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Bible Dictionaries

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Mizpah

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Miz'pah. Miz'pah 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, Genesis 31:48, on Mount Gilead, Genesis 31:25, to serve both as a witness to the covenant then entered into, and as a landmark of the boundary between them. Genesis 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. Judges 10:17. There, the fatal meeting took place between Jephthah and his daughter, on his return from the war. Judges 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. 1 Samuel 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. Joshua 11:3. No other mention is found of this district in the Bible, unless it be identical with Mizpah, 4.

4. The valley of Mizpeh, to which the discomfited hosts, of the same confederacy were chased by Joshua, Joshua 11:8, perhaps identical with the great country of Coele-Syria.

5. Mizpeh, a city of Judah, Joshua 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. Joshua 18:26; 1 Kings 15:22; 2 Chronicles 16:6; Nehemiah 3:7.

It was one of the places fortified by Asa, against the incursions of the kings of northern Israel, 1 Kings 15:22; 2 Chronicles 16:6; Jeremiah 41:10, and after the destruction of Jerusalem , it became the residence of the superintendent, appointed by the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 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, 1 Samuel 7:6; 1 Samuel 7:16, 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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Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Mizpah'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/sbd/m/mizpah.html. 1901.

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