OPHRAH


OPHRAH (Heb. עָפְרָה), name of two places mentioned in the Bible.

(1) A locality in the northern part of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin near Beth-El (Josh. 18:23). Ophrah was one of the places attacked by Philistine "spoilers" shortly before the battle of Michmas (I Sam. 13:17). Abijah of Judah captured it together with Beth-El (II Chron. 13:19 as Ephrain). It was the capital of a district ceded by Samaria to Judea in 145 B.C.E., when it was called Aphaerema (I Macc. 11:34). It appears as Ephraim in the New Testament (John 11:54) and as Ephron in Eusebius (Onom. 28:4; 90:19) and on the Madaba Map. Ophrah is identified with al-Ṭayyiba, 4 mi. (6.4 km.) northeast of Beth-El.

(2) Gideon's home town, which belonged to the Manassite clan of Abiezer (Judg. 6:11, 24; 8:27, 32; 9:5). Here God called on Gideon to fight the Midianites and here he ruled, died, and was buried. The identification of the place is uncertain. Most scholars locate it in the vicinity of Mt. Tabor (cf. Judg. 8:18) and the Jezreel Valley, the site of Gideon's encounter with the Midianites. Suggested sites in this region are either al-Ṭayyiba to the northeast of the hill of Moreh (the Crusader Effraon or Forbelet which is, however, also considered for Hapharaim of Issachar (Josh. 19:19)) or the tell of Affuleh which has traces of the Canaanite and Israelite periods.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

(1) Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 402; Aharoni, Land, index. (2) Abel, in: JPOS, 17 (1937), 31ff.; Press, Ereẓ, 4 (1955), 746; Aharoni, Land, index.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]


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