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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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PENIEL

pe-ni'-el, pen'-i-el, pe'-ni-el (peni'el, "face of God"; Eidos theou): This is the form of the name in Gen 32:30. In the next verse and elsewhere it appears as "Penuel." The name is said to have been given to the place by Jacob after his night of wrestling by the Jabbok, because, as he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." It was a height evidently close by the stream over which Jacob passed in the morning. Some have thought it might be a prominent cliff, the contour of which resembled a human face. Such a cliff on the seashore to the South of Tripoli was called theou prosopon, "face of God" (Strabo xvi.2,15 f). In later times a city with a strong tower stood upon it. This lay in the line of Gideon's pursuit of the Midianites. When he returned victorious, he beat down the place because of the churlishness of the inhabitants (Jdg 8:8,9,17). It was one of the towns "built" or fortified by Jeroboam (1 Ki 12:25). Merrill would identify it with Telul edh-Dhahab, "hills of gold," two hills with ruins that betoken great antiquity, and that speak of great strength, on the South of the Jabbok, about 10 miles East of Jordan (for description see Merrill, East of the Jordan, 390 if). A difficulty that seems fatal to this identification is that here the banks of the Jabbok are so precipitous as to be impassable. Conder suggests Jebel 'Osha. The site was clearly not far from Succoth; but no certainty is yet possible.
W. Ewing

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'PENIEL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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