(Jopʹpa) [Beautiful (Pretty) [City]].
An ancient seaport about 55 km (34 mi) WNW of Jerusalem. Modern Yafo (Arabic, Jaffa; merged with Tel Aviv in 1950 and now called Tel Aviv-Yafo) occupies the ancient site. The city is situated on a rocky hill rising to a height of about 35 m (115 ft). Its harbor, the only natural one between Mount Carmel and the border of Egypt, is formed by a low ledge of rocks about 100 m (330 ft) from the coast. The harbor may be entered either through a narrow gap in the rocky ledge or at the open but shallow north end. Rocks bar access from the south.
Joppa was on the border of Dan’s original territory, although not necessarily a part of it. (Jos 19:40, 41, 46) However, Judges 5:17 associates Dan with ships, and this may imply that the Danites actually controlled the seaport of Joppa.
In view of King Solomon’s extensive commercial intercourse with other nations (1Ki 10:22, 28, 29), likely the harbor facilities at Joppa were improved. It was to Joppa that the Tyrians floated rafts of timber from the forests of Lebanon, to be used in temple construction. (2Ch 2:16) Later, the prophet Jonah, seeking to flee from his assignment, boarded a ship at Joppa to go to Tarshish. (Jon 1:3) After the Babylonian exile, Joppa again served as the harbor for receiving cedar timbers from Lebanon for use in temple rebuilding.—Ezr 3:7.
In the first century C.E., a Christian congregation existed at Joppa. Dorcas (Tabitha), a woman ‘abounding in good deeds and gifts of mercy,’ was associated with that congregation. Upon her death Peter came from nearby Lydda on request, and he subsequently resurrected Dorcas. As news of this miracle spread throughout Joppa, many became believers. (Ac 9:36-42) For quite a few days, Peter stayed at Joppa, being entertained by a certain Simon, a tanner, who had his house by the sea. (Ac 9:43; 10:6) It was on the roof of Simon’s house that Peter, while in a trance, received divine revelation concerning the propriety of preaching to non-Jews, just in time to receive the messengers from the Gentile Cornelius. Consequently, Peter did not hesitate to go to Caesarea with these messengers. Also, six Jewish brothers, apparently from Joppa, accompanied him.—Ac 10:9-45; 11:5-14.
[Picture on page 104]
Modern-day port of Yafo (Joppa); in this city Peter was given a vision that prepared him to preach to Gentiles