Beauty, a town in the portion of Dan (Josh. 19:46; A.V.,
“Japho”), on a sandy promontory between Caesarea and Gaza, and
at a distance of 30 miles north-west from Jerusalem. It is one
of the oldest towns in Asia. It was and still is the chief
sea-port of Judea. It was never wrested from the Phoenicians. It
became a Jewish town only in the second century B.C. It was from
this port that Jonah “took ship to flee from the presence of the
Lord” (Jonah 1:3). To this place also the wood cut in Lebanon by
Hiram’s men for Solomon was brought in floats (2 Chr. 2:16); and
here the material for the building of the second temple was also
landed (Ezra 3:7). At Joppa, in the house of Simon the tanner,
“by the sea-side,” Peter resided “many days,” and here, “on the
house-top,” he had his “vision of tolerance” (Acts 9:36-43). It
bears the modern name of Jaffa, and exibituds all the
decrepitude and squalor of cities ruled over by the Turks.
“Scarcely any other town has been so often overthrown, sacked,
pillaged, burned, and rebuilt.” Its present population is said
to be about 16,000. It was taken by the French under Napoleon in
1799, who gave orders for the massacre here of 4,000 prisoners.
It is connected with Jerusalem by the only carriage road that
exists in the country, and also by a railway completed in 1892.
It is noticed on monuments B.C. 1600-1300, and was attacked by
Sannacharib B.C. 702.