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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. always with the article, ha-O'phel, הָעֹפֵל ,the knoll, as in Micah 4, 8 Sept. ᾿Ωφάλ, Nehemiah 3:26; Ο᾿φλά, Nehemiah 3:27; v. r. Ο᾿πελ, Ο᾿πλά; Vulg. Ophel), the name of two places in Palestine.

1. A fortified place or quarter of Jerusalem near the walls (2 Chronicles 27:3), on the east side, inhabited by the Nethinim after the rebuilding of the city (Nehemiah 3:26; Nehemiah 11:21). Ophel, or as he calls it; Ophla (οΟ῾᾿φλά ), is often mentioned by Josephus as adjoining the valley of the Kidron and the Temple mount (War, 2:17, 9; 5. 6, 1). He explains himself more precisely in v. 4, 2, where he makes the first wall of the city to extend from the tower of the Essenes over Siloam and the pools of Solomon to Ophel, where the latter joins the eastern porch of the Temple, i.e. at its southern extremity. Hence there can be no doubt that the hill Ophel was the steep southern projection from the mountain on which the Temple stood, aid that in the ancient city it was covered with houses (Josephus, War, v. 6, 3). Dr. Robinson (Bibl. Res. 1:394) describes it as a ridge extending south from Moriah to Siloam, between the deep valley of Jehoshaphat on the east, and the steep but shallower Tyropoeon valley on the west. The top of this ridge is flat, descending rapidly towards the south, sometimes by Offsets of rocks; and the ground is now tilled and planted with olive and other fruit trees. This ridge is considerably below the level of Mount Moriah; its length is 1550 feet, and its breadth in the middle part, from brow to brow, 290 feet. The excavations of the English engineers have shown that it was originally separated from Moriah by a considerable gully, but the ancient wall has been discovered joining it with the Temple near the south-east angle. (See JERUSALEM).

2. A place in Central Palestine, in which was the house where Gehazi, Elisha's servant, stowed away the presents which he took from Naaman in the name of his master (2 Kings 5:24). (See GEHAZI); (See NAAMAN). In the Auth. Vers. it is wrongly rendered "the tower;" margin, "the secret place," after the Sept. (τὸσκοτεινόν ). As the name means hill, it is probably here the name especially of an elevation in the immediate vicinity of the city of Samaria. Comp. Viervot, Bibl. Brem. Nov. 2:137 sq.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ophel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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