(Jopʹpa) [beauty, or, beautiful].
An ancient seaport about thirty-five miles (56 kilometers) NW of Jerusalem. Modern Jaffa (merged with Tel Aviv in 1948 and thereafter called Tel Aviv-Yafo) occupies the ancient site. The city is situated on a rocky hill rising to a height of about 116 feet (c. 35 meters). Its harbor, the only natural one between Mount Carmel and the border of Egypt, is formed by a low ledge of rocks paralleling the coast at a distance of between 300 and 400 feet (91 and 122 meters) offshore. The harbor may be entered either through a narrow gap in the rocky ledge or at the open but shallow N end. Rocks bar access from the S.
Joppa was on the border of Dan’s territory, although not necessarily a part of it. (Josh. 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 (1 Ki. 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. (2 Chron. 2:16) Later, the prophet Jonah, seeking to flee from his assignment, boarded a ship at Joppa to go to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:3) After the Babylonian exile, Joppa again served as the harbor for receiving cedar timbers from Lebanon for use in temple rebuilding.—Ezra 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 subsequently resurrected Dorcas. As news of this miracle spread throughout Joppa, many became believers. (Acts 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. (Acts 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 sent by Gentile Cornelius. Consequently, Peter did not hesitate to go to Caesarea with these messengers. Also, six Jewish brothers, apparently from Joppa, accompanied him.—Acts 10:9-45; 11:5-14.
[Picture on page 958]
The modern-day port of Jaffa