Michmash in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
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.