ONES'IMUS (useful), a slave of Philemon in whose behalf Paul wrote the Epistle to Philemon. Col. 4:9. He seems to have fled from his master, Phile. 15, but returned to him a Christian. His conversion was brought about through Paul at Rome. Phile. 10. Tradition says he was afterward made bishop of Beraea, in Macedonia.
ONESIPH'ORUS (profit-bringing), a primitive Christian who ministered to the wants of Paul at Ephesus, and afterward sought him out at Rome and openly sympathized with him. 2 Tim. 1:16-18, 2 Tim. 4:19.
ON'ION, a well-known garden vegetable which grew in great perfection in Egypt, and was longed for by the Israelites. Num. 11:5. The onions of Egypt are of large size and exquisite flavor, "differing from the onions of our country as much as a bad turnip differs in palatableness from a good apple."
O'NO (strong), a town in Benjamin, and reoccupied after the Captivity. 1 Chr. 8:12; Ezr. 2:33; Neh. 7:37. A plain and a valley - the two perhaps identical - were connected with it. Neh. 6:2; 11:35; 1 Chr. 4:14. As it is named with Lod, Van de Velde, Porter, Baedeker, and others locate it at Kefr 'Ana, 5 miles north of Lydda (Lod).
ON'YCHA, an ingredient of the sacred incense which was prepared under divine direction. Ex. 30:34. It was probably the horny lid or door of a univalve shell (Strombus) found in the Red Sea. When burnt this "operculum " emits a strong pungent odor.
O'NYX, one kind of chalcedony; a precious stone, Ex. 25:7; Eze. 28:13, exhibiting two or more colors disposed in parallel bands or layers. The Hebrew word shoham is uniformly so translated in the Bible. Opinion is divided as to the exact meaning of the term. Josephus says the onyx is meant. It was found in the land of Havilah, Gen. 2:12, and was evidently of high value, as it is mentioned among precious stones and metals. Job 28:16; Eze. 28:13. It adorned the breastplate of the high priest and the two shoulders of his ephod. Ex. 28:9-12, 20. David also collected onyx-stones for the adornment of the temple. 1 Chr. 29:2.
O'PHEL (hill, swelling), a hill of ancient Jerusalem. More accurately, it was the southern extremity of the hill on which the temple stood, and from whence the hill sunk gradually toward the surrounding valleys. It was enclosed and fortified by a wall, 2 Chr. 27:3; 2 Chr. 33:14; Neh. 3:26-27; 11:21, but it is now outside the walls of the city. The term has usually been understood to apply to the entire hill. Warren, however, suggests that Ophel was originally the designation of the palace which Solomon built, a building which in later reigns would command the Kedron valley by a wall at least 150 feet in height, increased to 200 feet by the building of the royal cloisters. The excavations of Warren exposed a wall 70 feet in height, which he supposes to have been Manasseh's, and in conjunction with it is a great tower built of drafted stones - perhaps that "which lieth without." Upward of 50 shafts were sunk about Ophel in search of the wall, and a line of wall was found to extend as far as 700 feet from the first tower in a south-easterly direction along the ridge of Ophel. There it ends abruptly. About 200 feet southward in the same line some massive walls were uncovered. On the eastern side of Ophel is the Fount of the Virgin, and below is the pool of Siloam. See Jerusalem.
O'PHIR, the celebrated gold-region to which the ships of Solomon and Hiram sailed from a port on the Red Sea, and from whence they returned bearing gold, silver, precious stones, and algum-tree wood; and they also brought ivory, apes, and peacocks, though it is not said that these latter came originally from Ophir. 1 Kgs. 9:28; 1 Kgs. 10:11, 1 Kgs. 10:22. The ships of Jehoshaphat, built to make a similar voyage, were wrecked at Eziongeber. 1 Kgs. 22:48. The abundance and fineness of the gold of Ophir were proverbial. Job 22:24; 28:16; Ps. 45:9; Isa. 13:12; 1 Chr. 29:4; Tobit 13:17; Ecclus. 7:18.
The precise situation of Ophir is an unsettled question in scriptural geography. Three chief locations have been suggested: (1) Arabia; (2) India; (3) Eastern Africa.