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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• Nave's Topical Bible
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Hebrew - Aphek

(ay' fehk) Place name for several Old Testament cities or encampments in Palestine. The name is also recorded in Hebrew as Aphik (Joshua 19:30; Judges 1:31) and Aphekah (Joshua 13:4; Joshua 15:53; 1 Samuel 29:1; 1 Kings 20:26,1 Kings 20:30). Aphek appears to derive from a word meaning “fortress” or “stronghold.” Some references may be to military encampments or fortresses rather than to cities.

1. The king of Aphek was one of the thirty-one kings Joshua led Israel to defeat during the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 12:18). No certain location can be derived from the text. Some identify this Aphek with a city on the plain of Sharon north of Joppa and ten miles east of the Mediterranean (modern ras el-Ain). Settlement here reaches back before 3000 B.C. Archaeology shows it was destroyed about 1200. Providing access into the hill country of Ephraim, it may also have served later as the staging ground for the Philistines' defeat of Israel when the ark of the covenant was captured and Eli's sons were killed (1 Samuel 4:1) and perhaps for their victory at Jezreel, ending Saul's life (1 Samuel 29:1). This became the site of Roman Antipatris.

2. Joshua 13:4 mentions a city called Aphek as territory yet to be possessed at the end of Joshua's life (compare Judges 1:31). This seems to be a different city from the one defeated in the conquest. The Hebrew text actually names this city Aphekah. Because it is referenced in context with the Sidonians and the Amorites, its location was probably in the far north (modern Afqa, Lebanon, fifteen miles east of Byblos).

3. The city where Benhadad, king of Syria, gathered his forces in the days of King Ahab (1 Kings 20:26-30). Elisha's dying prophecy that Joash would defeat the Syrians at Aphek (2 Kings 13:14-19) likely refers to the same city. It may be located at modern Fiq, three miles east of the Sea of Galilee on the highway to Damascus.

4. Joshua 19:30 lists Aphek as one of the cities assigned to the territory of the sons of Asher. Rather than being on the border of Asher, this Aphek is presented as within its territory. This may be modern tell Kerdanah, six miles southeast of Acco. See Judges 1:31.

5. The Aphekah located in the hill country of Judah near Hebron (Joshua 15:53) is yet another city, whose location is not known.

Michael Fink

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'APHEK'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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