Nabi Samwil

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Nabi Samwil

Supposed tomb of  the Prophet Samuel in an Arab village 4 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Located on a high mountain (2992 feet above sea level) off the ancient road from the Judean Foothills to Jerusalem.

One  theory claims this is the site of  Mizpeh, where Samuel judged and where he announced the kingship of Saul (I Samuel 7:6; 10:24, 25).  An ancient Christian tradition mentioned in 5th-century Byzantine writings designates it as the burial place of  Samuel.

In the days of Justinian, a large church was built above the tomb within an enclosure. The Crusaders believed this to be the site of Shiloh and therefore called their new church here  ‘The Holy Church of Samuel from Shiloh.’  They named the mountain  Montjoie (mountain of joy) because it was from this spot that pilgrims coming from the foothills had their first sight of Jerusalem.  Jews also accepted the tradition that Samuel was buried here and therefore assumed that this was the location of  Biblical  Ramah, where Samuel was buried according to the Biblical account.  Jewish travelers from the Middle Ages  onwards  mention this site and relate how it was customary for Jews to visit it in pilgrimage.

At the close of the 19th century a group of Jews attempted to settle here but without success. In 1917 the ridge was a battleground between British and Turkish armies and only after the British gained control  of  the ridge, did the way to Jerusalem lie open to them.

Archaeological site:  Within the village is a building with a turret housing the tomb attributed to Samuel.  The building is used as a mosque. Underneath are remains of a Crusader church.  Encompassing the village are remains of a wall and other Iron Age and Second Temple Period remains.

To the south are remnants of a Paleolithic settlement and, on the mountainous slopes, a large Neolithic  site.

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