Gopatata Gopher

Gopatata. SEE JOTAPATA. Go'pher (Heb. id. גֹּפֶר; according to Gesenius, i.q. כֹּפֶר, pitch; acc. to Fürst, connected with גָּפרַית brimstone, i.e., resin; Sept. τετράγωνος, Vulg. levigatus), a kind of tree, the wood of which is mentioned only once in Scripture, as the material of which Noah was directed to build the ark (Ge 6:14): "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch ite within and without with pitch" (probably bitumen). In endeavoring to ascertain the particular kind of wood which is mentioned in the above passage, ewe. can get assistance only from the name, the country where the wood was supposed to have been procured, or the traditional interpretations. The Sept. renders it "squared timbers," and the Vulgate "planed wood" (apparently understanding גרŠ). Some have adopted the opinion that a kind of pine- tree is intended; and others that several species may be included, as they all yield resin, tar, and pitch. The Persian translator has also adopted the pine; but Celsius objects that this was never common in Assyria and Babyblonia. The Chaldee version and others give the cedar, because it was always plentiful in Asia, and was distinguished by the incorruptible nature of its wood. But cedar is a very general term, and correctly applied only to different kinds of juniper. These, though yielding excellent wood, remarkable for its fragrance, seven grow to a large size in any warm county. Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria, relates in his Annals (page 34), as quoted by Celsius (Hierobot. 1:331), that the ark (q.v.) was made of a wood called sag or saj, which is the teak, and not likely to have been the wood employed. The Chaldee Samaritan translator, for gopher, gives, as a synonym, sisam, of which Celsius says (Hierobot. 1:332), "Vocern obscuram, a sive referas ad ξύλα σησάμινα, quae ax Indiis adferri scribit Arrianus (Peripl. Mar. Erythr. page 162), et Ebeno n similia perhibent alii (Salhsasius, in Solin. page 727)." The sisam, is probably the sissu mentioned by Forskal, as imported in his time into Arabia, and is a highly- valued, dark-colored wood, of which one kind is called blackwood (Dalbergia latifolia). The greatest snumber of writers have been of opinion that the gopher wood we are to understand the cypress; and this opinion is supported by such authorities as Fuller (Sacred Miscellanies, 4:5), Bochart (Geogr. Sacra, 1:4), as well as by Celsius (Hierobot. 1:328). It has been stated that gopher is the Greek κυπάρισσος, with a mere addition to the root. It is argued, further, that the wood of the cypress, being almost incorruptible was likely to be preferred; that itwas, frequently employed in later asges in the construction of temples, bridges, and even ships; and that it was very abundant in the countries where, according to these authors the ark is supposed to have been built, that is, in Assyria, where other woods are scarce. SEE TREE.

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