🔼The name Joppa: Summary
- Beauty, Beautiful
- From the verb יפה (yapa), to be beautiful.
🔼The name Joppa in the Bible
Joppa/Japho was a splendid port town on the Mediterranean coast of Israel (which is now incorporated in Tel Aviv). It was situated in the territory that was originally allotted to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:46), and by the time of the kings it served as port city of Jerusalem. In order to build the temple, king Solomon had King Huram of Tyre transport timber from Lebanon to Jerusalem via Japho (2 Chronicles 2:15), and likewise, when Jeshua and Zerubbabel wanted to resurrect the temple, they too brought in materials from Tyre by Joppa (Ezra 3:7, spelled יפאו only here). And when the prophet Jonah famously tried to get away "from the presence of YHWH", he went to Tarshish on a ship that he boarded in Japho (Jonah 1:3).
In the New Testament we hear from Joppa as the home town of Tabitha, also known as Dorcas, whom the apostle Peter raised from the dead (Acts 9:36), and Simon the tanner at whose house Peter lodged (Acts 9:43). At that house in Joppa, Peter witnessed the Great Sheet, by which the Lord explained that the gospel of Christ was for all people (Acts 10:11). The next day Peter and some people from Joppa travelled to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius (Acts 10:23).
Altogether, Joppa is mentioned 10 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
🔼Etymology of the name Joppa
The Greek name Joppa is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Japho, and Japho comes from the verb יפה (yapa), meaning to be beautiful:
The verb יפע (yapa') means to shine or radiate (specifically of theophanies). Noun יפעה (yip'a) means brightness or splendor.
The verb יפה (yapa) means to be beautiful. The adjective יפה (yapeh) means beautiful and the diminutive adjective יפה־פיה (yepeh-piya) means pretty. Noun יפי (yepi) means beauty.
For a meaning of the name Joppa, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Beauty. For the name Japho, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Beautiful. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer an interpretation of the name Joppa/Japho but does list it under the verb יפה (yapa), meaning to be beautiful.