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JAPHIA (ja-fī'a, Heb. yāphîa‘, tall or may God make bright)

A ruler of Lachish who joined a coalition against Joshua (Josh.10.1-Josh.10.5). In a momentous battle in the Valley of Aijalon (Josh.10.12-Josh.10.14), the allies were defeated. The five kings fled and sought refuge in a cave, which Joshua sealed up and left under guard while his forces pursued the enemy. Later he had the kings executed and buried in the cave (Josh.10.22-Josh.10.27).A son of David born in Jerusalem (2Sam.5.15; 1Chr.3.7).A small city on the eastern border of Zebulun (Josh.19.12). It has been identified with modern Yafa, a site not far from Nazareth.

JAPHIA jə fī’ ə (יָפִֽיעַ). 1. King of Lachish, a city SW of Jerusalem. Its king formed a league with four other Amorite kings to punish Gibeon for submitting to the Israelites. Joshua defeated them in battle at Beth-horon, killed the five kings and cast their bodies into a cave (Josh 10:3ff.).

2. One of David’s sons born to him at Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:15; 1 Chron 3:7; 14:6).

3. A town on the S border of Zebulun (Josh 19:13). It is identified with Yafa, c. 1 1/2 m. SW of Nazareth. Josephus fortified it in the Rom. war (Jos. Life. 45; Jos. War. II. xx. 6).

Additional Material

Source 1

ja-fi’-a, jaf’-i-a (yaphia`, perhaps "tall"; compare Arabic; Iephtha):

(1) King of Lachish, one of the 5 "kings of the Amorites" who allied themselves together in an expedition against Gibeon on account of its treaty with the Israelites (Jos 10:3-5). After their discomfiture by Joshua in the battle of Beth-horon (10:10), "one of the most important in the history of the world" (Stanley), they fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah (10:16). As Joshua passed, he was informed of this, but, unwilling to delay his pursuit of the fugitives, he ordered great stones to be rolled unto the mouth of the cave, leaving a guard in charge (10:17 f). On the completion of his victory, Joshua returned to Makkedah and commanded the Israelites to bring forth the imprisoned kings, and summoned the chiefs of his army to plant their feet upon their necks. Then he put them to death; and after he had hung their bodies on 5 trees, he ordered the Israelites in the evening to take them down and cast them into the cave (10:22-27).

(2) Septuagint Iephies, Iaphie): One of the sons of David who were born to him at Jerusalem (2Sa 5:15; 1Ch 3:7; 14:6).

Source 2

ja-fi’-a, jaf’-i-a (yaphia`): A town on the southern boundary of Zebulun named with Chisloth-tabor and Daberath (Jos 19:12). It is represented by the modern Yafa, about 1 1/2 miles Southwest of Nazareth, near the foot of the hills. It was one of the places fortified by Josephus (Vita, 45; BJ, II, xx, 6).