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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Ophni', עָפְנַי [always with the art. הָעָפְנַי, ha-Ophni', q. d. the Ophnite], perh. pressure, famisne [comp. כָּפִן ]; Sept. Ἀφνί, but most MSS. omit; Yulg. 9 hni), a town in the north-eastern section of the tribe of Benjamin, named only in Joshua 18:24, between Chephar- haammonai and Gaba (q.v.). "Its name may perhaps imply that, like others of the towns of this: region, it was originally founded by some non- Israelitish tribe the Ophnites who in that case have left but this one slight trace of their existence" (Smith). It was probably the Gufzith (גופנית ), Gufna, or Beth-gufnin of the Talmud (Schwarz, p. 126), and doubtless the Gophna of Josephus (Γοφνά Ptolemy, Γούφνα 4:16), a place which at the time of Vespasian's invasion was apparently so important as to be second only to Jerusalem (War, 3:3, 5), as the center of a district or toparchy (Ant. 14:11, 2). It was fifteen Roman miles from Jerusalem on the way to Neapolis (Eusebius, Onomast. s.v. φάραγξ βότρυος ). The place still survives in the modern Jifha or Jihna, two and a half miles north-west of Bethel (Reland, Palaest. p. 816; Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 2:41). The change from the Ain, with which Ophlni begins, to G, is common enough in the Sept. (comp. Gomorrah, Athaliah, etc.). It is now a poor village, in a fertile valley between high hills, and contains about 200 Christian inhabitants (Robinson, Bib. Res. 3:79). Remains of an old Greek church still exist there, especially a baptistery; End traces may be seen of the Roman road leading through the town from Jerusalem to Antipatris (ib. 2:138).

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

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