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A9 on the Map

Jaffa, Yafa [Yafo]. Joppa Heb. yapo, "beauty" was an old city on the Mediterranean, about 30 miles NW of Jerusalem. It is supposed to have received its name from the mass of sunshine that its houses reflected.

It is an ancient city, appearing in the lists of the great conqueror Thutmose III (15th century B.C.) and occurring in the Amarna Letters of the early 14th century. It was included in the portion assigned to Dan (Josh 19:46). Its harbor naturally made it the port of Jerusalem. It was to Joppa that Hiram floated down from Tyre the fir trees of Lebanon (2 Chron 2:16), and, later, Zerubbabel, acting on the edict of Cyrus, caused to be brought here cedar trees from the same mountains (Ezra 3:7). Here Jonah fled for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). In Joppa Peter wrought the miracle on Tabitha (Acts 9:36), resided for quite a time with Simon the tanner (v. 43), saw the vision of the great sheet let down from heaven (10:8-16), and received the summons from Cornelius (10:17-23).

Jonathan Maccabeus captured Joppa in 148 B.C. (1 Macc. 10:76). Simon, suspecting its inhabitants, set a garrison there (12:34) and upon the restoration of peace established it again as a haven (14:5). The city was destroyed twice by the Romans and changed hands several times during the Crusades. In the 4th century it was made the seat of a bishopric.

The city (Yafa) now comprises the S part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality.

After excavations remains documented all periods from the 16th century BC to Byzantine and Arab times. In confirmation of an Egyptian papyrus of the 13th century describing an Egyptian fort at Joppa, the excavators found the fort and its gate with an inscription bearing the titles of Rameses II. The Philistines wrought destruction there during the 12th century. At the end of the 8th century the town evidently became part of the Assyrian empire. In the 5th century it was under the control of Sidon, as a Sidonian fort there reveals. The excavations also attested to the destruction of Joppa by Vespasian at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

2 Chr. 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jon. 1:3; Acts 9:36 ff; 10:5 ff.

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