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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Mountain in Moab, celebrated as one of the stations of the Israelites in their journey through that country (Numbers 21:20) and as the place of one of Balak's sacrifices (ib. 23:14), but chiefly as the place of Moses' death after he had beheld from its summit "all the land of Gilead, unto Dan; and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the hinder [western] sea; and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar" (Deuteronomy 34:1-2, R. V.). It is identified (ib. 34:1) with Mount Nebo; and in Numbers 23:14 the "field of Zophim" is the "top of Pisgah." Under the "slopes of Pisgah" was the "sea of the Arabah" or Dead Sea (Deuteronomy 3:17, 4:49; Joshua 12:3, 13:20, R. V.).

Pisgah has been identified also with the modern Naba, a ridge which projects westward from the plateau of Moab, near the northeastern end of the Dead Sea, about five miles southwest of Heshbon, and 2,643 feet above the Mediterranean and 3,935 feet above the Dead Sea. It is described by G. A. Smith ("Historical Geography of the Holy Land," p. 563) as about two miles long, with a level top about one-half mile broad. "It is of flinty limestone, mostly barren." It commands an extensive view of the whole of western Palestine. There are two summits: the higher, Ras Naba; the lower and outermost, Ras Siyaghah. The latter commands the whole of the Jordan valley and is probably identical with the "top of Pisgah which looketh down upon Jeshimon" (Numbers 21:20, R. V., margin).

The name "Pisgah" has not survived till modern times, unless in "Ras Fashkah," a headland on the opposite or western side of the Dead Sea. It is said to have been still used, however, in the time of Eusebius (in the form Φασγώ; comp. LXX. Φασγά, Φασχά) for a district in that region (Eusebius, "Onomasticon," ed. Lagarde, pp. 124-125, 237).

  • G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land, pp. 562-566;
  • Tristram, Land of Moab, pp. 339-340;
  • Survey of Eastern Palestine, pp. 154-156, 198-203;
  • Conder, Heth and Moab, 3d ed., pp. 132 et seq.;
  • Driver, Commentary on Deuteronomy (34:1).
E. C.
J. F. McL.
Map of Location

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Pisgah'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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