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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Dictionaries
Penuel

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

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PENUEL (once, Genesis 32:30 , Peniel). A place E. of Jordan, and near the Jabbok, at which Jacob wrestled with the angel ( Genesis 32:24 ff.), and said ( Genesis 32:30 ) to be called Peniel (or Penuel), i.e . ‘Face of God,’ because Jacob said, ‘I have seen God face to face , and yet my life is preserved.’ (The mention of the ‘face of God’ in Genesis 33:10 makes it possible that another explanation of the origin of the name is there alluded to.) There was, however, in PhÅ“nicia, a little S. of Tripolis, a headland called Theou prosôpon , ‘God’s face’; and it is thought by some scholars that ‘Penuel’ really derived its name from some projecting rock in whose contour a face was seen. Penuel is mentioned also in the history of Gideon, as a place with a strong tower or castle which Gideon destroyed ( Judges 8:8-9; Judges 8:17 ); it may be inferred from this passage that Penuel was a little E. of Succoth ( Judges 8:6 ), and also on a higher elevation (‘went up,’ Judges 8:8 ). Many years later, Penuel was fortified by Jeroboam ( 1 Kings 12:25 ); so that it must have been a place of some strategic importance. The site is not more certain than that of Succoth; see under Succoth some account of the data upon which its settlement depends, and a suggestion for it. Merrill identifies Penuel with Tulûl edh-Dhahab (‘the hills of gold,’ so called from the yellow metalliferous sandstone of which they are composed), two conical hills, about 250 ft. high, round which the Jabbok winds, about 6 miles E. of Deir ‘Allâ (which Merrill identifies with Succoth), up the valley, with ancient ruins on the top; and Conder Identifies it with Jebel Osha , a mountain 3597 ft. high, with a fine view, 8 miles S. of the Jabbok. But to each of these identifications there are grave objections: as regards Merrill’s site, it is expressly declared by other travellers that the banks of the Jabbok for many miles above Tulûl edh-Dhahab are on both sides so lofty and precipitous as to afford no way for either the Midianites or Gideon to pass along them (see ExpT [Note: Expository Times.] . xiii. [1902] 457 ff., or more briefly the writer’s Genesis , p. 300 ff.).

S. R. Driver.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Penuel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdb/​p/penuel.html. 1909.
 
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