Op'hrai (Heb. Ophrah', עָפרָה, fawn; Sept. Α᾿φαρά, Ε᾿φρά, Ο᾿φερά, v. r. Ε᾿φραθα, Γοφερά; but 1Ch 4:14, Γοφορά), the name of two places in Palestine, and of a man.

1. A town of Benjamin (Jos 18:23), mentioned between hap-Parah and Chephar ha-Ammonai, in the north-east of that tribe's domain (Keil, Joshua, ad loc.). "It appears to be named again (1Sa 13:17) in describing the routes taken by the spoilers who issued from the Philistine camp at Michmash. One of these bands of ravagers went due west, on the road to Bethhoron; one towards the 'ravine of Zeboim,' that is in all probability one of the clefts which lead down to the Jordan valley, and therefore due east; while the third took the road to Ophrah and the land of Shual — doubtless north, for south they could not go, owing to the position held by Saul and Jonathan" (Smith). Accordingly it is placed by Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Aphia) five Roman miles east of Bethel. This corresponds with the position of a place called etTaiyibeh, which was visited by Dr. Robinson in his excursion to Bethel (Bibl. Researches, 2:120-123). It is now a small village, curiously situated upon a conical hill, on the summit of which is an old tower, whence is commanded a splendid view of the valley of the Jordan, the Dead Sea, and the eastern mountains (so Rodiger, in the Hall. Lit. - Zeit. 1842, No. 71; Stanley, Palest. p. 211; Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 238). These notices also suggest the identity of Ophrah with EPHRAIN or EPHRON, a city which king Abijah took from Jeroboam along with Bethel (2Ch 13:19). We read in Josephus also that Vespasian captured a small town near Bethel called EPHRAIM, which appears to be the same place (War, 4:9, 9); and probably it was to this that Christ went from Jerusalem after the resurrection of Lazarus (Joh 11:54). It may also have given its name to the district or government of APHERETMA (1 Maccabees 11:34).

2. The native place of Gideon (Jg 6:11); the scene of his exploits against Baal (ver. 24); his residence after his accession to power (9:5), and the place of his burial in the family sepulcher (8:32). In Ophrah also he deposited the ephod which he made or enriched with the ornaments taken from the Ishmaelitish followers of Zebah and Zalmunnah (8:27), and so strong was the attraction of that object that the town must then have been a place of great pilgrimage and resort. We may infer that it lay within the territory of Manasseh, as it is called "Ophrah of the Abiezrites" (6:24), and it is stated that the angel who appeared to Gideon to' summon him to deliver Israel "sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite" (6:11). "Ophrah possibly derived its name from Epher, who was one of the heads of the families of Manasseh in its Gileaditish portion (1Ch 5:24), and who appears to have migrated to the west of Jordan with Abiezer and Shechem (Nu 26:30; Jos 17:2)" (Smith). SEE ABIEZER. "The prophet Micah, when foretelling the destruction of the land and cities of Israel, says, 'In the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust,' or rather, perhaps, we should render, 'In Beth- Ophrah roll thyself in Ophr' (dust); or, in the house of dust roll thyself in dust (Mic 1:10, לעפרה בבית; thelappears to be merely the sign of the genitive; Sept. ἐξ οἴκου κατὰ γέλωτα; Vulg. in domo Pulveris pulvere vos conspergite). The place referred to is possibly identical with Ophrah of Manasseh; and the prophet perhaps intends some allusion to Gideon's deliverance, and to the fact that there would be none like him to deliver them in time of oppression" (Kitto). SEE BETH-LEAPHRAH. The Ophrah of Gideon was probably not far from Shechem (Jg 9:1,5). Neither Eusebius nor Jerome appears to have known anything of it (Reland, Palest. p. 913). Van de Velde suggests a site called Esfai, a mile south of Akrabeh, about eight miles south-east from Nablis (Memoir, p. 338), and Schwarz (Palest. p. 158) identifies it with "the village Erafa, north of Sanur," by which he probably means Arrabeh, west of Tell Do'than. The former is sufficiently in the required position. For other vague conjectures, see Hamaker, Miscell. Phoen. p. 276.

Bible concordance for OPHIR.

3. An Israelite, son of Mienothai, of the tribe of Judab (1Ch 4:14). B.C. post 1614. But it is more probable that the word father here means founder; and that Ophrah here also is the name of a village. SEE MENOTHAI.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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