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Bruce A Peterson
Beth-el was a major worship center in Israel, a rival to the temple in Jerusalem, which was the capital of Judah. The prophets criticized of this site for its pagan practices. Jeroboam I, the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, caused a golden calf to be erected and worshiped here. 1Kings 12:25ff.
Beth means house and el (like Elohim) has a reference to God so Bethel means House of God literally.
I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
Bethel did have much apostacy at times.
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