Mizpah - or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out.
(1.) A place in Gilead, so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Gen. 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 (Josh. 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 (Judg. 10:17; 11:11, 34). It may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Josh. 20:8), but it is more likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of Gen. 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon, inhabited by Hivites (Josh. 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 Sam. 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 (Josh. 18:26; Judg. 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Sam. 7:5-16). It has been supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Sam. 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 Sam. 7:7-12).
Previous topic: Mizar
Next topic: Mizpar
Return to Bible Dictionary Main Index
Additional essential Bible study tools: