One of the Levitical families descended from Kohath, that of Zuph or Zophai (1 Chr. 6:26, 35), had a district assigned to them in Ephraim, which from this circumstance was called “the land of Zuph,” and hence the name of the town, “Zophim.” It was the birth-place of Samuel and the seat of his authority (1 Sam. 2:11; 7:17). It is frequently mentioned in the history of that prophet and of David (15:34; 16:13; 19:18–23). Here Samuel died and was buried (25:1).
This town has been identified with the modern Neby Samwil (“the prophet Samuel”), about 4 or 5 miles north-west of Jerusalem. But there is no certainty as to its precise locality. Some have supposed that it may be identical with Arimathea of the New Testament. (See MIZPAH ).