OPHEL, rocky protuberance north of the city of David in Jerusalem. Its wall is mentioned in the time of Jotham (II Chron. 27:3), Manasseh (II Chron. 33:14), and Nehemiah (3:27); it formed part of the eastern fortifications of Jerusalem. In the time of Nehemiah, the Temple servants (Nethinim) lived there. According to Nehemiah 3:27, the Ophel was situated between the "tower that standeth out" of the royal palace and the water gate. The name Ophel in a general sense was applied to a city hill in Micah 4:8 and Isaiah 32:14, and specifically to a hill in Samaria (II Kings 5:24). In modern times, the name Ophel has been extended to the whole eastern hill of Old Jerusalem, including David's City. Excavations in this area were begun by Ch. Warren in 1867 and continued by C. Schick (1880, 1886), H. Guthe (1881), F.J. Bliss and A.C. Dickie (1894–97), M. Parker (1909), R. Weill (1913–24), F.J. Macalister (1923–25) and J.W. Crowfoot (1927–28). For their results, see *Jerusalem.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.