The Name of Four Canaanite Cities

Hebrew name: אֲפֵק (‘apheq)

Name meaning: “To be strong/sturdy” or “stream bed”

a. A city in Lebanon (Joshua 13:4, Judges 1:31) – Aphek of Lebanon was a city established by the Phoenicians, a seafaring people from the west who settled in the land of Canaan. Aphek was situated north of Mount Hermon in the Litani river valley. Joshua and his Israelite army only conquered territory as far north as Mount Hermon, so Aphek was left untouched in the conquest.

b. Aphek of Aram (1 Kings 20:26, 2 Kings 13:17) – Aphek was a city in northern Canaan just east of the Sea of Galilee. It was the site of a conflict between the armies of Ben-hadad the Aramean and King Ahab of Israel (1 Kings 20) in which 1 Kings reports that Israel defeated 127,000 Arameans in an enormous battle. Aphek is mentioned again 2 Kings 13:17. This verse mentions Aphek in the context of Elisha the prophet instructing Joash, the king of Israel, to shoot an arrow in the direction of the Arameans – a prophetic prediction of Israel’s victory over them.

c. Aphek of Asher (Joshua 19:30) – A city situated just off the Mediterranean coast given to the Israelite tribe of Asher after the Canaanite conquest.

d. Aphek of Sharon (1 Samuel 4:1) – Aphek was a town along the Plain of Sharon, a fertile strip of land along the coast in northern Canaan. This was the site of a battle between Israel and the Philistines. 1 Samuel 4 reports that the battle resulted in the deaths of 4,000 Israelites and, most significantly, the capture of the Ark of the Covenant.

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