Today was an easy day of travel, but an extremely important one.We left Jerusalem headed for the Shephelah (lowland; Deuteronomy 1:7). We made a brief stop at Beth-shemesh where the ark of the covenant was returned from the Philistines to Israel (1 Samuel 6). This was also the territory of Samson (Zorah and Esthaol (Judges 13).
We drove through the Valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17) and called attention to the sites located in the area (Socoh, Azekah, and Khirbet Qeiyafa). We made a stops at Tel Goded, Maresha, Tel Burna, Lachish, and Tell es-Safi/Gath for photographs.
Our final stop was at Joppa (Yaffo). This is the site we intended to begin with, but our flight was delayed leaving New York and we were not able to go there on the first day of the tour. The photo below is of the fishing port and lighthouse at Old Joppa.
Joppa is located in the Plain of Sharon and served as the seaport for Jerusalem which is about 35 miles away. The city is now called Jaffa, or Yafo. Joppa was a walled town as early as the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III (1490-1435 B.C.) who mentions Joppa in his town lists.
Here are a few of the biblical highlights for Joppa.
- Joppa was assigned to the tribe of Dan, but was not controlled by the Israelites till the time of David (Joshua 19:46).
- Hiram of Tyre floated cedar from Lebanon to Joppa for Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 2:16).
- Jonah sought a ship for Tarshish at Joppa to avoid going to Nineveh (Jonah 1:3).
- Cedars from Lebanon again were floated to Joppa for the rebuilding of the temple (520-516 B.C.; Ezra 3:7). The port of the city is behind St. Peter’s Church.
- Tabitha (Dorcas) lived in Joppa. When she died the disciples sent for Peter who was a Lydda. He came to Joppa and raised Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42). (Acts 10:6).
- Peter stayed many days in Joppa with Simon the tanner (Acts 9:43). His house was by the sea (Acts 10:6). A house near the port is shown as the house of Simon, but there is no way to know this with certainty.
- Peter received the housetop vision and learned that he was to go to Caesarea to preach the gospel to the Gentiles at the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10:23).