Ancient Sources

Mount Ephraim and Benjamin


51. Gophna - (Jifna)

ORIGINAL TEXTS


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Eusebius, Onomasticon 168:15-18 (ca. 295 A.D.)
Valley of the bunch of grapes (Num 13:24-25), whence the men sent to spy the land brought back fruit as a sample of the land: they say this is Gophna, which means "grape-vine". Is located at a distance of 15 miles from Jerusalem, on the road leading to Neapolis. It is a question whether this tradition is true.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

Num. 13:17-25 The reconnaissance in Canaan
Moses sent them [the explorers] to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land." Now it was the season of the first ripe grapes.
21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the Negeb, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came to the Wadi Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them. They also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Wadi Eshcol, because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down from there.
25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.

MORE ANCIENT SOURCES

Josephus, War 2, 566-568 (1st cent. A.D.)
They also chose other generals for Idumea; Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of the high priests; and Eleazar the son of Ananias, the high priest; they also enjoined Niger, the then governor of Idumea, who was of a family that belonged to Perea, beyond Jordan, and was thence called the Peraite, that he should be obedient to those forenamed commanders.
Nor did they neglect the care of other parts of the country; but Joseph the son of Simon was sent as general to Jericho, as was Manasseh to Perea, and John, the Essene, to the toparchy of Thamma; Lydda was also added to his portion, and Joppa and Emmaus. But John, the son of Matthias, was made the governor of the toparchies of Gophritica and Acrabastene; as was Josephus, the son of Matthias, of both the Galilees. Gamala also, which was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command.

Josephus, War 3,54-55 (1st cent. A.D.)
It (Judea) was parted into eleven portions, of which the royal city Jerusalem was the supreme, and presided over all the neighboring country, as the head does over the body. As to the other cities that were inferior to it, they presided over their several toparchies; Gophna was the second of those cities, and next to that Acrabatta, after them Thamna, and Lydda, and Emmaus, and Pella, and Idumea, and Engaddi, and Herodium, and Jericho.

Josephus, War 6,115-117 (1st cent. A.D.)
Now Caesar not only received these men very kindly in other respects, but, knowing they would not willingly live after the customs of other nations, he sent them to Gophna, and desired them to remain there for the present, and told them, that when he was gotten clear of this war, he would restore each of them to their possessions again; so they cheerfully retired to that small city which was allotted them, without fear of any danger. But as they did not appear, the seditious gave out again that these deserters were slain by the Romans,-which was done, in order to deter the rest from running away by fear of the like treatment. This trick of theirs succeeded now for a while, as did the like trick before; for the rest were hereby deterred from deserting, by fear of the like treatment.


ICONOGRAPHIC PARALLELS

Tabula Peutingeriana
(4th cent. A.D.)
Cofna


Map Section 5 Place Discussion

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 13:04:17
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000