(Acʹco) [sultriness, hot sand].
A seaport city located at the northern point of the yawning crescent-shaped bay of Acco (or Acre), which is formed by the cape of Mount Carmel jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea about eight miles (13 kilometers) to the S. Situated about thirty miles (48.3 kilometers) S of Tyre, Acco was the most important seaport on the harbor-shy Palestinian coast until Herod the Great ran seawalls out from the shore to produce an artificial port at Caesarea. Acco was inferior to the Phoenician ports to the N and provided but poor shelter from the sea winds. However, it was strategically located close to the approach to the rich Plain of Esdraelon, and several commercial trade routes connected the port with Galilee, the valley of the Jordan, and other points to the E. Timber, artistic commodities and grain were exported through Acco.
Acco pertained to the territorial division assigned to Asher in the Promised Land, but Asher failed to drive out the Canaanites who were then living there. (Judg. 1:31, 32) Mentioned only once in the Hebrew Scriptures, the city is more frequently referred to in non-Biblical records. Its name occurs several times in the el-Amarna Letters. Other records show that it was subjugated by Assyrian kings Shalmaneser, Sennacherib and Ashurbanipal. The city is mentioned in the Apocrypha as a center of opposition during the rule of the Maccabees. (1 Maccabees 5:15, 22, 55; 12:45-48; 13:12) By then its name had been changed to Ptolemais, a name attributed to certain of the Ptolemies ruling Egypt.
Under Emperor Claudius the city of Ptolemais (Acco) became a Roman colonia, and in apostolic times there was a group of Christians there. When returning from his third missionary tour, Paul put in at Acco and spent the day visiting the brothers there before traveling on to Caesarea and Jerusalem.—Acts 21:7.
Today Acco is eclipsed in importance by the modern city of Haifa, located directly across the bay.
[Picture on page 28]
Waterfront of the city located on the site of ancient Acco