Zo'phim (Heb. Tsophim', צוֹפַים [briefly צפַים. in Numbers], watchers, as often; but Fürst thinks, fertile), the name either in whole or part of two places in Palestine.
1. (Sept σκοπιάν; Vlg. sublimis.) The designation of a field (שָׂדֶה) or spot on or near the top of Pisgah, from which Balaam, had his second view of the encampment of Israel (Numbers '23, 14). If the word sadeh ("field")
may be taken in its usual sense, then the "field of Zophim" was a cultivated spot high up on the top of the range of Pisgah. But that word is the almost invariable term for a portion of the upper district of Moab, and therefore may have had some local sense which: has hitherto escaped notice, and in which it is employed in reference. to .he spot in question. The position of the fieldof Zophi m is not defined; it is only said that it commanded merely a portion of the encampment of Israel. Neither do the ancient versions afford any clew. The Targum of Onkelos, the Sept., and the Peshito-Syriac take Zophim in the sense of "watchers" or "lookers out" and translate it accordingly. But it is probably a Hebrew version of an aboriginal n ame, related to that which, in other places of the present records, appears as Mizpehi or Mizpah. Mount Nebo, or Pisgah, is now undoubtedly identified as Jebel Neba; near Hesban. SEE NESO. De Saulcy appears to have even heard the ancient name given to it by the Bedawin (Voyage en Tere Sainte, 1, 289). Along its eastern side, and reaching from the ruins of Maan to Hesban, is a plateau of arable land, still cultivated in part by the Arabs, which appears to be the place in question (Portner Handbook for Palestine; p. 300.). In this view Tristram at length concurs (Bible Places, p. 346). Prof Paine, of the American Exploring Party, regards it as Wady Haisa, on the south east of Jebel Neba. SEE PISGAH.
2. (Sept. Σωφίμ v; r. Σιφά; Vulg. Sophim.) Ramathaim-zophim was Samuel's birthplace (1Sa 1; 1Sa 1). 'The dual form of the first term, according to some, signifies one of the two Ramahs: to wit, that of the, Zophites (Lightfoot, 2, 162, ed. 1832); and the second term, according to others, means speculatores, i.e. prophets, and denoting that at this place was a school of the prophets a hypothesis supported by the Chaldee paraphrast, who renders it "Elkanah, a man of Ramatha, a disciple of the prophets." Others find in the dual form of Ramthaim a reference to the shape of the city, which was built on the sides of two hills; and in the word Zophim see an allusion to some watch-towers, or places of observation, which the high situation of the city might favor (Clerici Opera, 2, 175). Others, again, affirm that the word Zophim is added because Ramah or Ramatha: was inhabited by a clan of Levites of the family of Zuph (Calmet, s.v.). Winer asserts (Realwort. art. "Samuel") that the first verse of the book declares Samuel to be an Ephraimite. This term, however, if the genealogy in Chronicles remain undisturbed, must signifyl not an Ephraimite by birth, but by abode. We find that the Kohathites, to whom Samuel belonged, had their lot in Mount Ephraim (Jos 21:5-20), where not the hill of' Ephraim is meant, but the hill country of Ephraim (Gesenius, Thesaur. s.v.). The family of Zoph, living in the hill country of Ephra1m, might be termed Ephrathite, while their ancestor's name distinguished their special locality as Ramathaim zophim. The geography of this place has been disputed. SEE RAMAH. Eusebius and Jerome confound it with Arimathsa of the New Test. (Onomast. art. "Armatha Sophim"). The Sept. renders it Α᾿ρμαθαὶμ Σωφίμ, Cod. A, or Cod. B,'Α᾿ρμαθὶμ Σιφά 2.0a. For an account of the place now, and for long called Neby Samwl, and the impossibility of its being the ancient Ramah, see Robinson, Palestine, 2, 141; and for an interesting discussion as to the site of Ramath-zophim, the latter name being yet retained in the Arabic term Sobah, the curious reader may consult the same work (p. 830), or Biblioth. Sacra (p. 46). The hilly range of Ephraim extended southward into other cantons, while it bore its original name of Mount Ephraim; — and so the inhabitants of Ramathaim-zophim might be termed Ephrathites, just as Mahlon and Chilion are called "Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah" (Ru 1:2). SEE RAMATHAIM; SEE ZUPH.