Penuel (Hebrew פְּנוּאֵל), also known as the "face of God", is a place not far from Succoth, on the east of the Jordan and north of the river Jabbok. It is also called "Peniel" meaning "I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life is preserved." Here Jacob wrestled (Gen. 32:24-32) "with a man" ("the angel", Hos. 12:4. Jacob says of him, "I have seen God face to face") "till the break of day."
A town was afterward built there (Judg. 8:8; 1 Kings 12:25). The men of this place refused to succor to Gideon and his little army when they were in pursuit of the Midianites (Judg. 8:1-21). On his return, Gideon slew the men of this city and razed its lofty watchtower to the ground.
When the Northern Kingdom of Israel broke away from the United Monarchy c. 930 BCE, Jeroboam, its first king, established his capital in Shechem. A short time later, he left Shechem and fortified Penuel, declaring it as his new capital (I Kings 12:25). He and his son, Nadab, ruled there, until Baasha seized the throne in 909 BCE and moved the capital to Tirzah (I Kings 16:25-34).
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.
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