The name of the city “Jaffa” first appears in a list made about 1468 B.C. by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. It is a list of cities that he had conquered. In fact, the account of how Jaffa was taken by the Egyptian army, under the leadership of their general Djehuty, was the stuff of legend. Think something like the taking of Troy only substitute man-size baskets for the huge wooden horse and you’ll have the gist of the idea. Here’s a link to the account.
Pictured here are sections of a brick wall to an Egyptian garrison in Jafa (Joppa; Yafo) that date back to about 1250 B.C., about the time Joshua led Israel into Canaan. This wall, located on Jaffa’s highest point (in the Archaeological Garden at Tel Yafo; near Summit Park), is situated perhaps ten yards west of the gate shown in yesterday’s photograph.
If these walls, and those built on top of them, could talk, they would speak much of war. For though Jaffa was technically a part of the land allotted to the tribe of Dan, it rarely remained under Israelite control for any appreciable stretch of time. Though located only sixty miles northwest of Jerusalem, Jaffa was frequently out of Israel’s hands, whether due to the efforts of Philistines, Assyrians, or others.
Perhaps the most significant thing that happened during the brief time Jaffa was in Israel’s possession occurred during the reign of Solomon when the cedar wood from Lebanon used in the construction of the temple in Jerusalem was shipped by King Huram of Tyre to Jaffa (2 Chronicles 2.1-16).