Ancient Canaanite city built on a 116' high hill on a promontory overlooking the only natural harbor on the southern Palestinian coast. Joppa was claimed by the tribe of Dan during the Israelite settlement but was soon lost to the Philistines. Solomon made it the major port in Judea (10th c. BCE). After a period of Greek domination Joppa was returned to Judean control by Jonathan, the brother & heir of Judah Maccabee (147 BCE). Pompey briefly made it an independent city (67 BCE), but Julius Caesar awarded it to Antipater (46 BCE) & it remained under Judean administration throughout the reign of Herod. But after Archelaus was deposed (6 CE), the Roman prefect at Caesarea was given jurisdiction over the city. Still, its population remained staunchly Jewish. It was destroyed by Vespasian in 68 CE for its role in the Jewish revolt. There is, however, no hint of such cultural or political tensions in the two stories of Peter's activity that Luke sets at Joppa [Acts 9-10].

References: Josephus, Antiquities 11.78; 13.91-92, 180, 215, 261,
                                                        14.202-205, 396-397; 15.217; 17:320.
                   _____, War 1.50, 99, 292-293, 396; 2.97, 507-508; 3.414-431.
                   Jonah 1:1-3.
                   Acts 9:36-10.48.

For further information about archaeological & historical evidence, see:

  • Buttrick, G. A., ed. Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. vol. 2 (NY/Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962) p. 970-971.

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