Hebron, about 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Dibon, Jeshua, Moladah were southern towns in Judah, south of Hebron. This is the only mention of Jekabzeel and Meconah. Beth-pelet, Hazar-shual, and Beer-sheba were on the southern border with Edom. Ziklag, a place where David was, En-rimmon, and Lachish were in the southwest bordering with the old Philistine towns. Zorah is on the northwest side of Judah in old Dan territory. Jarmuth, Zanoah, Adullam, and Azekah were in central Judah.