Ophir, in the Bible , designates a people and a country.
The people, for whom a Semitic descent is claimed, is mentioned in Gen., x, 29, with the other "sons of Jectan", whose dwelling "was from Messa as we go on as far as Sehar, a mountain in the east" ( Genesis 10:30 ).
The place Ophir was that from which the Bible represents Solomon's fleet bringing gold, silver, thyine (probably santal) wood, precious stones, ivory, apes, and peacocks ( 1 Kings 9:26-28 ; 10:11, 22 ; 2 Chronicles 8:17-18 ; 9:10 ). Its location has been sought where the articles mentioned are native productions; still, while Ophir is repeatedly spoken of as a gold-producing region ( Job 22:24 ; 28:16 ; Psalm 44:10 ; Isaiah 13:12 ), it does not follow that the other articles came from there; whether they were natural products, or only bought and sold there, or even purchased by the merchantmen at intervening ports, cannot be gathered from the text, as it states merely that they were fetched to Asiongaber. The Bible does not give the geographical position of Ophir; it only says that the voyage out from Asiongaber and back lasted three years ( 1 Kings 10:22 ). Scholars have been guided in their several identifications of the site by the importance they attach to this or that particular indication in the sacred text –especially the products brought to Solomon –also by resemblances, real or fanciful, between the Hebrew names of Ophir and of the articles mentioned in connexion therewith and names used in various countries and languages. The Greek translators of the Bible , by rendering the Hebrew Ophir into Sophir, the Coptic name for India, would locate the Biblical El Dorado in India, according to some in the land of the Abhira, east of the delta of the Indus, according to others, on the coast of Malabar or at Ceylon, and according to others still in the Malay Peninsula. The opinion that it was situated on the southern or south-eastern coast of Arabia has many advocates, who contend from the text of Gen., x, 29, 30, that Ophir must be located between Saba and Hevilath. Another opinion says it was not in Asia, but either on the south-eastern coast of Africa (Sofala) or inland in Mashonaland.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online