Notes On Biblical Geography -- By: E. Robinson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:6 (May 1845)
Article: Notes On Biblical Geography
Author: E. Robinson


Notes On Biblical Geography

E. Robinson.

The City Ephraim, John 11:54

After the raising of Lazarus, the Sanhedrim at the instance and counsel of Caiphas, determined to seize Jesus and cause him to be put to death. To avoid their machinations, our Lord withdrew from Jerusalem “unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there abode with his disciples;” John 11:54. This place has never yet been identified with any modern site; nor has any attempt been made, so far as I know, to ascertain anything more than its general position. The following comparisons and combinations may perhaps throw some light upon the subject.

This city Ephraim (᾿Εφραΐμ, ᾿Εφρέμ) has been correctly assumed as being the same with the Ephraim or Ephron of 2 Chr. 13:19, Heb. עֶפְרַיִן in Keri, עֶפְרַיִן in Chethib, Sept. ᾿Εφρών, which place Abijah king of Judah, after his great battle with Jeroboam, took from the latter along with Bethel and Jeshanah. It lay therefore not far remote from Bethel. So too Josephus relates, that Vespasian marched from Cesarea to the hill-country, subdued the toparchies of Gophna and Acraba with the small cities (πολίχνια) Bethel and Ephraim (᾿Εφραΐμ), and then proceeded to Jerusalem; Jos. B. J. 4.9.9. This also is doubtless the Ephron (᾿Εφρών) of Eusebius and Jerome, which the former places at eight, and the latter (correcting Eusebius) at nearly twenty Roman miles north of Jerusalem; Onomast. art. Ephron.

There was another similar name in the Old Testament, viz. Ophrah in Benjamin, Josh. 18:23. 1 Sam. 13:17, Heb. עָפְרָה, Sept. ᾿Εφραθά. This was apparently the Aphra (᾿Αφρά) of Eusebius and Jerome, situated five Roman miles east of Bethel; Onomast. art Aphra.

The question suggests itself: Were perhaps Ophra and Ephron (עֶפְרוֹן עָפָרָה) merely different forms of the same name, belonging to one and the same place? This would seem not improbable, as both forms have the same general signification, fawn, fawn-like, from the noun עֹפֶר fawn; one receiving simply ...

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