|PISGAH - |
piz'-ga (ha-picgah; Phasga, to lelaxeumenon, he laxeute):
This name, which has always the definite article, appears only in combination either with ro'sh, "head," "top," or 'ashdoth, not translated in the King James Version save in Deuteronomy 4:49, where it is rendered "springs" the Revised Version (British and American) uniformly "slopes," the Revised Version margin "springs."
Pisgah is identified with Nebo in Deuteronomy 34:1; compare 3:27. "The top of Pisgah, which looketh down upon the desert" marks a stage in the march of the host of Israel (Numbers 21:20). Hither Balak brought Balaam to the field of Zophim (Numbers 23:14). Here Moses obtained his view of the Promised Land, and died. See NEBO. Many scholars (e.g. Buhl, GAP, 122; Gray, "Numbers," ICC, 291) take Pisgah as the name applying to the mountain range in which the Moab plateau terminates to the West, the "top" or "head" of Pisgah being the point in which the ridge running out westward from the main mass culminates. The summit commands a wide view, and looks down upon the desert. The identification is made surer by the name Tal'at es-Sufa found here, which seems to correspond with the field of Zophim.
'Ashdoth is the construct plural of 'ashedhah (singular form not found), from 'eshedh, "foundation," "bottom," "lower part" (slope); compare Assyrian ishdu, "foundation." Some would, derive it from Aramaic 'ashadh, "to pour," whence "fall" or "slope" (OHL, under the word). Ashdoth-pisgah overlooked the Dead Sea from the East (Deuteronomy 3:17; 4:49; Joshua 12:3; 13:20). There can be no reasonable doubt that Ashdoth-pisgah signifies the steep slopes of the mountain descending into the contiguous valleys.
It is worthy of note that Septuagint does not uniformly render Pisgah by a proper name, but sometimes by a derivative of laxeuo, "to hew" or "to dress stone" (Numbers 21:20; 23:14; Deuteronomy 3:27; 4:49). Jerome (Onomasticon, under the word Asedoth) gives abscisum as the Latin equivalent of Fasga. He derives Pisgah from pacagh, which, in new Hebrew, means "to split," "to cut off." This suggests a mountain the steep sides of which give it the appearance of having been "cut out." This description applies perfectly to Jebel Neba as viewed from the Dead Sea.