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Tell Nasbeh (Tel Mizpe) [Biblical Mizpah]

*****Tell Nasbeh Slide Show (George Fox University)*****

Located 12 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Jerusalem - Tell Nasbeh is probably to be identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin .....

An Artist's Reconstruction of Tell Nasbeh from Old Testament Life and Literature (1968) by Gerald A. Larue

Tell Nasbeh was occupied in the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I Periods when it was a relatively small village. After this time the site was virtually abandoned until the beginning of the Iron Age. If one accepts the identification with Mizpah the Biblical text records that the Israelite tribes gathered at Mizpah before their battle against Gibeah and later against the Philistines. Saul was appointed King at Mizpah. Along with Gilgal and Bethel Mizpah was one of the towns visited by the prophet Samuel on his circuit ...

When Baasha - the King of Israel - encroached on the territory of Judah King Asa bribed the King of Damascus to invade northern Israel. Asa then called up the people of Judah for corvee labor and fortified Mizpah and Geba with the materials Baasha had brought to fortify Ramah. Asa is also said to have constructed a great cistern at Mizpah. During the Iron Age Mizpah may have been home to some form of cultic establishment ...

Aerial view of Tell Nasbeh from the south

After the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah the son of Ahikam over what remained of the area of Judah. He made Mizpah his capital and along with many of his entourage was murdered there by anti-Babylonian conspirators. How long Mizpah remained the capital is uncertain. It was still the capital of its own district when the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. Pottery, coins and other small finds indicate some settlement at the site into the Hellenistic period ...

It was at this time that Judas Maccabee [Apocrypha] gathered his army at Mizpah to confront the Seleucid army (I Maccabees 3:46). During this and the subsequent Roman period the tell (Arabic mound) was probably an agricultural estate occupied by a watch tower, kilns, a few buildings and fields. The tell does not seem to have been occupied in later times though Byzantine tombs were found in the extra-mural cemeteries and the floor of a Byzantine church near the west cemetery was uncovered ...


The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium