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MICHMAS

MICHMAS (Μαχμάς, LXX.; Μαχμά, Joseph., Euseb.), a city of the tribe of Benjamin, eastward from Bethel or Bethaven (1 Sam. 13.5), held by the Philistines, while Saul and the Israelites were in Gibeah. It was on the line of march of an invading army from the north, and the Assyrians are represented as depositing their baggage there when advancing against Jerusalem. (Isaiah, 10.28.) It is placed by Eusebius and St. Jerome in the borders of Aelia, and was then a considerable village, retaining its ancient name, 9 miles from Aelia, near Rama. (Onomast. s. v.) The same description exactly applies to it at the present day. It is 3 hours distant from Jerusalem, nearly due north. Mŭkhmâs stands on a low ridge between two small Wadys running south into the much larger valley named Wady es-Swinît. It bears marks of having been a much larger and stronger place than any in the vicinity. There are many foundations of hewn stones, and some columns among them. The Wady es-Swinît is “the Passage of Michmash” spoken of in 1 Samuel (13.23), and Isaiah (10.29). It is an extremely steep and rugged valley, which commences in the neighbourhood of Bethel, and a little below (E.) Mŭkhlmás contracts between perpendicular precipices.

The rocks Bozez and Seneh, mentioned in connection with Jonathan's exploit (1 Sam. 14.4), may still be recognised in two conical rocky knolls projecting into the valley between Jeba‘ (ancient Gibeah) and Mŭklhmâs. (Robinson, Bibl. Res. vol. ii. pp. 116, 117.) In the Talmud the soil of Michmash is celebrated for its fertility. (Reland, Palaestina, s. v. p. 897.)

[G.W]

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