2021 - 2022
Jaffa (Yaffo, Joppa) is one of the oldest port cities in the land of Israel and the Mediterranean. Due to its natural advantages, a hill above a bay, and its strategic location on the crossroads of Israel, the city was a center of historical events over thousands of years.
2 Chronicles 2:16 - “And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa, and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem”.
After the conquest of Israel by Joshua, Jaffa was a border city in the region of the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:39, 46) - “This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages…. and Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho“. At that time the Israelites have not yet settled in the city. Later, the tribe of Dan used the port of Jaffa for marine trade, as hinted in judge Deborah's complaint that Dan did not come to assist the campaign against the Canaanites (Judges 5:17) - “and why did Dan remain in ships?”.
The port of Jaffa is also mentioned in the story of Jonah, the son of Amittai, who was commanded to carry the words of the Lord in the city of Nineveh, but refused and tried to escape to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3) - “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD and went down to Joppa, and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD”. A great storm threatened the safety of the ship, and the mariners threw him overboard, and he was swallowed by a whale (1:19) - “and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights”. Eventually, Jonah agreed to do as commanded by the Lord, so he was “vomited out upon dry land”, and then went to Nineveh to complete the mission.
Jaffa continued to be part of the Jewish Kingdom under Roman control. Peter resided in Jaffa/Joppa for some time in the house of the tanner, by the sea (Acts 10:5) - “and now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside”.