And they came to Ophir
About which place there are various opinions; some take it to be the little island of Zocatora, on the eastern coast of Africa, at a small distance from the straits of Babelmandel; others the island of Ceylon; others Sofala in Africa; some
F11 Peru in America; Vatablus the island of Hispaniola in the West Indies, discovered by Columbus, and who thought F12 himself that he had found the land of Ophir, because of the quantity of gold in it; others the southern part of Arabia; but the most reasonable opinion is, says my author F13, that it is a rich country in Malacca, which is a peninsula in the true Red sea (that part of the ocean which divides Asia from Africa), known by the name of the "golden Chersonese", and which agrees with Josephus F14; and at twelve leagues from Malacca there is a very high mountain, which by the natives is called Ophir, and is reported to be, or to have been, very rich in gold, though at present only some tin mines are worked there; and Kircher F15 says the word Ophir is a Coptic or Egyptian word, by which the ancient Egyptians used to call that India which contains the kingdoms of Malabar, Zeilan, the golden Chersonese, and, the islands belonging to it, Sumatra, Molucca, Java, and other neighbouring golden islands. So Varrerius
F16 thinks that all that coast in which are contained Pegu, Malaca, and Somatra, is Ophir; which places, besides gold, abound with elephants, apes, and parrots. In the island of Sumatra gold is now found, especially in Achin, in great plenty; in which is a mountain, called the "golden mountain", near the mines F17 Reland F18 takes Ophir to be the country round about a city called Oupara or Suphara, in the East Indies, where now stands Goa, the most famous mart in all India at this day for many of those things Solomon traded thither for. Though after all perhaps there was no such place originally as Ophir in India; only the gold brought from thence was like that of Ophir in Arabia, and therefore they called the place so from whence it was had; see ( Job 22:24 )
and fetched from thence gold four hundred and twenty talents,
and brought it to King Solomon; which according to Brerewood F19 amounted to 1,890,000 pounds of our money; and according to another writer F20 5,132,400 ducats of gold. Abarbinel says a talent of gold was equal to 12,300 Venetian ducats; in ( 2 Chronicles 8:18 ) it is said, that four hundred and fifty talents of gold were brought to Solomon; perhaps thirty might be expended in the voyage, or paid to Hiram's servants for their wages, as some Jewish writers observe; or in the bulk or ore it might be four hundred and fifty talents, but when purified only four hundred and twenty, as Grotius remarks; either way removes the difficulty; though some think different voyages are respected here and there; of the gold of Ophir frequent mention is made in Scripture.
F11 Erasm. Schmid. de America, orat. ad Cale. Pindar. p. 261. So some Jewish writers say it is the new world, Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 10. 1.
F12 P. Martyr Decad. 1. l. 1.
F13 Harris's Voyages, ut supra. (vol. 1. B. 1. ch. 2. sect. 3. p. 377.)
F14 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 4.)
F15 China Illustrat. cum Monument. p. 58. & Prodrom. Copt. c. 4. p. 119.
F16 Comment. de Ophyra.
F17 Dampier's Voyages, vol. 2. ch. 7.
F18 Dissert. de Ophir, sect. 6, 7.
F19 De Ponder. & Pret. c. 5.
F20 Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 3. p. 572.