|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out.
(1.) A place in Gilead, so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Genesis 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 (Joshua 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 (Judges 10:17; 11:11, 34). It may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Joshua 20:8), but it is more likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of Genesis 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon, inhabited by Hivites (Joshua 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 (1 Samuel 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 (Joshua 18:26; Judges 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Samuel 7:5-16). It has been supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Samuel 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, 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" (1 Samuel 7:7-12).
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
miz'-pa, miz'-pe: This name is pointed both ways in the Hebrew, and is found usually with the article. The meaning seems to be "outlook" or "watchtower." It is natural, therefore, to look for the places so named in high positions commanding wide prospects.
(1) (ha-mitspah (Genesis 31:49 Judges 11:11, 34), mitspah (Hosea 5:1), mitspeh ghil`adh (Judges 11:29); Massepha, ten skopian, and other forms): It seems probable that the same place is intended in all these passages, and that it is identical with Ramath-mizpeh of Joshua 13:26. It is the place where Jacob and Laban parted in Mt. Gilead; consequently it lay to the North of Mahanaim. Here was the home of Jephthah, to which he returned after the defeat of the Aremonites, only to realize how his rash vow had brought desolation to his house. It was taken by Judas Maccabeus, who destroyed the inhabitants and burned the city (1 Maccabees 5:35). Jerash, and Kal`at er-Rabad; but these seem all to lie South of any possible site for Mahanaim. A ruined site was discovered by Dr. Schumacher (M und NPDV, 1897, 86), with the name Macfa, which is just the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew Mitspah. It lies some distance to the Northwest of Jerash and claims consideration in any attempt to fix the site of Mizpah.
(2) ('erets ha-mitspah (Joshua 11:3), biq`ath mitspeh (verse 8); Masseuman, Massephath, and other forms): The "land of Mizpah" and the "valley of Mizpah" may be taken as applying to the same district. It lay on the southwest slopes of Hermon Northeast of the Waters of Merom. The site must be looked for on one of the heights in the region indicated, from which a wide view is obtained. MuTallah, a Druze village standing on a hill to the North of `Abil and East of Nahr el-Chasbany, was suggested by Robinson. The present writer agrees with Buhl (GAP, 240) that the ancient castle above Banias, Kal`at ec-Cubeibeh, occupies a more likely position.
(3) (mitspeh; Maspha): A town in the Shephelah of Judah named with Dilan, Joktheel and Lachish (Tell el-Hesy). Eusebius, Onomasticon mentions a Macfa in the neighborhood of Eleutheropolis, to the North. The identification proposed by Van de Velde and Guerin would suit this description. They would locate Mizeph at Tell ec-Cafiyeh, about 7 1/2 miles Northwest of Beit Jibrin, "a conspicuous hill with a glittering white cliff rising like an isolated block above the adjacent country" (PEFS, 1903, 276). Many identify this site with Gath, but the name and character of the place point rather to identification with Mizpeh, the Blanche Guarde or Alba Specula of the Middle Ages.
(4) (ha-mitspah; Massema, Maspha): A town in the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:26). Hither came the men of Israel to deal with the Benjamites after the outrage on the Levite's concubine (Judges 20:1, 3; Judges 21:1, 5, 8). At Mizpah, Samuel gathered his countrymen. While there crying to God in their distress, they were attacked by the Philistines, whom they defeated with great slaughter (1 Samuel 7:5, etc.). Here also Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen king, after which Samuel told the people the "manner of the kingdom" (10:17, etc.). Mizpah was fortified by Asa, king of Judah, with materials which Baasha, king of Israel, had used to fortify Ramah (1 Kings 15:22 2 Chronicles 16:6). When Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and made Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, governor of the remnant of the people left in the land of Judah, the governor's residence was fixed at Mizpah (2 Kings 25:23). Here he was joined by Jeremiah, whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the Babylonian guard, had set free. At Mizpah, Ishmael, son of Nathaiah, treacherously slew Gedaliah and many who were with him. Two days later he murdered a company of pilgrims, throwing their dead bodies into the great cistern which Asa had made when strengthening the place against possible attack by Baasha of Samaria. He then made prisoners of the people, including the king's daughters, and attempted to convey them away to the Ammonites, an attempt that was frustrated by Johanan, son of Kareah (Jeremiah 40; Jeremiah 41). Mizpah was the scene of memorable assembly in a day of sore anxiety for Judah, when Judas Maccabeus called the warriors of Judah together for counsel and prayer (1 Maccabees 3:46). From this passage we also learn that the place was an ancient sanctuary-"for in Mizpah there was a place of prayer aforetime for Israel."
It has been proposed to identify Mizpah with Tell Nasbeh, a site on the watershed South of Bireh. The Abbe Raboisson established the fact that Jerusalem can be seen from this point. In this respect it agrees with Maundeville's description. "It is a very fair and delicious place, and it is called Mt. Joy because it gives joy to pilgrims' hearts, for from that place men first see Jerusalem." But Jeremiah 41:10 may be taken as decisive against this identification. Ishmael departed to go east. From Tell Nasbeh this would never have brought him to the great waters that are in Gibeon (PEFS, 1898, 169, 251; 1903, 267). A more probable identification is with Neby Samwil, a village on high ground 4 1/2 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, the traditional burying-place of Samuel. It is 2,935 ft. above sea-level, and 500 ft. higher than the surrounding land. Here the pilgrims coming up by way of Beth-heron from Jaffa, the ancient route, first saw the Holy City. The mosque of the village was formerly a church, dating from Crusading times; and here the tomb of Samuel is shown. If this is the ancient Mizpah, a very slight detour to the North would bring Ishmael to the great waters that are in Gibeon, el-Jib (Gibeon) being only a mile and a quarter distant.
(5) (mitspeh mo'abh "Mizpeh of Moab"; Masepha): A town in Moab to which David took his parents for safety during Saul's pursuit of him (1 Samuel 22:3). It is possibly to be identified with Kir-moab, the modern Kerak, whither David would naturally go to interview the king. But there is no certainty. Possibly we should read "Mizpah" instead of "the hold" in 1 Samuel 22:5.
(6) In 2 Chronicles 20:24, probably we should read "Mizpah" instead of "watch-tower": ha-mitspeh la-midhbar would then point to a Mizpeh of the Wilderness to be sought in the district of Tekoa (20:20).
Mizpah (42 Occurrences)
Genesis 31:49 and Mizpah, for he said, "Yahweh watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 11:3 to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY RSV NIV)
Joshua 11:8 And Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Israel, and they smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and to Misrephoth-maim, and to the valley of Mizpah eastward, and smote them until none were left remaining to them. (DBY NIV)
Joshua 13:26 and from Heshbon unto Ramath-mizpeh, and Betonim; and from Mahanaim unto the border of Lidbir; (See NIV)
Joshua 15:38 and Dilan, and Mizpeh, and Joktheel; (See NIV)
Judges 10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. The children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 11:11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them: and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh in Mizpah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 11:29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manas'seh, and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. (DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 11:34 Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house; and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances: and she was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to Yahweh at Mizpah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, "Tell us, how did this wickedness happen?" (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, "There shall not any of us give his daughter to Benjamin as wife." (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 21:5 The children of Israel said, "Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who didn't come up in the assembly to Yahweh?" For they had made a great oath concerning him who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah, saying, "He shall surely be put to death." (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 21:8 They said, "What one is there of the tribes of Israel who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah?" Behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:5 Samuel said, "Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray for you to Yahweh." (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:6 They gathered together to Mizpah, and drew water, and poured it out before Yahweh, and fasted on that day, and said there, "We have sinned against Yahweh." Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpah. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:7 When the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah, and pursued the Philistines, and struck them, until they came under Beth Kar. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Yahweh helped us until now." (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 7:16 He went from year to year in circuit to Bethel and Gilgal, and Mizpah; and he judged Israel in all those places. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 10:17 Samuel called the people together to Yahweh to Mizpah; (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 22:3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab; and he said unto the king of Moab: 'Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.' (See NAS NIV)
1 Kings 15:22 Then king Asa made a proclamation to all Judah; none was exempted: and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and its timber, with which Baasha had built; and king Asa built therewith Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 25:23 Now when all the captains of the forces, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 25:25 But it happened in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the royal seed came, and ten men with him, and struck Gedaliah, so that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mizpah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 16:6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and its timber, with which Baasha had built; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Nehemiah 3:7 Next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, that appertained to the throne of the governor beyond the River. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Nehemiah 3:15 The spring gate repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of the district of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Shelah by the king's garden, even to the stairs that go down from the city of David. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Nehemiah 3:19 Next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another portion, over against the ascent to the armory at the turning of the wall. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:6 Then went Jeremiah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who were left in the land. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:8 then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, to wit, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of the Maacathite, they and their men. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to stand before the Chaldeans who shall come to us: but you, gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that you have taken. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:12 then all the Jews returned out of all places where they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, to Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 40:15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spoke to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly, saying, Please let me go, and I will kill Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: why should he take your life, that all the Jews who are gathered to you should be scattered, and the remnant of Judah perish? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:1 Now it happened in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal and one of the chief officers of the king, and ten men with him, came to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and there they ate bread together in Mizpah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:3 Ishmael also killed all the Jews who were with him, to wit, with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans who were found there, the men of war. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:6 Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went: and it happened, as he met them, he said to them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:10 Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people who were in Mizpah, even the king's daughters, and all the people who remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam; Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive, and departed to go over to the children of Ammon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:14 So all the people who Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah turned about and came back, and went to Johanan the son of Kareah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:16 Then took Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after that he had killed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, to wit, the men of war, and the women, and the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hosea 5:1 "Listen to this, you priests! Listen, house of Israel, and give ear, house of the king! For the judgment is against you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread on Tabor. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)