The origin of the Mizpah Medal
A long time ago there was a man named Jacob. He traveled far from home and found employment working for his uncle Laban. Laban had a daughter named Rachel with whom Jacob fell in love. Jacob promised to work for Laban for seven years in exchange for permission to marry Rachel.
Laban, being a joker like many uncles are, gave him his older daughter Leah instead after his seven years of work. Jacob didn’t think this was as funny as Laban did, so in retaliation he promised to work ANOTHER seven years in order to get Rachel, too. That sure showed Laban.
After working for Laban for twenty years, God told Jacob to go back to his own country. Fearful that Laban wouldn’t allow him to leave with his wives, he packed up his family in secret and fled. Laban found out and caught up with him on Mt. Gilead. Jacob convinced Laban that after twenty years of work Laban should let him go.
Big Piles of Rock!
Then Jacob set up a mound of stones, called a Mizpah, because it would become the physical sign of a pact between them. He and Laban then ate a meal on them. After the meal Laban said “May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters, or take other wives besides my daughters, remember that even though no one else is about, God will be witness between you and me.”
The Mizpah mounds were used throughout ancient times as a sign of a promise over which God was watching. During Victorian times the original intent gave way to more romantic sentiments as was typical of just about everything during that era. Young lovers exchanged rings and brooches with the word “Mizpah” imprinted on them.
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