5 occurrences in 5 dictionaries

Reference: Mizpah


or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out. (1.) A place in Gilead, so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Ge 31:49) on his return to Palestine from Padan-aram. Here Jacob and Laban set up their memorial cairn of stones. It is the same as Ramath-mizpeh (Jos 13:26).

(2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he assumed the command of the Israelites in a time of national danger. Here he made his rash vow; and here his daughter submitted to her mysterious fate (Jg 10:17; 11:11,34). It may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Jos 20:8), but it is more likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of Ge 31:23,25,48-49.

(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon, inhabited by Hivites (Jos 11:3,8). The name in Hebrew here has the article before it, "the Mizpeh," "the watch-tower." The modern village of Metullah, meaning also "the look-out," probably occupies the site so called.

(4.) A town of Moab to which David removed his parents for safety during his persecution by Saul (1Sa 22:3). This was probably the citadel known as Kir-Moab, now Kerak. While David resided here he was visited by the prophet Gad, here mentioned for the first time, who was probably sent by Samuel to bid him leave the land of Moab and betake himself to the land of Judah. He accordingly removed to the forest of Hareth (q.v.), on the edge of the mountain chain of Hebron.

(5.) A city of Benjamin, "the watch-tower", where the people were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies (Jos 18:26; Jg 20:1,3; 21:1,5; 1Sa 7:5-16). It has been supposed to be the same as Nob (1Sa 21:1; 22:9-19). It was some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and was situated on the loftiest hill in the neighbourhood, some 600 feet above the plain of Gibeon. This village has the modern name of Neby Samwil (Illustration: Neby Samwil), i.e., the prophet Samuel, from a tradition that Samuel's tomb is here. (See Nob.)

Samuel inaugurated the reformation that characterized his time by convening a great assembly of all Israel at Mizpeh, now the politico-religious centre of the nation. There, in deep humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers. It was a period of great religious awakening and of revived national life. The Philistines heard of this assembly, and came up against Israel. The Hebrews charged the Philistine host with great fury, and they were totally routed. Samuel commemorated this signal victory by erecting a memorial-stone, which he called "Ebenezer" (q.v.), saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" (1Sa 7:7-12).

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Hebrew "the Mizpah," generally a "watchtower". Mizpeh (masculine) expresses rather the town; Mizpah (feminine) the district (Jos 11:8,8).

1. In Gilead E. of Jordan. The name Laban gave to Galeed, the "heap of witness," the memorial of his covenant with Jacob, and the boundary landmark between them (Ge 31:48-49,52), "for he said, Jehovah watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another." (See GALEED.) Herein he adopts Jacoh's language (Hebrew) and religion (Jehovah's worship). In Ho 5:1, "ye house of the king, ye have been a snare on Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor," the sense is, Ye ought to have been "watchers" guarding Israel from evil, but ye have been as hunters entrapping them into it. Mizpah in the E. and Tabor in the W. include the high places of the whole kingdom in which the rulers set up idol altars. Here Israel assembled to choose a leader in its "misery" when Ammon, having oppressed eastern Palestine, was threatening also to attack Judah and Ephraim W. of Jordan.

Jephthah passed Mizpah on his way from Gilead to fight Ammon (Jg 10:16-17; 11:29). Here on the hallowed ground he "uttered all his words before Jehovah in the Mizpah." Thenceforth his home was there; and at Mizpah the sad meeting with his daughter took place (Jg 11:34). Seemingly identical with Ramoth Gilead, or Ramath ("high place") Mizpeh (Jos 13:26); now es Salt, or else Mizpah is the Mount Jebel Osha, to the N.W. Here too Israel met, as being the ancient sanctuary, to determine what was to be done after the outrage perpetrated at Gibeah (Jg 20:1,3; 21:1,5,8).

2. Mizpeh Moab, where the Moabite king lived when David entrusted his parents to him (1Sa 22:3). Possibly Kir Moab, now Kerak, S.E. of the Dead Sea. More probably a mountain fastness on the high land bounding the Arboth Moab on the E. of the Dead Sea; on the mountains Abarim or Pisgah (De 34:1), which David could easily reach from Bethlehem by crossing the Jordan near its entrance into the Dead Sea. Mount Pisgah was the most commanding eminence in Moab, and contained the sanctuary Nebo, of which part was called Zophim (derived from the same root as Mizpeh).

3. The land of Mizpah, the abode of the Hivites, "under Hermon," who joined Jabin against Joshua (Jos 11:8). To "the valley of Mizpah eastward" Joshua chased Jabin's conquered hosts (Jos 11:8). The valley is probably part of the great hollow, Coelo-Syria, now Buka'a (Am 1:5, margin), containing Baalbek; near which on the N. is the hill Haush tell Safiyeh.

4. Mizpah of Benjamin (Jos 18:26). Fortified by Asa against the invasions of northern Israel (1Ki 15:22). The residence and scene of Gedaliah's murder (Jer 40:7-10; 41:1-2), At Mizpah Israel repented at Samuel's call (1Sa 7:5-6), and "drew water and poured it out before the Lord," pleading symbolically their misery, powerlessness, and prostration by the Philistines, that so God might strengthen them. An act of deepest humiliation and confession of misery, the result of sin. (Ps 22:14; 58:7; 2Sa 14:14; Isa 40:29-30; 2Co 12:9-10; La 2:19, "pour out thine heart like water before the face of Jehovah.") Here Samuel appointed Saul king (1Ki 10:17-25). Mizpah with Bethel and Gilgal were the three cities which Samuel as judge visited on circuit.

Men of Mizpah on the return from Babylon helped in rebuilding the wall; "the ruler of the district of Mizpah" and "the ruler of Mizpah" took part in it (Ne 3:7,15,19). Judas Maccabeus (1Ma 3:44) assembled the Jews at Maspha, as being "aforetime a place of prayer over against (implying Mizpah was in full sight of) Jerusalem." Josephus (Ant. 11:8, section 5; B. J. v. 2-3; 2:19, section 4; 5:2-3) mentions Sapha (a corruption of Maspha, Mizpah) as the place of Alexander's meeting Jaddua the high priest; and elsewhere calls it Scopus, i.e. the look-out place, from whence on the broad ridge (the continuation of Olivet), seven stadia N. of the city, one gains the first view of Jerusalem. The Septuagint twice renders Mizpah skopia. Nebi Samwil, on the W. bound of Benjamin toward the Philistines, with whom Israel was about to war (1Sa 7:5-6), Robinson identifies with Mizpah.

But it is five miles off, though in view of the Sakhrah of the temple and the Church of the Sepulchre; and this is at variance with 1 Maccabees, "over against Jerusalem." Moreover it is out of the way of the pilgrims from Samaria to Jerusalem, murdered by Ishmael; whereas Scopus is in the direct road (Jer 41:7). Sennacherib at Nob first caught the full view of "the house of Zion and hill of Jerusalem"; Nob therefore is probably Mizpah. Condor (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, January, 1875) identifies Nob with Nebi Samwil, the Arabs mistaking Nob "high place" for Nebi "prophet." Nebi Samwil is so near Gibeon that it must have been the high place visited by Solomon; the view from it is splendid. Traces of the outer court of the tabernacle are yet discoverable, and a curious rock cut approach. (but, see NOB.)

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Miz'pah Mizpeh. Miz'peh

1. The place where Jacob and Laban parted, after making a covenant and raising a heap of stones as a witness of the covenant and as a landmark between them. It was on the east of the Jordan, somewhere in Gilead. Ge 31:49; Jg 10:17; 11:11,29,34. It is probably the place mentioned in Jg 20:1,3; 21:1,5,8. Some suppose it to be identical with RAMATH-MIZPEH in Jos 13:26; and this to be the same as RAMOTH-GILEAD. Others judge these to be all different places and that No. 1 is identified with Suf, 32 18' N, 35 50' E.

2. LAND OF MIZPEH, the resort of the Hivites, who joined with Jabin to attack Joshua. It was 'under Hermon,' and therefore in the north of Palestine, Jos 11:3; this is possibly the same as

3. VALLEY OF MIZPEH to which Joshua chased the allies. Jos 11:8. Probably the extensive valley on the east of Mount Lebanon.

4. Town in the lowlands of Judah. Jos 15:38. Not identified.

5. City of Moab, where David placed his parents for safety. 1Sa 22:3. Not identified.

6. City of Benjamin, in the vicinity of Ramah and Gibeon. Jos 18:26. It was the city to which Samuel gathered the people, as 'to the Lord,' and where he judged Israel, and where also he presented Saul to them as their king. 1Sa 7:5-16; 10:17. The city was rebuilt by Asa king of Judah, and, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Gedaliah the governor established himself there. 1Ki 15:22; 25/23'>2Ki 25:23,25; 2Ch 16:6; Jer 40:6-15; 41:1-16; Ho 5:1. Probably the same place is alluded to in Ne 3:7,15,19. Identified by some with Neby Samwil, 31 50' N, 35 10' E.

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and Miz'peh (a watch-tower), the name of several places in Palestine.

1. The earliest of all, in order of the narrative, is the heap of stones piled up by Jacob and Laban,

Ge 31:48

on Mount Gilead, ver.

Ge 31:25

to serve both as a witness to the covenant then entered into and as a landmark of the boundary between them. ver.

Ge 31:52

On this natural watch-tower did the children of Israel assemble for the choice of a leader to resist the children of Ammon.

Jg 10:17

There the fatal meeting took place between Jephthah and his daughter on his return from the war. ch.

Jg 11:34

It seems most probable that the "Mizpeh-gilead" which is mentioned here, and here only, is the same as the "ham-Mizpah" of the other parts of the narrative; and both are probably identical with the Ramath-mizpeh and Ramoth-gilead, so famous in the later history.

2. A second Mizpeh, on the east of Jordan, was the Mizpeh-moab, where the king of that nation was living when David committed his parents to his care.

1Sa 22:3

3. A third was "the land of Mizpeh," or more accurately "of Mizpah," the residence of the Hivites who joined the northern confederacy against Israel, headed by Jabin king of Hazor.

Jos 11:3

No other mention is found of this district in the Bible, unless it be identical with --

4. The valley of Mizpeh, to which the discomfited hosts of the same confederacy were chased by Joshua,

Jos 11:8

perhaps identical with the great country of Coele-Syria.

5. Mizpeh, a city of Judah,

Jos 15:38

in the district of the Shefelah or maritime lowland.

6. Mizpeh, in Joshua and Samuel; elsewhere Mizpah, a "city" of Benjamin, not far from Jerusalem.

Jos 18:26; 1Ki 15:22; 2Ch 16:6; Ne 3:7

It was one of the places fortified by Asa against the incursions of the kings of northern Israel,

1Ki 15:22; 2Ch 16:6; Jer 41:10

and after the destruction of Jerusalem it became the residence of the superintendent appointed by the king of Babylon,

Jer 40:7

etc., and the scene of his murder and of the romantic incidents connected with the name of Ishmael the son of Nethaniah. It was one of the three holy cities which Samuel visited in turn as judge of the people,

1Sa 7:6,16

the other two being Bethel and Gilgal. With the conquest of Jerusalem and the establishment there of the ark, the sanctity of Mizpah, or at least its reputation, seems to have declined. From Mizpah the city or the temple was visible. These conditions are satisfied by the position of Scopus, the broad ridge which forms the continuation of the Mount of Olives to the north and cast, from which the traveller gains, like Titus, his first view, and takes his last farewell, of the domes, walls and towers of the holy city.

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MIZPAH, or MIZPEH, a city of the tribe of Benjamin, situated in a plain, about eighteen miles west of Jerusalem. Here Samuel dwelt; and here he called Israel together, to observe a solemn fast for their sins, and to supplicate God for his assistance against the Philistines; after which they sallied out on their enemies, already discomfited by the thunders of heaven, and gave them a total defeat, 1 Samuel 7. Here, also, Saul was anointed king, 1Sa 10:17-25. It appears that between this and the time of Asa, king of Judah, Mizpeh had suffered probably in some of the intervening wars, as we are told that Asa built it with the stones and timber of Ramah, 1Ki 15:22. There was another Mizpeh in Gilead; on the spot where Jacob set up the pillar or heap of stones, to commemorate the covenant there made between him and Laban, Ge 31:49. (See Gilead.) There was also a third Mizpeh, in the land of Moab, where David placed his father and mother, while he remained in his retreat at Adullam, 1Sa 22:3. It is to be observed, that Mizpeh implies a beacon or watch tower, a pillar or heap of commemoration; and at all the places bearing this name, it is probable that a single pillar, or a rude pile, was erected as the witness and the record of some particular event. These, subsequently, became altars and places of convocation on public occasions, religious and civil.

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