Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah was a city of Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...


Tell en-Nasbeh
Tell en-Nasbeh
Tell en-Nasbeh, likely the biblical city of Mizpah in Benjamin, is a 3.2 hectare tell located on a low plateau northwest of Jerusalem...

 is one of two sites often identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin
Tribe of Benjamin
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Benjamin בִּנְיָמִין was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BCE, the Tribe of Benjamin was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes...

, and is located about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. The other suggested location is Neby Samwil, which is some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and situated on the loftiest hill in the vicinity, some 600 feet above the plain of Gibeon.

When the Levite
In Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance"...

's concubine was raped by the men of Gibeah
Gibeah is a biblical site identified by archaeologists as a hill in Jerusalem, on the outskirts of the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, known as Tell el-Ful.-Etymology:...

, the sons of Israel met at Mizpah of Benjamin, where they decided to attack the men of Benjamin for this grievous sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...


After the debacle
Battle of Aphek
The Battle of Aphek is a biblical episode described in 1 Samuel 4:1-10 of the Hebrew Bible. During this battle the Philistines defeat the Israelite army and capture the Ark of the Covenant.-The Biblical account:...

 at Aphek, where the Hebrews lost the Ark
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

 to the Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, Samuel gathered all Israel to Mizpah to offer sacrifices to the Lord and ask Him to forgive their sin. To memorialize this event, Samuel set up a stone between Mizpah and Shen and named it Eben-Ezer
Eben-Ezer , is the name of a location that is mentioned by the Books of Samuel as the scene of battles between the Israelites and Philistines. It is specified as having been less than a day's journey by foot from Shiloh, near Aphek, in the neighbourhood of Mizpah, near the western entrance of the...

 ("stone of help"), because the Lord had helped them.

Samuel also gathered the people of Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to Mizpah for the Lord to identify their first king
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

. There, Saul was chosen by lot from all the tribes
Tribal allotments of Israel
According to the Book of Joshua, Joshua divided the newly conquered land of Canaan into parcels, and assigned them to the Tribes of Israel by lot. The Book of Joshua describes the parcels by giving landmarks along the borders, or in some cases by listing the included cities...

 and families of Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...


After the Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem, they appointed Gedaliah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Gedaliah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon as governor of Yehud province, which was formed after the defeat of the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem, in a part of the territory that previously formed the kingdom. He was supported by a...

 governor in Mizpah over the remaining residents. Many returned to Mizpah from where they had fled. The prophet Jeremiah came to Mizpah from Ramah
Ramah in Benjamin
Ramah in Benjamin is a city of ancient Israel. It was located near Gibeon and Mizpah to the West, Gibeah to the South, and Geba to the East. It is identified with modern Er-Ram, about 8 km north of Jerusalem. The city is first mentioned in Joshua 18:25, near Gibeah of Benjamin. A Levite came...

, where the Babylonians had released him. Later Ishmael, a member of the royal family, assassinated Gedaliah. Despite Jeremiah's warning that the people would be a reproach and die if they went to Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, they persisted in going there.


The main contenders for the site of Mizpah are Tell en-Nasbeh
Tell en-Nasbeh
Tell en-Nasbeh, likely the biblical city of Mizpah in Benjamin, is a 3.2 hectare tell located on a low plateau northwest of Jerusalem...

 and nearby Nebi Samwil.
  • If Mizpah was Tell en-Nasbeh on the Nablus road
    Nablus Road
    The Nablus Road is one of the traditional routes into Jerusalem's walled city. Starting at the Damascus Gate, it is the ancient road north.-Places of interest:* The Garden Tomb* The Dominican School of Biblical Research and Saint Stephen's Monastery...

    , Ishmael would not have fled to Ammon
    Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

     via Gibeon
    Gibeon was a Canaanite city north of Jerusalem that was conquered by Joshua. and describes the Gibeonites as not being Israelites, but as Amorites.The remains of Gibeon are located on the south edge of the Palestinian village of Jib....

      which is located to the West
    West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

     near Neby Samwil which overlooks Jerusalem.
Furthermore, Judas Machabeus, preparing for war with the Syrians, gathered his men "to Maspha, over against Jerusalem: for in Maspha was a place of prayer heretofore in Israel".

  • On the other hand, Nebi Samwil has produced no remains
    Artifact (archaeology)
    An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

     of the Iron Age I
    Iron Age
    The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

    , nor any remains of the 6th century
    6th century BC
    The 6th century BC started the first day of 600 BC and ended the last day of 501 BC.Pāṇini, in India, composed a grammar for Sanskrit, in this century or slightly later...

    , both periods in which Mizpah was occupied. By contrast, Tell en-Nasbeh
    Tell en-Nasbeh
    Tell en-Nasbeh, likely the biblical city of Mizpah in Benjamin, is a 3.2 hectare tell located on a low plateau northwest of Jerusalem...

     has produced abundant remains from both periods, and moreover, has a massive fortification system which matches well with the building campaign of King Asa
    Asa of Judah
    Asa was the third king of the Kingdom of Judah and the fifth king of the House of David. He was the son of Abijam, grandson of Rehoboam, and great-grandson of Solomon. The Hebrew Bible gives the period of his reign as 41 years. His reign is dated between 913-910 BCE to 873-869 BCE. He was...

     of Judah
    Kingdom of Judah
    The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

     in the early 9th century BC
    9th century BC
    The 9th century BC started the first day of 900 BC and ended the last day of 801 BC.- Overview :The 9th century BC was a period of great changes in civilizations. In Africa, Carthage is founded by the Phoenicians...

    . Its location on the main road leading out of Jerusalem fits well with the reference to Mizpah in 1 Kings
    Books of Kings
    The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

    xv, 22.
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