A Name Applied First Ophir (Gen. x. 29) to one of the sons of Joktan, and secondly to a region from which the fleet of Solomon brought gold and precious stones. The precise situation of Ophir is a matter of conjecture. There are four theories which have an appearance of probability: 1. That Ophir was a general name for distant southerly regions, just as we say the Indies for the East. This theory is supported by Father Acosta, Heeren, Tychsen, and others. 2. That Ophir was on the E. coast of Africa, embracing Zanzibar and Mozambique. Here have been found mines of gold and silver, which appear to have been worked extensively in ancient times. Among the advocates of this theory are Grotius, Petermann, Charles Beke, and Halevy. 3. That it was in southern Arabia, because in Genesis Ophir is spoken of as one of the sons of Joktan who settled between Sabaea and Havilah; because native gold was anciently found there; and because in Oman there is at present a city named El-Ophir, once the seat of considerable Arabian commerce.
This opinion has been adopted by Abulfeda, Niebuhr, Volney, Gesenius, and others. 4. That Ophir was in India, because that country abounds in the articles mentioned as brought from both Tarshish and Ophir; because several of these articles, such as peacocks and sandal wood, are found nowhere else; because the Hebrew words for apes and peacocks correspond with the words used for the same on the Malabar coast; and because there was in India, in the neighborhood of the modern Goa, a district a, called by Arrian Ovrnzapa. This theory is maintained after Josephus by Bochart, Ouseley, Lassen, and Ritter, and apparently agrees with the Septuagint.