From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

(Ἰόππη; Josephus, Ἰόπη; Arab. Yâfâ  ; modern name Jaffa )

Joppa is a maritime town of Palestine, 33 miles S.W. of Jerusalem. Built on an eminence visible far out at sea-whence its name, ‘the conspicuous’-it owes its existence to a ridge of low and partly sunken rocks running out in a N.W. direction from the S. side of the town, and forming a harbour which, though small and insecure, is yet the best on the whole coast of Palestine.

Down to the time of the Maccabees, Joppa was a heathen town, which the Jews sometimes used but never possessed. Jonah’s ship of Joppa was manned by a heathen crew ( Jonah 1:5). One of the strongest proofs of the political sagacity of the three famous Maccabaean brothers lay in their resolve to make Judaea a maritime power. Each of them attempted to capture Joppa, and Simon succeeded. On the family memorial at Modin, meant for the eyes of ‘all that sail on the sea,’ he caused carved ships to be represented ( 1 Maccabees 13:29). The historian, in eulogizing his career, says: ‘And amid all his glory he took Joppa for a haven, and made it an entrance for the isles of the sea’ (14:5). From that time, with but few interruptions, Joppa remained in the possession of the Jews for more than two centuries. When Pompey (66 b.c.) included Judaea in the province of Syria, Joppa was one of the cities which ‘he left in a state of freedom’ (Jos. Ant. xiv. iv. 4); and Julius Caesar decreed ‘that the city of Joppa, which the Jews had originally when they made a league of friendship with the Romans, shall belong to them as it formerly did’ (x. 6).

No city was more completely judaized than this late possession. Joppa became as zealous for the Law, us patriotic, as impatient of Gentile control and culture, as Jerusalem herself. Herod the Great, who did much to hellenize Palestine, left the Pharisaic purity of Joppa untainted. Yet this stronghold of Jewish legalism was the city in which St. Peter received the vision which taught him that Jew and Gentile, as spiritually equal before God, must be impartially welcomed into the Church of Christ ( Acts 10:9-16). Nowhere was the contrast between the clean and the unclean-the devoutly scrupulous observers of the Law and the jostling crowd of foreigners-more marked. St. Peter probably never realized so intensely the need of ceremonial purification before his midday meal as when he brought into the tanner’s house the defilement of contact with so many lawless and profane people. To his Jewish instincts such contamination was intolerable. But he experienced a swift and mysterious reaction, which was probably the result of much past brooding as well as of present prayer. While he lingered upon the housetop, waiting the call to eat, he became unconscious of the sights and sounds of the harbour beneath, and fell into a trance, in which he learned how different are God’s thoughts of religious purity from man’s. He became convinced that all manner of meats-and, inferentially, all manner of men-that were commonly counted unclean, were clean in God’s sight. It is as the birthplace of this revolutionary principle, which virtually gave the deathblow to Judaism, that the old town of Joppa has a place in the history of human thought. St. Peter, always impulsive and uncalculating, went straight to pagan Caesarea, and delivered a speech which opened the gates of Christ’s Church to ‘every nation’ ( Acts 10:35). Joppa has also a place in the history of Christian beneficence. It is remembered as the home of a gentlewoman who was believed to have been raised from death to life, and whose example has in all ages been an incentive to ‘good works and almsdeeds’ ( Acts 9:36-42).

To the ancient Greeks Joppa was known as the place where ‘Andromeda was exposed to the sea-monster’ (Strabo xvi. ii. 28). By primitive fancy the fury of the sea was ascribed to serpents and dragons. Modern writers rationalize the phenomenon. ‘More boats are upset, and more lives are lost in the breakers at the north end of the ledge of rocks that defend the inner harbour, than anywhere else on this coast.’ One cannot ‘look without a shudder at this treacherous port, with its noisy surf tumbling over the rocks, as if on purpose to swallow up unfortunate boats. This is the true monster which has devoured many an Andromeda, for whose deliverance no gallant Perseus was at hand’ (W. M. Thomson, The Land and the Book , 1864, p. 516).

Jaffa is now famous for its orange gardens and orchards, each of which has an unlimited supply of water. ‘The entire plain seems to cover a river of vast breadth, percolating through the sand en route to the sea’ (W. M. Thomson, loc. cit. ).

Literature.-E. Schürer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).] ii. i. [1885] 79-83; G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (G. A. Smith) , 1897, p. 136f.; H. B. Tristram, Bible Places , 1897, p. 70f.; V. Guérin, Description géographique … de la Palestine  : ‘Judée,’ 1869, i. 1f.

James Strahan.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

The Old Testament name for Joppa was Japho (or Jaffe or Yafo), the name the Israeli nation has chosen as the modern designation for the city. The Phoenician form of the term comes from the name Jafe, the daughter of Aeolus, god of the winds.

Joppa is the only natural harbor on the Mediterranean between ancient Ptolemais and Egypt, and its facilities in biblical days were far less than outstanding. Reefs forming a roughly semicircular breakwater approximately 300 feet off-shore made entrance from the south impossible. Entrance from the north was shallow and treacherous, but small vessels could navigate it.

The earliest historical reference to Joppa is found in inscriptions on the walls of the Temple of Karnak at Thebes (Luxor). Thutmose III, who ruled Egypt from 1490 to 1436 B.C., boasted of his conquest of the cities of Palestine; Joppa is one of those named. The Amarna Letters mention Joppa twice, with observations about the beauty of her gardens and the skill of her workmen in leather, wood, and metal.

When Canaan was conquered, the tribe of Dan received Joppa; but it never came firmly into Hebrew hands. The Philistines took the city, but David recaptured it. Solomon developed it into the major port serving Jerusalem. To Joppa rafts of cedar logs were floated to be transported to Jerusalem for Solomon's splendid Temple ( 2 Chronicles 2:16 ).

Phoenicia gained control of Joppa by the time of Jonah. As the prophet fled from God's call, he caught a ship at Joppa for his well-remembered voyage toward Tarshish ( Jonah 1:3 ). In 701 B.C. Sennacherib occupied the city; then, in turn, the Babylonians and the Persians. As it had been in Solomon's day, Joppa became the port that received cedar logs from Lebanon, now for the rebuilding of the Temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel.

In 164 B.C. more than 200 Jewish citizens of Joppa were treacherously drowned by angry non-Jews. In retaliation Judas Maccabeus raided the city, burned the harbor installations, torching the anchored ships as well ( 2 Maccabees 12:3-9 ). Joppa's history is linked with several notable names during the years of Roman control. Pompey conquered it in 63 B.C., joining it to the province of Syria. Antony later gave the city to Cleopatra of Egypt. Augustus Caesar added it to the kingdom of Herod the Great.

The New Testament records that Joppa was the home of Dorcas, a Christian woman known for her gracious and generous deeds. At her death the Christians of Joppa called for Simon Peter, who with the command “Tabitha, arise,” restored her to life ( Acts 9:36-41 ).

Simon Peter remained in Joppa at the home of Simon the Tanner. At noon, while Simon Peter waited for a meal to be prepared, he prayed on the flat roof of the tanner's house. In a trance Peter saw what seemed to be “a great sheet knit at the four corners” lowered before him and learned that the Gentile world was a fit audience for the gospel ( Acts 10:9-16 ).

Joppa is now annexed to the modern city of Tel Aviv, forming a part of the southern section of the largest city of Israel. Industrial, shipping, and residential complexes have been developed on this ancient site.

Timothy Trammell

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

Hebrew  Joshua 19:46 , on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, thirty miles south of Caesarea, and about thirty-five north-west of Jerusalem. Its harbor is shoal and unprotected from the winds; but on account of its convenience to Jerusalem, it became the principal port of Judea, and is still the great landing-place of pilgrims. Here the materials for building both the first and the second temple, sent from Lebanon and Tyre, were landed,  2 Chronicles 3:16   Ezra 3:7 . Here Jonah embarked for Tarshish. Here, too, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead; and in the house of Simon the tanner, by the seaside, was taught by a heavenly vision that salvation was for Gentiles as well as Jews,  Acts 9:1-11:30 . Joppa was twice destroyed by the Romans. It was the seat of a Christian church for some centuries after Constantine. During the crusades it several times changed hands; and in modern times, 1799, it was stormed and sacked by the French, and twelve hundred Turkish prisoners, said to have broken their parole, were put to death.

The present town of Jaffa, or Yafa, is situated on a promontory jutting out into the sea, rising to the height of about one hundred and fifty feet, crowned with a fortress, and offering on all sides picturesque and varied prospects. Towards the west is extended the open sea; towards the south are spread the fertile plains of Philistia, reaching as far as Gaza; towards the north, as far as Carmel, the flowery meads of Sharon present themselves; and to the east, the hills of Ephraim and Judah raise their towering heads. The town is walled round on the south and east, towards the land, and partially so on the north and west, towards the sea. Its environs, away from the sand-hills of the shore, are full of gardens and orchards. From the sea, the town looks like a heap of buildings, crowded as closely as possible into a given space; and from the steepness of its site, they appear in some places to stand one on the other. The streets are very narrow, uneven, and dirty, and might rather be called alleys. The inhabitants are estimated at about fifteen thousand, of whom more than half are Turks and Arabs. There are several mosques; and the Latins, Greeks, and Armenians have each a church, and a small convent for the reception of pilgrims.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

From Yaaphah "to shine," from its sunny look. Now Jaffa. The port of Jerusalem. The fabled scene of Andromeda's exposure to the whale; the legend is a tradition derived from Jonah's history, through the Phoenicians. Situated in Dan, S.W. of Palestine ( Joshua 19:46). On a high hill; with a harbour of difficult approach, hence not used much except in going to and from Jerusalem. It was by way of Joppa that Hiram sent to Solomon the timber from Lebanon for the temple; also Cyrus for Zerubbabel's temple ( 2 Chronicles 2:16;  Ezra 3:7). Here Jonah embarked for Cilician Tarsus. Here too on the housetop of Simon the tanner (Tradition Still Points Out The House?) Simon the tanner by the seaside, Peter, in full view of the Mediterranean washing the Gentile lands of the W., had his vision teaching that the middle wall separating Jew and Gentile is broken down, and that the gospel is for all nations (Acts 10). (See Simon THE Tanner

He had come from the neighbouring Lydda to Joppa to raise Tabitha from death; that became the raising of many to spiritual life ( Acts 9:36-42). Thence at Cornelius' call he went to quicken the Gentiles through the word then first preached to them with the Holy Spirit accompanying it. A vast plain surrounded it. Its situation was between Jamnia and Caesarea, which latter town Peter could reach on "the morrow" from leaving Joppa ( Acts 10:24). It has now a soap manufacture. The oranges, pomegranates, and water melons are noted. it is one of the oldest cities in the world. Cepheus, its earliest king, may represent Caphtor ( Genesis 10:14;  Deuteronomy 2:23). It belonged to the Philistines, a Mizraimite colony of Caphtorim. The kindred to the Phoenicians is implied in the name of Cepheus' brother Phineus. It is N. of Askelon, S. of Caesarea, and 36 miles N.W. from Jerusalem.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

JOPPA. The principal seaport of S. Palestine; a place of high antiquity, being mentioned in the tribute lists of Thothmes iii., but never before the Exile in Israelite hands, being in Philistine territory. It was theoretically assigned to the tribe of Dan (  Joshua 19:46 ), and is spoken of as a seaport in   2 Chronicles 2:16 and   Ezra 3:7 [where RV [Note: Revised Version.] reads ‘to the sea, unto Joppa’ in place of AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘to the sea of Joppa ’]: these, and its well-known connexion with the story of Jonah (1:3), are the only references to the city to be found in the OT. The Maccabees wrested it more than once from the hands of their Syrian oppressors ( 1Ma 10:75; 1Ma 12:33; 1Ma 13:11 ); it was restored to the latter by Pompey (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIV. iv. 4), but again given back to the Jews ( ib. XIV. x. 6) some years later. Here St. Peter for a while lodged, restored Tabitha to life, and had his famous vision of the sheet (  Acts 9:1-43;   Acts 10:1-48 ). The traditional sites of Tabitha’s tomb and Simon the tanner’s house are shown to tourists and to pilgrims, but are of course without authority. The city was destroyed by Vespasian (a.d. 68). In the Crusader period the city passed from the Saracens to the Franks and back more than once: it was captured first in 1126, retaken by Saladin 1187, again conquered by Richard CÅ“ur de Lion in 1191, and lost finally in 1196. In recent years it is remarkable for Napoleon’s successful storming of its walls in 1799. It is now a flourishing seaport, though its harbour little more than a breakwater of reefs is notoriously bad and dangerous. A railway connects it with Jerusalem. It is also one of the chief centres of the fruit-growing industry in Palestine, and its orange gardens are world-famed. Tradition places here the story of Andromeda and the sea-monster.

R. A. S. Macalister.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

In Old Testament days Joppa was Israel’s only port on the Mediterranean coast. It lay between the plain of Sharon to the north and the land of the Philistines to the south.

When timber was brought from Lebanon to be used in the construction of Solomon’s temple, it was floated down from Tyre and Sidon in rafts, received at Joppa, and then taken to Jerusalem ( 2 Chronicles 2:16). A similar arrangement was apparently used four hundred years later when Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple ( Ezra 3:7). Joppa was the port where Jonah boarded a ship when he tried to flee from God ( Jonah 1:3; for map see Jonah ).

Joppa was one of the first places outside Jerusalem that the apostles visited in the early days of the church. There Dorcas was raised to life ( Acts 9:36-43) and there Peter had a remarkable vision that changed his ideas about the evangelization of the Gentiles (Acts 10). The town still exists today, as part of Tel Aviv, and is known as Jaffa (or Yafo).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

Town and sea-port in the tribe of Dan. It was the port of Jerusalem. Timber was cut in Lebanon and brought in 'floats' by sea to Joppa, for the temple at Jerusalem.  2 Chronicles 2:16;  Ezra 3:7 . It was the port from which Jonah took ship to go to Tarshish.  Jonah 1:3 . It was where Dorcas was restored to life, and where Peter had the vision of the sheet from heaven, with instructions to visit Cornelius.  Acts 9:36-43;  Acts 10:5-33;  Acts 11:5,13 . It was originally called JAPHO,  Joshua 19:46; and is now called Jaffa or Yafa , 32 3' N, 34 45' E .

It has been destroyed many times, but now it is part of Tel Aviv, the major city and port of Israel. In its vicinity fine palms, oranges, pomegranates, figs, bananas, and water-melons are grown and exported.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Joppa ( Jŏp'Pah ), or Japho ( Jâ'Pho ), Beauty, now Jaffa. A town on the southwest coast of Palestine, in the territory of Dan.  Joshua 19:46. The harbor, though always as now a dangerous one, became the port of Jerusalem in the days of Solomon, and has been ever since. Here Jonah took ship to flee from the presence of his Maker. Here, on the housetop of Simon, the tanner, "by the seaside," Peter had his vision that led him to preach the gospel to Gentiles.  Acts 11:5. In population Joppa has greatly increased within 25 years. A Turkish calendar enumerates 865 Moslem, 135 Greek, 70 Greek Catholic, 50 Latin, 6 Maronite, and 5 Armenian families. It now has daily railway trains to Jerusalem. There are flourishing colonies settled in the vicinity, which foster various industries.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Jop'pa. (Beauty). Joppa or Japho , now Jaffa or Yafa . A town on the southwest coast of Palestine, in the portion of Dan.  Joshua 19:46. Having a harbor attached to it - though always, as still, a dangerous one - it became the port of Jerusalem, in the days of Solomon, and has been ever since. Here, Jonah "took ship to flee from the presence of his Maker." Here, on the house-top of Simon the tanner, "by the seaside," St. Peter had his vision of tolerance.  Acts 11:5. The existing town contains about 4000 inhabitants. See Japho .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [10]

called also Japho in the Old Testament, which is still preserved in its modern name of Jaffa or Yafah, a sea port of Palestine, situated on an eminence in a sandy soil, about seventy miles north-west of Jerusalem. Joppa was anciently the port to Jerusalem. Here all the materials sent from Tyre for the building of Solomon's temple were brought and landed; it was, indeed, the only port in Judea, though rocky and dangerous. It possesses still, in times of peace, a considerable commerce with the places in its vicinity; and is well inhabited, chiefly by Arabs. This was the place of landing of the western pilgrims; and here the promised pardons commenced. Here St. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, and resided many days in the house of one Simon, a tanner,  Acts 9:36-43; and it was from this place that the Prophet Jonah embarked for Tarshish.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

The sea-port in Palestine in the Mediterranean. The name signifies beauty—from Japhah, Here it was that Jonah went to flee from the presence of the Lord. ( Jonah 1:3) Here Peter dwelt when sent for by Cornelius And Tabitha also lived here, whom Peter by the Lord raised from the dead. (See  Acts 9:36; Act 10:5-6.)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 Joshua 19:46 Jonah 1:3 2 Chronicles 2:16 Ezra 3:7 Acts 9:36-43

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

(Heb. Yapho', יָפוֹ ,  Joshua 19:46;  2 Chronicles 2:16;  Jonah 1:3, or יָפוֹא ,  Ezra 3:7; Beauty; Sept., N.T., and Josephus Ι᾿Όππη , other Greek writers Ι᾿Ώππη , Ι᾿Ώπη , or Ι᾿Όπη ; Vulgate Joppe; Auth. Vers. "Japho," except in Jonah; usually "Joppe" in the Apocrypha), a town on the southwest coast of Palestine, the port of Jerusalem in the days of Solomon, as it has been ever since.

1. Legends . The etymology of the name is variously explained; Rabbinical writers deriving it from Japhet, but classical geographers from Iopa ( Ι᾿Όπη ), daughter of AEolus and wife of Cepheus, Andromeda's father, its reputed founder; others interpreting it "the watchtower of joy," and so forth (Reland, Paloest. p. 864). The fact is, that, from its being a seaport, it had a profane as well as a sacred history. Pliny, following Mela (De situ Orb. 1, 12), says that it was of antediluvian antiquity (Hist. Nat. 5, 14); and even Sir John Maundeville, in the 14th century, bears witness though, it must be confessed, a clumsy one to that tradition (Early Travels in P. p. 142). According to Josephus, it originally belonged to the Phoenicians (Ant. 13, 15, 4). Here, writes Strabo, some say Andromeda was exposed to the whale (Geograph. 16, p. 759; comp. M Ü ller's Hist. Groec. Fragm. 4, 325, and his Geograph. Groec. Min. 1, 79), and he appeals to its elevated position in behalf of those who laid the scene there; though, in order to do so consistently, he had already shown that it would be necessary to transport Ethiopia into Phoenicia (Strabo, 1, 43). However, in Pliny's age and Josephus had just before affirmed the same (War, 3, 9, 3) they still showed the chains by which Andromeda was bound; and not only so, but M. Scaurus the younger, the same that was so much employed in Judaea by Pompey (War, 1, 6, 2 sq.), had the bones of the monster transported to Rome from Joppa, where till then they had been exhibited (Mela, ibid.), and displayed them there during his aedileship to the public amongst other prodigies. Nor would they have been uninteresting to the modern geologist, if his report be correct; for they measured forty feet in length, the span of the ribs exceeding that of the Indian elephant, and the thickness of the spine or vertebra being one foot and a half ("sesquipedalis," i.e. in circumference when Solinus says "semipedalis," he means in diameter, see Pliny, Hist. Nat. 9, 5 and the note, Delphin ed.). Reland would trace the adventures of Jonah in this legendary guise, (See Jonah); but it is far more probable that it symbolizes the first interchange of commerce between the Greeks, personified in their errant hero Perseus, and the Phoenicians, whose lovely, but till then unexplored clime may be shadowed forth in the fair virgin Andromeda. Perseus in the tale, is said to have plunged his dagger into the right shoulder of the monster. Possibly he may have discovered or improved the harbor, the roar from whose foaming reefs on the north could scarcely have been surpassed by the barkings of Scylla or Charybdis. Even the chains shown there may have been those by which his ship was attached to the shore. Rings used by the Romans for mooring their vessels are still to be seen near Terracina, in the south angle of the ancient port (Murray's Handbk. For S. Italy, p. 10, 2d ed.).

2 . History . We find that Japho or Joppa was situated in the portion of Dan ( Joshua 19:46), on the coast towards the south, and on a hill so high, says Strabo, that people affirmed (but incorrectly) that Jerusalem was visible from its summit. Having a harbor attached to it though always, as still, a dangerous one it became the port of Jerusalem, when Jerusalem became metropolis of the kingdom of the house of David; and certainly never did port and metropolis more strikingly resemble each other in difficulty of approach both by sea and land. Hence, except in journeys to and from Jerusalem, it was not much used. Accordingly, after the above incidental notice, the place is not mentioned till the times of Solomon, when, as being almost the only available seaport, Joppa was the place fixed upon for the cedar and pine wood from Mount Lebanon to be landed by the servants of Hiram, king of Tyre, thence to be conveyed to Jerusalem by the servants of Solomon for the erection of the first "house of habitation" ever made with hands for the invisible Jehovah. It was by way of Joppa similarly that like materials were conveyed from the same locality, by permission of Cyrus, for the rebuilding of the second Temple under Zerubbabel ( 1 Kings 5:9;  2 Chronicles 2:16;  Ezra 3:7). Here Jonah, whenever and wherever he may have lived ( 2 Kings 14:25, certainly does not clear up the first of these points) , "took ship to flee from the presence of his Maker" ( Jonah 1:3), and accomplished that singular history which our Lord has appropriated as a type of one of the principal scenes in the great drama of his own ( Matthew 12:40).

After the close of O.T. history Joppa rose in importance. The sea was then beginning to be the highway of nations. Greece, Egypt, Persia, and some of the little kingdoms of Asia Minor had their fleets for commerce and war. Until the construction of Caesarea by Herod, Joppa was the only port in Palestine proper at which foreign ships could touch; it was thus not only the shipping capital, but the key of the whole country on the seaboard. During the wars of the Maccabees it was one of the principal strongholds of Palestine ( 1 Maccabees 10:75;  1 Maccabees 14:5;  1 Maccabees 14:34; Josephus, Ant. 13, 15, 1). It would seem that Jews then constituted only a minority of the population, and the foreign residents Greeks, Egyptians, and Syrians were so rich and powerful, and so aided by the fleets of their own nations, as to be able to rule the city. During this period, therefore, Joppa experienced many vicissitudes. It had sided with Apollonius, and was attacked and captured by Jonathan Maccabaeus ( 1 Maccabees 10:76). It witnessed the meeting between the latter and Ptolemy (ibid. 11:6). Simon had his suspicions of its inhabitants, and set a garrison there (ibid. 12:34), which he afterwards strengthened considerably (ibid. 13:11). But when peace was restored, he reestablished it once more as a haven (ibid. 14:5). He likewise rebuilt the fortifications (ibid. 5:34). This occupation of Joppa was one of the grounds of complaint urged by Antiochus, son of Demetrius, against Simon; but the latter alleged in excuse the mischief which had been done by its inhabitants to his fellow citizens (ibid. 15:30 and 35). It would appear that Judas Maccabaeus had burned their haven some time back for a gross act of barbarity ( 2 Maccabees 12:6). Tribute was subsequently exacted for its possession from Hyrcanus by Antiochus Sidetes. By Pompey it was once more made independent, and comprehended under Syria (Josephus, Ant. 14, 4, 4); but by Caesar it was not only restored to the Jews, but its revenues whether from land or from export duties were bestowed upon the 2d Hyrcanus and his heirs (14, 10, 6). When Herod the Great commenced operations, it was seized by him, lest he should leave a hostile stronghold in his rear when he marched upon Jerusalem (14, 15, 1), and Augustus confirmed him in its possession (15, 7, 4). It was afterwards assigned to Archelaus when constituted ethnarch (17, 11,4), and passed with Syria under Cyrenius when Archelaus had been deposed (17, 12, 5). Under Cestius (i.e. Gessius Florus) it was destroyed amidst great slaughter of its inhabitants (War, 2, 18, 8, 10); and such a nest of pirates had it become when Vespasian arrived in those parts that it underwent a second and entire destruction, together with the adjacent villages, at his hands (3, 9, 3). Thus it appears that this port had already begun to be the den of robbers and outcasts which it was in Strabo's time (Geograph. 16, 759), while the district around it was so populous that from Jamnia, a neighboring town. and its vicinity, 40,000 armed men could be collected (ibid.). There was a vast plain around it, as we learn from Josephus (Ant. 13, 4, 4); it lay between Jamnia and Caesarea the latter of which might be reached "on the morrow" from it ( Acts 10:9;  Acts 10:24) not far from Lydda ( Acts 9:38), and distant from Antipatris 150 stadia (Joseph. Ant. 13, 15, 1).

It was at Joppa, on the house top of Simon the tanner, "by the seaside" with the view therefore circumscribed on the east by the high ground on which the town stood, but commanding a boundless prospect over the western waters that the apostle Peter had his "vision of tolerance," as it has been happily designated, and went forth like a second Perseus but from the east to emancipate, from still worse thralldom, the virgin daughter of the west. The Christian poet Arator has not failed to discover a mystical connection between the raising to life of the aged Tabitha the occasion of Peter's visit to Joppa and the baptism of the first Gentile household (De Act. Apostol. 1. 840, ap. Migne, Patrol. Curs. Compl. 68, 164).

In the 4th century Eusebius calls Joppa a city (Onomast. s.v.); and it was then made the seat of a bishopric, an honor which it retained till the conquest of the country by the Saracens (Reland, p. 868; S. Paul, Geogr. Sac. p. 305); the subscriptions of its prelates are preserved in the acts of various synods of the 5th and 6th centuries (Le Quien, Oriens Christian. 3, 629). Joppa has been the landing place of pilgrims going to Jerusalem for more than a thousand years, from Arculf in the 7th century to his royal highness the prince of Wales in the 19th, and it is mentioned in almost all the itineraries and books of travel in the Holy Land which have appeared in different languages (Early Travels in Pal. p. 10, 34, 142, 286). None of the early travelers, however, give any explicit description of the place. During the Crusades Joppa was several times taken and retaken by Franks and Saracens.

It had been taken possession of by the forces of Godfrey de Bouillon previously to the capture of Jerusalem. The town had been deserted. and was allowed to fall into ruin, the Crusaders contenting themselves with possession of the citadel (William of Tyre, Hist. 8, 9); and it was in part assigned subsequently for the support of the Church of the Resurrection (ibid. 9, 16), though there seem to have been bishops of Joppa (perhaps only titular after all) between A.D. 1253 and 1363 (Le Quien, 1291; compare p. 1241). Saladin, in A.D. 1188, destroyed its fortifications (Sanut. Secret. Fid. Crucis, lib. 3, part 10, c. 5); but Richard of England, who was confined here by sickness, rebuilt them (ibid., and Richard of Devizes in Bohn's Ant. Lib. p. 61). Its last occupation by Christians was that of St. Louis, A.D. 1253, and when he came it was still a city and governed by a count. "Of the immense sums," says Joinville, "which it cost the king to enclose Jaffa, it does not become me to speak, for they were countless. He enclosed the town from one side of the sea to the other; and there were twenty-four towers, including small and great. The ditches were well scoured, and kept clean, both within and without. There were three gates" (Chronicles of Crus. p. 495, Bohn). So restored, it fell into the hands of the sultans of Egypt, together with the rest of Palestine, by whom it was once more laid in ruins; so much so that Bertrand de la Brocquiere, visiting it about the middle of the 15th century, states that it then consisted only of a few tents covered with reeds, having been a strong place under the Christians. Guides, accredited by the sultan, here met the pilgrims and received the customary tribute from them; and here the papal indulgences offered to pilgrims commenced (Early Travels, p. 286). Finally, Jaffa fell under the Turks, in whose hands it still is, exhibiting the usual decrepitude of the cities possessed by them, and depending on Christian commerce for its feeble existence. During the period of their rule it has been three times sacked by the Arabs in, 1722, by the Mamelukes in 1775, and lastly by Napoleon I in 1799, when a body of 4000 Albanians, who held a strong position in the town, surrendered on promise of having their lives spared. Yet the whole 4000 were afterwards pinioned and shot on the strand! When Napoleon was compelled to retreat to Egypt, between 400 and 500 French soldiers lay ill of the plague in the hospitals of Joppa. They could not be removed, and Napoleon ordered them to be poisoned! (Porter, Handbook for S. and P. p. 288).

3. Description . Yafa is the modern name of Joppa, and is identical with the old Hebrew Japho. It contains about 5000 inhabitants, of whom 1000 are Christians, about 150 Jews, and the rest Moslems. It is beautifully situated on a little rounded hill, dipping on the west into the waves of the Mediterranean, and on the land side encompassed by orchards of orange, lemon, apricot, and other trees, which for luxuriance and beauty are not surpassed in the world. They extend for several miles across the great plain. Like most Oriental towns, however, it looks best in the distance. The houses are huddled together without order; the streets are narrow, crooked, and filthy; the town is so crowded along the steep sides of the hill that the rickety dwellings in the upper part seem to be toppling over on the flat roofs of those below. The most prominent features of the architecture from without are the flattened domes by which most of the buildings are surmounted, and the appearance of arched vaults. But the aspect of the whole is mean and gloomy, and inside the place has all the appearance of a poor though large village. From the steepness of the site many of the streets are connected by flights of steps, and the one that runs along the seawall is the most clean and regular of the whole. There are three mosques in Joppa, and Latin, Greek, and Armenian convents. The former is that in which European pilgrims and travelers usually lodge.

The bazaars are worth a visit. The chief manufacture is soap. It has no port, and it is only under favorable circumstances of wind and weather that vessels can ride at anchor a mile or so from the shore. There is a place on the shore which is called "the harbor." It consists of a strip of water from fifteen to twenty yards wide and two or three deep, enclosed on the sea side by a ridge of low and partially sunken rocks. It may afford a little shelter to boats, but it is worse than useless so far as commerce is concerned. The town is defended by a wall, on which a few old guns are mounted. With the exception of a few broken columns scattered about the streets, and through the gardens on the southern slope of the hill, and the large stones in the foundations of the castle, Joppa has no remains of antiquity; and none of its modern buildings, not even the reputed "house of Simon the tanner," which the monks show, are worthy of note, although the locality of the last is not badly chosen (Stanley, S. and P. p. 263, 274; and see Seddon's Memoir, p. 86, 185). The town has still a considerable trade as the port of Jerusalem. The oranges of Jaffa are the finest in all Palestine and Syria; its pomegranates and watermelons are likewise in high repute, and its gardens and orange and citron groves deliciously fragrant and fertile. But among its population are fugitives and vagabonds from all countries; and Europeans have little security, whether of life or property, to induce a permanent abode there. A British consul is now resident in the place, and a railroad has been projected to Jerusalem.

See Raumer's Pal Ä stina; Volney, 1, 136 sq.; Chateaubriand, 2, 103; Clarke, 4, 438 sq.; Buckingham, 1, 227 sq.; Richter, p. 12; Richardsun, 2, 16; Skinner, 1, 175-184; Robinson, 1, 18; Stent, 2, 27; M'Culloch's Gazetteer; Reland, p. 864; Cellar. Not. 2, 524;. Hamelsveld, 1, 442; 2, 229, Hasselquist, p. 137; Niebuhr, 3, 41; Joliffe, p. 243; Light, p. 125; Ritter, Erdk. 2, 400; Schwarz, p. 142, 373, 375; Thomson, Land and Book 2, 273.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

jop´a ( יפו , yāphō , יפוא , yāphō'  ; Ἰόππη , Ióppē ): In   Joshua 19:46 the King James Version called "Japho," a city in the territory allotted to Dan; but there is nothing to show that in pre-exilic times it ever passed into Israelite hands.

1. Ancient Notices:

"The gate of Joppa" is mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna Letters (214,32 f; compare 178,20), as guarded by an Egyptian officer for Amenhotep IV. It was conquered by Thothmes III, and old Egyptian records speak of the excellence of its gardens and fruit trees. Sennacherib claims to have taken Jonathas after a siege ( Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek , 2,93). To Jonathas, the Chronicler tells us, the cedars of Lebanon were brought in floats for transportation to Jerusalem by the workmen of the king of Tyre (  2 Chronicles 2:16 ).

2. Biblical References:

The city does not appear in the history as Philistine, so we may, perhaps, infer that it was held by the Phoenicians, the great seamen of those days. It was doubtless a Phoenician ship that Jonah found here, bound for Tarshish, when he fled from the presence of the Lord ( Jonah 1:3 ). In Ezra's time, again, cedars were brought here for the buildings in Jerusalem ( Ezra 3:7 ). Having been brought by messengers from Lydda to Jonathas, Peter here raised the dead Dorcas to life ( Acts 9:36 f). On the roof of Simon's house by the sea, the famous vision was vouchsafed to this apostle, from which he learned that the gospel was designed for Jew and Gentile alike (  Acts 10:1 ff;   Acts 11:5 ff).

3. History from Maccabean Times:

The men of Joppa, having treacherously drowned some 200 Jews, Judas Maccabeus fell upon the town "and set the haven on fire by night, and burned the boats, and put to the sword those that had fled thither" ( 2 Maccabees 12:3 ff). Jonathan took the city, in which Apollonius had placed a garrison (  1 Maccabees 11:47 ff). It was not easy to hold, and some years later it was captured again by Simon, who garrisoned the place, completed the harbor and raised the fortifications (  1 Maccabees 12:36 f; 13:11; 14:5-34). It is recorded as part of Simon's glory that he took it "for a haven, and made it an entrance for the isles of the sea," the Jews thus possessing for the first time a seaport through which commerce might be fully developed. It was taken by Pompey and joined to the province of Syria (Ant . , Xiv , iv, 4; Bj , I, vii, 7). Caesar restored it to the Jews under Hyrcanus ( Ant ., Xiv , x, 6). It was among the cities given by Antony to Cleopatra (XV, iv, 1). Caesar added it to the kingdom of Herod (vii. 3; Bj , I, xx, 3), and at his death it passed to Archelaus ( Ant ., Xvii , xi, 4; Bj , II, vi, 3). At his deposition it was attached to the Roman province. The inhabitants were now zealous Jews, and in the Roman wars it suffered heavily. After a massacre by Cestius Gallus, in which 8,400 of the people perished, it was left desolate. Thus it became a resort of the enemies of Rome, who turned pirates, and preyed upon the shipping in the neighboring waters. The place was promptly captured and destroyed by Vespasian. The people took to their boats, but a terrific storm burst upon them, dashing their frail craft to pieces on the rocks, so that vast numbers perished ( Bj , III, ix, 2-4). At a later time it was the seat of a bishopric. During the Crusades it had a checkered history, being taken, now by the Christians, now by the Moslems. It was captured by the French under Kleber in 1799. It was fortified by the English, and afterward extended by the Turks (Baedeker, Palestine , 130).

4. Description:

The modern Yāfā is built on a rocky mound 116 ft. high, at the edge of the sea. A reef of rocks runs parallel to the shore a short distance out. It may be rounded in calm weather by lighter vessels, and it affords a certain amount of protection. There is a gap in the reef through which the boats pass that meet the steamers calling here. In time of storm the passage is dangerous. On one of these rocks Perseus is said to have rescued the chained Andromeda from the dragon. Yafa is a prosperous town, profiting much by the annual streams of pilgrims who pass through it on their way to visit the holy places in Palestine. A good trade is done with Egypt, Syria and Constantinople. Soap, sesame, wheat and oranges are the chief exports. The famous gardens and orange groves of Jaffa form one of the main sights of interest. The Christians and the Moslems have rival traditions as to the site of the house of Simon the tanner. The remains of the house of Tabitha are also pointed out. From Jaffa to Jerusalem the first railway in Palestine was built.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [16]

An ancient town and seaport, now Jaffa, on the coast of Palestine, 35 m. NW. from Jerusalem; a place of note in sacred and mediæval history; here Jonah took ship to Tarshish.