Ophir in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
o'-fer, o'-fir ('owphiyr (Gen 10:29), 'owphir (1 Ki 10:11),
1. Scriptural References:
The 11th in order of the sons of Joktan (Gen 10:29 = 1 Ch
1:23). There is a clear reference also to a tribe Ophir (Gen
10:30). Ophir is the name of a land or city somewhere to the
South or Southeast of Israel for which Solomon's ships
along with Phoenician vessels set out from Ezion-geber at
the head of the Gulf of Aqabah, returning with great stores
of gold, precious stones and "almug"-wood (1 Ki 9:28; 10:11;
2 Ch 9:10; 1 Ki 22:48; 2 Ch 8:18). We get a fuller list of
the wares and also the time taken by the voyage if we assume
that the same vessels are referred to in 1 Ki 10:22, "Once
every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold,
and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks." The other
products may not have been native to the land of Ophir, but
it is certain that the gold at least was produced there.
This gold was proverbial for its purity, as is witnessed by
many references in the Old Testament (Ps 45:9; Job 28:16;
Isa 13:12; 1 Ch 29:4), and, in Job 22:24, Ophir is used for
fine gold itself. In addition to these notices of Ophir, it
is urged that the name. occurs also in two passages under
the form "Uphaz" (Jer 10:9; Dan 10:5).
2. Geographical Position:
At all times the geographical position of Ophir has been a
subject of dispute, the claims of three different regions
being principally advanced, namely (1) India and the Far
East, (2) Africa, (3) Arabia.
(1) India and the Far East.
All the wares mentioned are more or less appropriate to
India, even including the fuller list of 1 Ki 10:22.
"Almug"-wood is conjectured to be the Indian sandal-wood.
Another argument is based on the resemblance between the
Septuagint form of the word (Sophera) and the Coptic name
for India (Sophir). A closer identification is sought with
Abhira, a people dwelling at the mouths of the Indus.
Supara, an ancient city on the west coast of India near the
modern Goa, is also suggested. Again, according to Wildman,
the name denotes a vague extension eastward, perhaps...