The word Mizpah means a “watch-tower.” In Bible geography, it was a city of Benjamin, near Ramah (Joshua 18:25, 26; 1 Kings 15:22). The exact site is unknown. Some suggest that it was about 5 mi. (8 km.) northwest of Jerusalem (as in the map of Palestine during the Period of the Judges). Others believe it was 7 1/2 mi. (12 km.) north. This site is assigned to Ataroth on the map of Palestine in Biblical times. Many important events took place in this city.
In the Time of Joshua
A city of Judah and a district of the Shephelah or maritime lowland. “This was the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families… Dilean, Mizpah, Joktheel” (Joshua 15:20-38).
In the Time of Judges
A city in Gilead where the tribes were summoned at times for conferences. “So all the children of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, as well as from the land of Gilead, and the congregation gathered together as one man before the LORD at Mizpah…” (Judges 20:1–3; 21:1, 5, 8). It was possibly a town where Jephthah resided and a region at the foot of Mount Hermon where the Hivites lived.
In the time of Samuel
This city was where the prophet gathered the tribes and judged Israel. “And Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.’ So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, ‘We have sinned against the LORD.’ And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah” (1 Samuel 7:5,6).
In the time of Saul
This city was where God chose him to be king. “Then Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah” (1 Samuel 10:17).
In the time of David
It was a town of Moab to which David removed his parents for safety during his persecution by Saul. “Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, ‘Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me’” (1 Samuel 22:3).
In the time of the kings
King Asa fortified this city as a defense against the northern tribes. “Then King Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted. And they took away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah;” “Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones and timber of Ramah, which Baasha had used for building; and with them he built Geba and Mizpah” (1 Kings 15:22; 2 Chronicles 16:6).
In His service,