Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

ophir Summary and Overview

Bible Dictionaries at a GlanceBible Dictionaries at a Glance

ophir in Easton's Bible Dictionary

(1.) One of the sons of Joktan (Gen. 10:29). (2.) Some region famous for its gold (1 Kings 9:28; 10:11; 22:48; Job 22:24; 28:16; Isa. 13:12). In the LXX. this word is rendered "Sophir," and "Sofir" is the Coptic name for India, which is the rendering of the Arabic version, as also of the Vulgate. Josephus has identified it with the Golden Chersonese, i.e., the Malay peninsula. It is now generally identified with Abhira, at the mouth of the Indus. Much may be said, however, in favour of the opinion that it was somewhere in Arabia.

ophir in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(abundane). 1. The eleventh in order of the sons of Joktan. #Ge 10:29; 1Ch 1:23| (B.C. after 2450.) 2. A seaport or region from which the Hebrews in the time of Solomon obtained gold. The gold was proverbial for its fineness, so that "gold of Ophir" is several times used as an expression for fine gold, #1Ch 29:4; Job 28:16; Ps 45:9; Isa 13:12| and in one passage #Job 22:24| the word "Ophir" by itself is used for gold of Ophir, and for gold generally. In addition to gold, the vessels brought from Ophir almug wood and precious stones. The precise geographical situation of Ophir has long been a subject of doubt and discussion. The two countries which have divided the opinions of the learned have been Arabia and India, while some have placed it in Africa. In five passages Ophir is mentioned by name - #1Ki 9:28; 10:11; 22:18; 2Ch 8:18; 9:10| If the three passages of the book of Kings are carefully examined, it will be seen that all the information given respecting Ophir is that it was a place or region accessible by sea from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, from which imports of gold, almug trees and precious stones were brought back by the Tyrian and Hebrew sailors. The author of the tenth chapter of Genesis certainly regarded Ophir as the name of some city, region or tribe in Arabia. It is almost certain that the Ophir of Genesis is the Ophir of the book of Kings. There is no mention, either in the Bible or elsewhere, of any other Ophir; and the idea of there having been two Ophirs evidently arose from a perception of the obvious meaning of the tenth chapter of Genesis on the one hand, coupled with the erroneous opinion, on the other that the Ophir of the book of Kings could not have been in Arabia. (Hence we conclude that Ophir was in southern Arabia, upon the border of the Indian Ocean; for even if all the things brought over in Solomon's ships are not now found in Arabia, but are found in India, yet, there is evidence that they once were known in Arabia and, moreover, Ophir may not have been the original place of production of some of them, but the great market for traffic in them.)

ophir in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

O'PHIR (fruitful?), one of the sons of Joktan. Gen 10:29; 1 Chr 1:23.

ophir in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Genesis 10:29. Placed between Sheba and Havilah, Ophir must be in Arabia. Arrian in the Periplus calls Aphar metropolis of the Sabeans. Ptolemy calls it Sapphara, now Zaphar. Eleventh of Joktan's sons. Gesenius explains Ophir, if Semitic, "fruitful region." The Himyaritic ofir means "red". The Mahra people call their country "the ofir country" and the "Red Sea" Bahr Ofir. Aphar means "dust". In 1 Kings 9:26-28; 1 Kings 10:11, Solomon's navy on the Red Sea fetched from Ophir gold and almug trees; and in 1 Kings 10:22, once in three years (which included the stay in Ophir as well as the long coasting voyage) Tarshish ships (i.e. like our term for far voyaging ships, "Indiamen") brough; "gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks." Mauch, an African traveler, found at latitude 20 degrees, 15 minutes S.l longitude 26 degrees 30 minutes E., ruins resembling Solomon's temple, which he connects with Ophir.