Joppa (2)

Joppa Of the modern Yafa (called Jaffa by the Europeans) a tolerably full account is given in the Memoirs accompanying the Ordnance Survey (2:275 sq.); and the description by Lieut. Conder (Tent Work, 1:1 sq.) contains some interesting particulars:

"The town rose from the shore on a brown hillock; the dark, flat-roofed houses climbing the hill one above another, but no prominent building breaking the sky outline. The yellow, gleaming beach, with its low cliffs and sand-dunes, stretched away north and south, and in the distance the dim blue Judean hills were visible in shadow.

"Jaffa is called the port of Jerusalem, but has no proper harbor at present. In ancient times the 'Moon Pool,' south of the town, now silted up, was perhaps the landing-place for Hiram's rafts of cedar-

Bible concordance for JOPPA.

wood; but the traveller passes through a narrow opening in a dangerous reef running parallel with the shore, or, if the weather is bad, he is obliged to make a long detour round the northern end of the same reef. By ten in the morning the land breeze rises, and a considerable swell is therefore always to be expected. The entrance through the reef is only sufficient for one boat, and thus every year boats are wrecked on the rocks and lives lost. It is said also that each year at least one person is killed by the sharks close to land. The little Russian steamer was anchored about two miles from shore, and rolled considerably. The decks were crowded with a motley assemblage, specimens of every Levantine nationality. Each deck passenger had his bedding with him, and the general effect was that of a great rag-heap, with human faces — black, brown, and white — legs, arms, and umbrellas sticking out of the rags in unexpected places. Apart from the rest sat a group of swarthy Bedouin, with their huge headshawls, not unlike a coalscuttle in effect, bound with a white cord round the brow. They wore their best dresses, the black hair cloak, with red slippers. The rugged dark faces with white beards and sunscorched eyes wore a curious mixed expression of assumed dignity and badly concealed curiosity concerning the wonders of civilization surrounding them. The coloring of these various groups would have been a treat to an artist. The dull rich tints were lit up here and there by patches of red leather and yellow silk. Like all Oriental color, it was saved from any gaudiness of effect by the large masses of drill brown or indigo which predominated. The steamer was soon besieged by a fleet of long, flat boats with sturdy rowers, and into these the passengers were precipitated, and their luggage dropped in after them. The swell was so great that we were in constant danger of being capsized under the accommodation ladder. As we rowed off, and sank in the trough of the waves, the shore and town disappeared, and only the nearest boats were visible high up on the crest of the rollers. The exciting moment of reaching the reef came next; the women closed their eyes, the rowers got into a regular swing, chanting a rude rhyme, and, waiting for the wave, we were suddenly carried past the ugly black rocks into smooth water close to the wharf. The landing at Jaffa has been from time immemorial an exciting scene. We have the terrible and graphic account of the old pilgrim (Seewulf) who, from his sins or from the badness of the ship, was almost wrecked, and who witnessed from the shore the death of his companions, helpless in a great storm in the offing. We have the account of Richard Lion-Heart springing, fully-armed, into the surf and fighting his way on shore. The little port made by the reef has been long the only place south of Acre where landing was possible; but the storms which have covered the beach with modern wrecks were equally fatal to the Genoese galleys and crusading war-ships.

"The town of Jaffa contains little of interest, though it is sufficiently striking to a newcomer. The broad effects of light and shadow are perhaps enhanced here by the numerous arched streets and the flights of steps which limb from the sea-level to the higher part of the town. "The glory of Jaffa consists in its beautiful gardens, which stretch inland about a mile and a half, and extend north and south over a length of two miles. Oranges, lemons, palms, bananas, pomegranates, and other fruits grow in thick groves surrounded by old cactus hedges, having narrow lanes between them deep in sand. Sweet water is found in abundance at a moderate depth. The scent of the oranges is said to be at times perceptible some miles from land, to approaching ships. Still more curious is the fact that the beautiful little sunbird, peculiar to the Jordan valley, is also to be found in these gardens. How this African wanderer can have made its way across districts entirely unfitted for its abode, to spots separated by the great mountain chain, it is not easy to explain.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

"Outside the town on the north-east is the little German colony, the neat white houses of which were built originally by an American society which was almost exterminated by fever, and finally broken up by internal differences, caused, I understand, by some resemblance in the views of the chief to those of Brigham Young. The land and buildings were bought by the thrifty German settlers, members of the Temple Society, with the views and history of which sect I became further acquainted during the following winter. SEE PALESTINE, COTONISTS IN.

"The soil of the Jaffa plain is naturally of great fertility. Even the negligent. tillage of the peasantry produces fine harvests. The Germans ploughed deeper, and were rewarded by a crop of thistles, which to a good farmer would have been a subject of satisfaction as proving the existence of virgin soil, only requiring to be scoured by other crops for a year or two in order to yield fine harvests of corn. At this time of.year, the barley had been gathered in, and only the dry stubble was left."

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.