Lost Land of Ophir

Written By Tripzibit on Jan 3, 2009 | 17:07

Ophir is the now-lost realm of biblical fame, recorded in the Old Testament for the fine quality of its gold, which was brought to Solomon by his Tyrian sailors. Eziongeber, the point of departure for Solomon’s ships, lay at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, which suggests that the expedition’s destination lay somewhere to the south—and the question that has intrigued scholars for generations is: where? The ancient ruins discovered in Zimbabwe have been put forward as a possible site for Ophir, but they don’t seem to be old enough. Zanzibar on the east coast of Africa has also been mentioned, but that too is a very doubtful proposition. Because the voyage of Solomon’s gold convoy apparently occupied some three years, more distant lands have been sought as an answer to the question of where?, such as the delta of the River Indus (near what is now Karachi in Pakistan), Johore in southern Malaysia, Goa on the west coast of India, Malabar on the southwest coast of India, Malacca (earlier, Malaka) on the west coast of Malaysia, and Sumatra (Indonesia)—each of these has been suggested as the possible original Ophir; even Spain, Armenia, Phrygia (now Anatolia, central Turkey), and distant Peru have had their supporters.

“And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon.”
(1 KINGS 9:26–28)

This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions "Ophir gold" and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon's Temple.

It is interesting to note that on the coast of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) there is a people who call themselves the Aphar; it does not take much imagination to derive “Ophir” from “Aphar.” One atlas of ancient and classical geography suggests that Ophir might have been located in the region of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). However, it seems most likely that Ophir is to be found closer to home, so to speak—specifically, it probably once existed in Arabia, perhaps on the west coast bordering the Red Sea or on the south coast facing the Arabian Sea. On the other hand, Charles Boland is quite clear as to its ancient whereabouts: “When King Solomon built his fabulous temple . . . he employed the ships of Tarshish to journey to Ophir (India).”

The exact location of Ophir remains a mystery, although there have been many ideas put forward by Bible students. Flavius Josephus (38 - 100 AD), the Jewish historian, linked Ophir with India and it is possible to show that from the second millennium BC there was a busy sea trade taking place between the Persian Gulf and India. Josephus connected Ophir with "Cophen, an Indian river, and in part of Asia adjoining to it," (Antiquities of the Jews I:6). Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) adds a connection to "Sofir," the Coptic name for India. Many modern scholars still place Ophir on the coast of India, in what is now Poovar.

(Source : Seafaring, Lore and Legend by Peter D. Jeans; http://www.biblelight.org/arch6.htm)
(Pics source : 1st from http://oneyearbibleimages.com/solomon_map.gif, 2nd from http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/israel/2-gold-of-ophir-bb.html)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

1 komentar:

Anonymous said...

First, some people strongly considered Sumatra Island (Indonesia)as the original site of the famous legendary "Atlantis",...second, as the lost city of Ophir. What's next?