Mizpeh of Benjamin

Mizpeh Of Benjamin Respecting this place Lieut. Conder remarks (Tent Work, 2:117): "There are plenty of Mizpehs in Palestine, but in positions quite inapplicable, whereas, in the right direction there is no name of the kind (so far as has yet been discovered), for Sh'afat is not apparently derived from Mizpeh, but is a name very like that of Jehosaphat, and the natives of the place say that it was called after a Jewish king. In crusading times the town seems to be also mentioned under the title Jehosaphat.

"The early Christians placed Mizpeh in quite another direction, and Nob at Belt Ntba, which is famous in the history of Richard Lion- Heart. Their site for Mizpeh was near Soba, west of Jerusalem, and here we found a ruin with the title Shffa, which in meaning is equivalent to the Hebrew Mizpeh; but this place cannot be described as over against Jerusalem, and its recovery is thus a matter of minor interest.

"There is one other site which has been proposed for Mizpeh, though it is merely a conjecture, and not a name which might lead to the identification: this site is the remarkable hill called Neby Samwil, north of Jerusalem. The place is conspicuous from the tall minaret which crowns the old crusading church on the summit, and within the church is. the cenotaph now revered by the Moslems as the tomb of Samuel a modern monument covered with a green cloth.

"The crusaders, with their usual contempt for facts, fixed on this hill as the ancient Shiloh; they also called it Ramah, and added besides a title of their own. 'Two miles from Jerusalem,' says Sir John Maundeville, 'is Mount Joy, a very fair and delicious place. There Samuel the prophet lies in a fair tomb, and it is called Mount Joy because it gives joy to pilgrims' hearts, for from that place men first see Jerusalem.'

"The tradition which places Samuel's tomb here seems, however, to be only recent. Rabbi, Benjamin of Tudela, who is a tolerably safe guide as regards Jewish sacred sites, discredits the story and speaks of a change of site. When the Christians took Ramleh, which is Ranmah, from the Mohammedans,' says the rabbi, 'they discovered the sepulchre of Samuel the Ramnathi near the Jewish synagogue, and removed his remains to Shiloh, where they erected a large place of worship over them, called St. Samuel of Shiloh to the present day.'" Neby Samwil is fully described in the Memoirs to the Ordnance Survey, 3:12, 149.

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