Miz'pah (Heb. Mitspah', מַצפָּה, Ge 36:43; Jos 11:3; Jg 10:17; Jg 11:11,34; Jg 20:1,5,8; 1Sa 7:6,11-12,16; 1Sa 10:17; 1Ki 15:22; 2Ki 25:23,25: 2Ch 16:6; Ne 3:7,15,19; Jer 40:6-15; Jer 41:1,3,6; Jer 10; Jer 14; Jer 16; Ho 5:1; always [except in Ho 5:1] with the art.הִמַּצפָה; Sept. Μασσηφά,Vulg. Maspha; but in Ge 31:49, Sept. ὅρασις,Vulg. omits; 1Sa 7:5-13; Vulg. Masphath; 1Ki 15:22, Sept. σκοπιά; 2Ch 16:6, Μασφά; Ne 3:19, Μασφέ v.r. Μασφαί; Ho 5:1, σκοπιά, speculatio), or Miz'peh (Heb. MitsSehb', מַצפֶּה, Jos 11:8; Jg 11:29; 1Sa 6:5-7; 1Sa 22:3; with the art. Jos 15:38; Jos 18:26; 2Ch 20:24; Sept. Μασσηφά, but σκοπιά in Jg 11:29; Μασσηφάθ in 1Sa 22:3; Vulg. Maspha, but Masphe in Jos 11:8; Mesphe in Joshua 18:-26), the name of several places (the Auth. Vers. "Mizpah" in Ge 31:49; 1Ki 15:22; 2Ki 25:23,25; 2Ch 16:6; Ne 3:7,15,19; Jer 40; Jer 41; Ho 5:1; elsewhere "Mizpeh"), signifying properly a beacon or watch-tower (as in Isa 21:8); hence also a lofty place, whence one can see far and wide over the country, whether furnished with a castle or not (as in 2Ch 20:24). (Mizpeh becomes Mizpah "in pause.")
1. A place in Gilead, so named (in addition to its other names, GALEED and JEGAR-SAHADUTHA, both signifying the "heap of witness") in commemoration of the compact formed by Jacob with Laban, who overtook him at this spot on his return to Palestine (Ge 31:49, where the word הִמִּצֵּבָה has apparently fallen out of the text by reason of its similarity to the name itself, so that we should read "and he called the obelisk Mizpah" [see Gesenius, Thes. page 1179]. It would seem that the whole of verse 49 is the language of Jacob, for it contains a play upon the Heb. [יַצֶŠ, yitseph] basis of the name Mizpeh, and also appeals to Jehovah; whereas Laban spoke Aramsean, and his language is resumed with verse 50). This cannot be the Mizpeh of Gilead (see below), for it lay north of Mahanaim, on Jacob's route, which was southward towards the Jabbok (32, 2, 22). We are therefore to look for it in some of the eminences of that vicinity. It probably never became an inhabited locality.
2. Another place east of Jordan, called MIZPAH OF GILEAD (Auth. Vers. "Mizpeh"), where Jephthah assumed his victorious command of the assembled Israelites (Jg 10:17; Jg 11:11), and where he resided (Jg 11:34), is probably the same with the RABIATH-MIZPEH of Gad (Jos 13:26), and may be identified with RAMATH-GILEAD SEE RAMATH-GILEAD (q.v.). Eusebius names it as a Levitical city in the tribe of Gad (Onomast. s.v. Μασφά).
3. Another place in Gilead, apparently a district inhabited by a branch of the Hivites, at the foot of Mount Hermon (Jos 11:3), and so named from a valley gast of Misrephoth-main and opposite Zidon (Jos 11:8); possibly the tract immediately west of Jebel Heish (see Keil, Comment. ad loc.). The idolatries practiced in this vicinity are alluded to in Ho 5:1 (see Schwarz, Palest. page 60). Pressel (in Herzog's Real- Encyklop. s.v.), ingeniously conjecturing that Mizpah (the fem. Heb. form of the name) is properly the country in general, and Mizpeh (the masc.) an individual place or town, understands in this case the land to be the entire plain of Paneas or Csesarea Philippi, now called the Ard el Huleh, and the valley to be that of the eastern source of the Jordan from Jebel Heish. Not much different is the view of Knobel and others in their commentaries, thinking of the country from Hasbeiya southward, and westward from Tell el-Kady, the ancient Dan. They refer in confirmation of their views to Robinson's account (Researches, 3:373) of a Druse village, built on a hill which rises 200 feet above the level of the plain, and commands a noble view of the great basin of the Hlleh; it bears the name of Mutulleh or Metelleh, an Arabic word of the same meaning as Mizpah, and employed to render it in Ge 31:49 by Saadias. Comp. Seetzen, Reisen dur-ch Syrien (Berl. 1857-59), 1:393 sq.; Ritter, Die Sinai-Halbinsel, Paldstina u. Syrien (Berl. 1850-51), volume 2, part 1, page 1121 sq.
4. A city of Benjamin (Jos 18:26), where the people were wont to convene on national emergencies (Jg 20:1,3; Jg 21:1,5,8; 1Sa 7:5-16; 1Sa 10:17 sq.). It was afterwards fortified by Asa, to protect the borders against the kingdom of Israel (1Ki 15:22; 2Ch 16:6). In later times it became the residence of the governor under the Chaldeeans (2Ki 25:23,25; Jer 40:6 sq.; 41:1), and was inhabited after the captivity (Ne 3:7,15,19). In the Jewish traditions it was for some time the residence of the ark (see Jerome, Qu. Hebr. on 1Sa 7:2; Reland. Antiq. 1:6); but this is possibly an inference from the expression "before Jehovah" in Jg 20:1.
Josephus frequently mentions it (Μασφάτη, Ant. 6:2, 1; Μασφαθά, 6:4, 4; 10:9, 2, 4, 5), once identifying it with Ramah (Μασφά, 8,13,4). From the account in 1Sa 7:5-16, it appears to have been near Gibeah, and it could not have been far from Ramah, since king Asa fortified it with materials taken from that place; and that it was situated on an elevated spot is clear from its name. On these grounds Dr. Robinson (Researches, 2:144) inclines to regard the modern village of Neby Samwil ("the prophet Samuel") as the probable site of Mizpah, especially as in 1 Macc. 3:46 it is described as "over against Jerusalem," implying that it was visible from that city. This place is now a poor village, seated upon the summit of a ridge, about 600 feet above the plain of Gibeon, being the most conspicuous object in all the vicinity. It contains a mosque, now in a state' of decay, which, on the ground of the apparently erroneous identification with Ramah, is regarded by Jews, Christians, and Moslems as the tomb of Samuel (see Schwarz, Palest. page 127). The mosque was once a Latin church, built in the form of a cross, upon older foundations, and probably of the time of the Crusaders. There are many traces of former dwellings. The modern hamlet clusters at the eastern side of the mosque. The houses, about twelve in number, are either ancient or composed of ancient materials. Their walls are in places formed of the living rock hewn into shape, and some of the little courts are excavated to the depth of several feet.. There is thus an air of departed greatness and high antiquity about the place, which, added to its commanding situation, gives it an inexpressible charm (Porter, Hand-book, page 216; comp. Tobler, Zwei Biicher Topgraphie von Jerusalem- u. seine Unmgebungen [Berl. 1853,1854], 2:874 sq.). Mr. Williams (in Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog. s.v.) doubts this location, urging that Jer 41:5-6 appears to require a position more directly on the great route from Jerusalem to Samaria; but Neby Samwil is exactly on the route by which Johanan overtook the murderer of Gedaliah (Jer 41:12; comp. 2Sa 2:13). He suggests the modern village Shaphat, lying upon the ridge anciently called Scopus, as more likely to have been Mizpah; and Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, page 222) argues for a similar identity on the ground of the common signification of .these latter (i.q. look-out). This last place, however, is described by Josephus (Ant. 11:8, 5) in very: different terms from Mizpah (ut sup.), and Jerusalem is not visible from Shaphat (for which Dr. Bonar likewise contends, Land of Promise, Append. 8). SEE RAMAH.
5. A town in the plains of Judahb (Jos 15:38). Eusebius and Jerome identify it with a place which in their time bore the name of Alaspha (Onomast. s.v. Μασφά), on the borders of Eleutheropolis, northward, on the road to Jerusalem; perhaps the present Tell es-Safieh (Schwarz, Palest. page 103), the Alba Specula of the Crusaders (Robinson, Researches, 2:362-367), which was probably the GATH SEE GATH (q.v.) of later Biblical times.
6. A town of Moab to which David took his parents, lest they might be involved in Saul's persecution of himself (1Sa 22:3). His placing them there under the protection of the Moabitish king implies that it was the chief city, or royal-residence of the Moabites; and under that view we may, perhaps identify it as an appellative (i.q. the acropolis or stronghold of Moab) with KIR-MOAB SEE KIR-MOAB (q.v.) or Kerak.