TARSHISH

Ezekiel 27 begins with:

27 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;

Clearly then, Ezekiel 27 is a lament on Tyrus (Tyre). So who or what is Tyre?

Founded around 2750 BC (Herodotus), Tyre was built as a walled city on the mainland. The name appears on monuments as early as 1300 BC. Philo of Byblos (Eusebius) quotes the antiquarian authority Sanchuniathon as stating that it was first occupied by Hypsuranius. —— [Wikipedia (redacted)]

Eighteenth and 19th dynasty Egyptian inscriptions suggest that Tyre (“Ṣa-ru,” “Ṣa-ra”) predominated [over Zidon/Sidon], reinforced by Carthage’s claim to have been founded from Tyre (probably much before the 826 or 814 BC date assumed by the Greeks). (Isa. 23:1, 6, 10 do not necessarily imply Tyrian colonization of Tarshish, but only flourishing intercourse with that remote country). Tyre is first heard of under King Hiram, who furnished his friends David (II Samuel) and Solomon (I Kings) for their buildings — wood from Mount Lebanon and skilled working men (Sidonians), for which aid he received not only payment in grain (I Kings 5: 11), but also land concessions in Galilee. Solomon’s chief architect, Hiram, was a Tyrian (I Kings; II Chron.). Tyrian ships in Solomon’s service sailed even from the ports on the Red Sea (II Chron 27-28).  Tyre became immensely rich (Zech. 9:3) by her commerce (Isa. 23:2-3; cf. the elaborate description of Ezek. 27); and the curses of the Prophets refer especially to its flourishing slave-trade (Amos 1:9; Joel 3:4). Tyrian merchants—if the term “Tyrians” did not include all Phenicians at that period—furnished the timber for Ezra’s Temple also (Ezra 3:7), and “brought fish and all manner of ware” to Jerusalem (Neh. 13:16). Ps. 45:2, 133:7, and 137:4 treat the city as representative of all Phenicia; elsewhere, however, the Tyrians and the Zidonians are identified in a way which seems to indicate that “Zidonians” was the earlier name for the Phenicians (cf. I Kings 5:6; Judges 18:7; Isa. 23:2; and the Homeric use). “Ethbaal king of the Zidonians,” the father of Jezebel (I Kings 16:31), is identical with Ithobalos of Tyre (Josephus, “Ant.” VIII. 13, § 2), who, however, may have possessed both cities. This earlier usage dates from a time when Zidon was preponderating among the Phenician cities (cf. the reference in Gen. 10:15 to Sidon, the first-born of Canaan; Tyre is not even mentioned in verse 18 of the same chapter). ——[Jewish Encyclopedia (redacted)]

Map of the Siege of Tyre [Text and Image: Ancient Encyclopedia; Original image: The Department of History, United States Military Academy, 17 October 2011 – Public Domain]

Well that’s Tyre. But how does that help explain Tarshish?

Further on in Ezekiel 27:12 (KJV), still lamenting on Tyre, we read:

Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches ; with silver, iron, tin, and lead they traded for thy wares.

The Ships of Tarshish seems to refer to one of many merchants (regions) that trades with Tyre, a region that was obviously rich in silver, iron, tin, and lead.

Phoenician Trade Network [Image: Ancient History Encyclopedia – Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0]

25 The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.

Some here argue then that merchants of Tarshish includes a throng of Mediterranean sea-traders and by extension can be considered to refer to, more-or-less, Europe.

Later, in chapter 38, Ezekiel is asked by Elohim to prophesy against Gog and Magog:

38 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Further along, in verse 13, Ezekiel continues this prophesy against Gog and Magog but this time taking the point of view of other nations witnessing the events unfold. Those other nations include the merchants of Tarshish:

13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?

But in I Kings (10:22) we read

For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram. Once in three years came the navy of Tarshish bringing gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

This makes one think of Africa (east or west) or perhaps even India rather than western Europe (although it could also be used in a more general sense to refer to the west that was otherwise beyond their understanding and description).

Noah begat Japheth, father of many nations, who begat Javan who begat Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. ——Genesis 10 (KJV)

Cultural region of Tartessos. [Image by Té y kriptonita (based on Image:Iberian Peninsula base map.svg created by Redtony) is in the Public Domain; Wikimedia Commons]

European Geopolitic

Europe is Christendom and Christendom is Europe, yet they are a heterogeneous entity. There is northern Protestant Europe, southern Catholic Europe, and south-eastern Orthodox Europe.


annotations
  • “Tarshish is the father of the peoples of Tarshish (Tartesis), who are thought by most to have settled in SPAIN. The Mediterranean Sea was once known as the Sea of Tarshish, and it is known that the Phoenicians built a class of vessel called a ship of Tarshish (one of which Jonah tried to flee Joppa in the 8th century BC.). Phoenician inscriptions found on Sardinia, and dating to the 9th century BC, mention Tarshish without, unfortunately, providing us with a positive identification of its geographical location. Josephus records the name as Tharsus, and tells that it used to be the name under which Cilicia∗ was known, the chief and noblest city of which was Tarsus. (This identification is now considered unlikely, and the matter remains unresolved.)” – Bill Cooper
    • *In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor [southeast Turkey] and existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia during the late Byzantine Empire. – Wikipedia
  • The word Tarshish has 26 occurrences in 23 sections in the Holy Bible [KJV, WordSearch Bible, 20.11.16]. Other meanings of the word Tarshish:
    • a Sanskrit or Aryan word, meaning “the sea coast” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary) – Topical Bible Hub
    • contemplation; examination (Hitchcock’s Bible names Dictionary) – Topical Bible Hub
    • eponym of a Benjamite family, see 1 Chronicles 7:10 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) – Topical Bible Hub
    • one of the “seven princes” at the court of Ahasuerus, see Esther 1:14 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)  – Topical Bible Hub
    • Hebrew name of a precious stone [“beryl”], see Ezekiel 10:9; Exodus 28:20; Exodus 39:13 Ezekiel 1:16; Ezekiel 28:13 Songs 5:14 Daniel 10:6 (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)  – Topical Bible Hub
The History of Spain

Spain comes in at 38 in the Global Firepower index of military rankings.

Further Reading
References
  • The Nations of Japheth, by Bill Cooper – Lambert Dolphin
  • Tyre, Joshua J. Mark  – Ancient History Encyclopedia, September 2, 2009
Featured Image

Flag of Europe [Wikimedia Commons]

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