Tel Aviv - Yafo - Joppa is the most populate metropolitan area in Israel and it is located in the territory of ancient and biblical city of Joppa(Yafo).
In Josh 19:46 the city called “Yapho,” a city in the territory allotted to Dan; but there is nothing to show that in pre-exilic times it ever passed into Israelite hands.
Ancient History of Yafo
“The gate of Joppa” is mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna Letters (214, 32 f; compare 178, 20), as guarded by an Egyptian officer for Amenhotep IV. It was conquered by Thothmes III, and old Egyptian records speak of the excellence of its gardens and fruit trees. Sennacherib claims to have taken Jonathas after a siege (KB, 2, 93). To Jonathas, the Chronicler tells us, the cedars of Lebanon were brought in floats for transportation to Jerusalem by the workmen of the king of Tyre (2 Ch 2:16).
Jaffa in the Bible
The city does not appear in the history as Philistine, so we may, perhaps, infer that it was held by the Phoenicians, the great seamen of those days. It was doubtless a Phoenician ship that Jonah found here, bound for Tarshish, when he fled from the presence of the Lord (Jon 1:3). In Ezra’s time, again, cedars were brought here for the buildings in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:7). Having been brought by messengers from Lydda to Jonathas, Peter here raised the dead Dorcas to life (Acts 9:36 f). On the roof of Simon’s house by the sea, the famous vision was vouchsafed to this apostle, from which he learned that the gospel was designed for Jew and Gentile alike (Acts 10:1 ff; 11:5 ff).
And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 2:16 KJV
They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
Ezra 3:7 KJV
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Jonah 1:3 KJV
Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
Acts 10:23, 32 KJV
History of Jaffa in the Maccabean’s period
The men of Joppa, having treacherously drowned some 200 Jews, Judas Maccabeus fell upon the town “and set the haven on fire by night, and burned the boats, and put to the sword those that had fled thither” (2 Macc 12:3 ff). Jonathan took the city, in which Apollonius had placed a garrison (1 Macc 11:47 ff). It was not easy to hold, and some years later it was captured again by Simon, who garrisoned the place, completed the harbor and raised the fortifications (1 Macc 12:36 f; 13:11; 14:5–34). It is recorded as part of Simon’s glory that he took it “for a haven, and made it an entrance for the isles of the sea,” the Jews thus possessing for the first time a seaport through which commerce might be fully developed. It was taken by Pompey and joined to the province of Syria (Ant., XIV, iv, 4; BJ, I, vii, 7). Caesar restored it to the Jews under Hyrcanus (Ant., XIV, x, 6). It was among the cities given by Antony to Cleopatra (XV, iv, 1). Caesar added it to the kingdom of Herod (vii. 3; BJ, I, xx, 3), and at his death it passed to Archelaus (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). At his deposition it was attached to the Roman province. The inhabitants were now zealous Jews, and in the Roman wars it suffered heavily. After a massacre by Cestius Gallus, in which 8,400 of the people perished, it was left desolate. Thus it became a resort of the enemies of Rome, who turned pirates, and preyed upon the shipping in the neighboring waters. The place was promptly captured and destroyed by Vespasian. The people took to their boats, but a terrific storm burst upon them, dashing their frail craft to pieces on the rocks, so that vast numbers perished (BJ, III, ix, 2–4). At a later time it was the seat of a bishopric. During the Crusades it had a checkered history, being taken, now by the Christians, now by the Moslems. It was captured by the French under Kleber in 1799. It was fortified by the English, and afterward extended by the Turks (Baedeker, Palestine, 130).
“Unto them of Zidon also and Tyre they gave carrs, that they should bring cedar trees from Libanus, which should be brought by floats to the haven of Joppa, according as it was commanded them by Cyrus king of the Persians. And he pitched his tents against Joppa: but; they of Joppa shut him out of the city, because Apollonius had a garrison there. Then Jonathan laid siege unto it: whereupon they of the city let him in for fear: and so Jonathan won Joppa. Then Jonathan met the king with great pomp at Joppa, where they saluted one another, and lodged. Simon also went forth, and passed through the country unto Ascalon, and the holds there adjoining, from whence he turned aside to Joppa, and won it. Also he sent Jonathan the son of Absolom, and with him a great power, to Joppa: who casting out them that were therein remained there in it. And as he was honourable in all his acts, so in this, that he took Joppa for an haven, and made an entrance to the isles of the sea, Moreover he fortified Joppa, which lieth upon the sea, and Gazera, that bordereth upon Azotus, where the enemies had dwelt before: but he placed Jews there, and furnished them with all things convenient for the reparation thereof.) Furthermore he sent unto him Athenobius, one of his friends, to commune with him, and say, Ye withhold Joppa and Gazera; with the tower that is in Jerusalem, which are cities of my realm. And whereas thou demandest Joppa and Gazera, albeit they did great harm unto the people in our country, yet will we give thee an hundred talents for them. Hereunto Athenobius answered him not a word; Now when Apollonius the son of Menestheus was sent into Egypt for the coronation of king Ptolemeus Philometor, Antiochus, understanding him not to be well affected to his affairs, provided for his own safety: whereupon he came to Joppa, and from thence to Jerusalem: The men of Joppa also did such an ungodly deed: they prayed the Jews that dwelt among them to go with their wives and children into the boats which they had prepared, as though they had meant them no hurt. And when the town was shut up, he went backward, as if he would return to root out all them of the city of Joppa.”
1 Esdras 5:55; 1 Maccabees 10:75–76; 11:6; 12:33; 13:11; 14:5, 34; 15:28, 35; 2 Maccabees 4:21; 12:3, 7 KJVA
More information about Jaffa
The modern Yafo is built on a rocky mound 116 ft. high, at the edge of the sea. A reef of rocks runs parallel to the shore a short distance out. It may be rounded in calm weather by lighter vessels, and it affords a certain amount of protection. There is a gap in the reef through which the boats pass that meet the steamers calling here. In time of storm the passage is dangerous. On one of these rocks Perseus is said to have rescued the chained Andromeda from the dragon. Yafa is a prosperous town, profiting much by the annual streams of pilgrims who pass through it on their way to visit the holy places in Palestine. A good trade is done with Egypt, Syria and Constantinople. Soap, sesame, wheat and oranges are the chief exports. The famous gardens and orange groves of Jaffa form one of the main sights of interest. The Christians and the Moslems have rival traditions as to the site of the house of Simon the tanner. The remains of the house of Tabitha are also pointed out. From Jaffa to Jerusalem the first railway in Palestine was built.
“Joppa,” ISBE, paragraph 32960.