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English Bible Dictionary

Ophir's Gold

 

(abundane).

A seaport or region from which the Hebrews in the time of Solomon obtained gold. The gold was proverbial for its fineness, so that "gold of Ophir" is several times used as an expression for fine gold, (1 Chronicles 29:4; Job 28:16; Psalms 45:9; Isaiah 13:12) and in one passage (Job 22:24) the word "Ophir" by itself is used for gold of Ophir, and for gold generally. In addition to gold, the vessels brought from Ophir almug wood and precious stones. The precise geographical situation of Ophir has long been a subject of doubt and discussion. The two countries which have divided the opinions of the learned have been Arabia and India, while some have placed it in Africa. In five passages Ophir is mentioned by name - (1 Kings 9:28; 10:11; 22:18; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 9:10) If the three passages of the book of Kings are carefully examined, it will be seen that all the information given respecting Ophir is that it was a place or region accessible by sea from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, from which imports of gold, almug trees and precious stones were brought back by the Tyrian and Hebrew sailors. The author of the tenth chapter of Genesis certainly regarded Ophir as the name of some city, region or tribe in Arabia. It is almost certain that the Ophir of Genesis is the Ophir of the book of Kings, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. There is no mention, either in the Bible or elsewhere, of any other Ophir; and the idea of there having been two Ophirs evidently arose from a perception of the obvious meaning of the tenth chapter of Genesis on the one hand, coupled with the erroneous opinion, on the other that the Ophir of the book of Kings could not have been in Arabia. (Hence we conclude that Ophir was in southern Arabia, upon the border of the Indian Ocean; for even if all the things brought over in Solomon's ships are not now found in Arabia, but are found in India, yet, there is evidence that they once were known in Arabia and, moreover, Ophir may not have been the original place of production of some of them, but the great market for traffic in them.)

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Ophir.

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