|Michmash - |
1 Samuel 13-14. Now Mukhmas, a poor village of gray huts and ruins, seven miles N. of Jerusalem; on the northern edge of the wady Suweinit, the main pass between the central highlands where Michmash stands and the Jordan valley at Jericho. Opposite Michmash on the other side of the ravine was Geba (Jeba) where was the Philistine garrison, and behind this Gibeah. Jonathan smote the garrison or officer. (See JONATHAN.) The Philistines swarmed up from their seacoast plain, and occupied Michmash so that Saul had to retire to Gilgal near Jericho. Then followed Jonathan's bold enterprise, which issued in their rout, from Michmash, the farthest point E., to Ajalon on the W. The battle also passed over to Bethaven (Bethel) four miles N. of Michmash (1 Samuel 14:23.) Josephus (Ant. vi. 6, section 2) says that the part of Michmash held by them consisted of three summits, entrenched by a line of rocks, and ending in a long sharp precipice almost impregnable; here Jonathan and his armorbearer clambered up at their invitation.
Just as 1 Samuel 14:4 describes, there is what was once a sharp "toothlike rock" on one side of the gorge between the armies, answering to Bozez ("shining"), and another on the other answering to Seneh (thorn). The more timid of the Israelites emerged from the holes (which give Michmash its name ("hidden"); others derive it from Chemosh, marking a Moabite invasion at some time) to join in the pursuit. Sennacherib long after, advancing from the N., left his heavy baggage ("carriages") at Michmash, and crossing the pass lodged for the night at Geba (Isaiah 10:28-29). (See GEBA.) Kitchener suggests that Khirbet Haiy is the site of Ai. It is hardly one mile S.E. of Michmash on the old road from Jericho into the interior, and so the first stronghold Joshua would have to overcome. A plain to the N. was the battlefield; and there is room for ambush to hide without being seen by the men of Bethel. Michmash and Ai are closely connected. After the captivity 122 men of Michmash reoccupied their old dwelling (Ezra 2:27; Nehemiah 7:31). Here Jonathan Maccabeus had his seat of government (1 Maccabees 9:73). Eusebius and Jerome (Onomasticon) mention Michmash as near Ramah.