Bible Cities: Tarshish
Tarshish in Easton's Bible Dictionary
a Sanscrit or Aryan word, meaning "the sea coast." (1.) One
the "sons" of Javan (Gen. 10:4; 1 Chr. 1:7).
(2.) The name of a place which first comes into
notice in the
days of Solomon. The question as to the locality of
given rise to not a little discussion. Some think
there was a
Tarshish in the East, on the Indian coast, seeing
that "ships of
Tarshish" sailed from Eziongeber, on the Red Sea (1
22:48; 2 Chr. 9:21). Some, again, argue that
Carthage was the
place so named. There can be little doubt, however,
that this is
the name of a Phoenician port in Spain, between the
of the Guadalquivir (the name given to the river by
and meaning "the great wady" or water-course). It
was founded by
a Carthaginian colony, and was the farthest western
Tyrian sailors. It was to this port Jonah's ship was
sail from Joppa. It has well been styled "the Peru
adventure;" it abounded in gold and silver mines.
It appears that this name also is used without
any locality. "Ships of Tarshish" is an expression
denoting simply ships intended for a long voyage
14), ships of a large size (sea-going ships),
whatever might be
the port to which they sailed. Solomon's ships were
so styled (1
Kings 10:22; 22:49).
Tarshish in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Tartessus (as Asshur became Athur, Bashan, Batanoea), a
Phoenician city S. of Spain; the portion of Spain known to
the Hebrew (Psalm 72:10). "The kings of Tarshish ... kings
of Sheba," i.e. the wealthy Tarshish in the far W. and Sheba
in the S.E. Tarshish was a dependency of Phoenician Tyre.
Isaiah 23:6; Isaiah 23:10 ("pass through thy land as a
river, O daughter of Tarshish," i.e. Tartessus and its
inhabitants would now that Tyre's strength was disabled pour
forth as waters, no longer kept working mines for the parent
city), 14,18; Ezekiel 26:15; Ezekiel 26:18; Ezekiel 27:12.
"Tarshish was thy (Tyre's) merchant ... with silver, iron,
tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs."
Tarshish was famed for various metals exported to
Tyre; most of them were drawn from Spain and Portugal, tin
possibly from Cornwall or from Lusitania or Portugal. "Ships
of Tarshish" are mentioned often: Psalm 48:7, "Thou brakest
the ships of Tarshish with an east wind," alluding with
undesigned coincidence to the event recorded 2 Chronicles
20:36-37; "Jehoshaphat joined himself with Ahaziah king of
Israel to make ships to go to Tarshish ... in Ezion Gaber
... because ... the Lord hath broken thy works," i.e.
wrecked thy ships. The ships of Tarshish built at Ezion
Geber on the Elanitic gulf of the Red Sea (1 Kings 22:48)
were intended by Jehoshaphat to trade with Africa and India;
but a copyist in 2 Chronicles 20:36 makes them go to
It is possible they were carried across the land to
the Mediterranean, but more likely that "ships of Tarshish"
mean large vessels, as our phrase "East Indiamen" does not
imply the destination but the size; the copyist mistook the
phrase for the destination. So in 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings
10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:21; the "peacocks" point to India, for
southern Asia and the isles of the eastern archipelago are
their native home. The names too are of Sanskrit etymology,
tukki, related to Tamil Iota, "the tailed bird," i.e.
peacock. So "apes," kaph, related to Sanskrit kapi. The
Greeks received the peacock from Persia, as the Greek taos
is the Persian tans. Strabo makes the Boetis or Guadalquivir
(great stream) be called Tartessus. An island, a town, and a
region bore the name. (On Genesis 10:4, which Rawlinson
refers to Tarsus, at the close.) (See TARSUS.)
Tarshish in Hitchcock's Bible Names
Tarshish in Naves Topical Bible
1. Son of Javan
Ge 10:4; 1Ch 1:7
-2. Also called THARSHISH
Ge 10:4,5; Ps 72:10; Isa 66:19
Solomon makes valuable imports from
1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21
Commerce and wealth of
1Ki 10:22; 22:48; 2Ch 9:21; 20:36; Ps 48:7; Isa
23:1-14; 60:9; Jer 10:9; Eze 27:12,25; 38:13
Jonah would flee to
Jon 1:3; 4:2
Ps 72:10; Isa 2:16; 23:1-14; 60:9; 66:19
-3. Son of Bilhan
-4. A Persian prince
Tarshish in Smiths Bible Dictionary
1. Probably Tartessus, a city and emporium of the
Phoenicians in the south of Spain, represented as one of the
sons of Javan. Ge 10:4; 1Ki 10:22; 1Ch 1:7; Ps 48:7; Isa
2:16; Jer 10:9; Eze 27:12,25; Jon 1:3; 4:2 The identity of
the two places is rendered highly probable by the following
circumstances: 1st. There is a very close similarity of name
between them, Tartessus being merely Tarshish in the Aramaic
form. 2nd. There seems to have been a special relation
between Tarshish and Tyre, as there was at one time between
Tartessus and Phoenicians. 3rd. The articles which Tarshish
is stated by the prophet Ezekiel, Eze 27:12 to have supplied
to Tyre are precisely such as we know, through classical
writers, to have been productions of the Spanish peninsula.
In regard to tin, the trade of Tarshish in this metal is
peculiarly significant, and, taken in conjunction with
similarity of name and other circumstances already
mentioned, is reasonably conclusive as to its identity with
Tartessus. For even not when countries in Europe or on the
shores of the Mediterranean Sea where tin is found are very
few; and in reference to ancient times, it would be
difficult to name any such countries except Iberia or Spain,
Lusitania, which was somewhat less in extent than Portugal,
and Cornwall in Great Britain. In the absence of positive
proof, we may acquiesce in the statement of Strabo, that the
river Baetis (now the Guadalquivir) was formerly called
Tartessus, that the city Tartessus was situated between the
two arms by which the river flowed into the sea, and that
the adjoining country was called Tartessis.
2. From the book of Chronicles there would seem to
have been a Tarshish accessible from the Red Sea, in
addition to the Tarshish of the south of Spain. Thus, with
regard to the ships of Tarshish, which Jehoshaphat caused to
be constructed at Ezion-geber on the Elanitic Gulf of the
Red Sea, 1Ki 22:48 it is said in the Chronicles, 2Ch 20:36
that they were made to go to Tarshish; and in like manner
the navy of ships, which Solomon had previously made in
Ezion-geber, 1Ki 9:26 is said in the Chronicles, 2Ch 9:21 to
have gone to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. It is not
to be supposed that the author of these passages in the
Chronicles contemplated a voyage to Tarshish in the south of
Spain by going round what has since been called the Cape of
Good Hope. The expression "ships of Tarshish" originally
meant ships destined to go to Tarshish; and then probably
came to signify large Phoenician ships, of a particular size
the description, destined for long voyages, just as in
English "East Indiaman" was a general name given to vessels,
some of which were not intended to go to India at all. Hence
we may infer that the word Tarshish was also used to signify
any distant place, and in this case would be applied to one
in the Indian Ocean. This is shown by the nature of the
imports with which the fleet returned, which are specified
as "gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks." 1Ki 10:22 The
gold might possibly have been obtained form Africa, or from
Ophir in Arabia, and the ivory and the apes might likewise
have been imported from Africa; but the peacocks point
conclusively, not to Africa, but to India. There are only
two species known: both inhabit the mainland and islands of
India; so that the mention of the peacock seems to exclude
the possibility of the voyage having been to Africa.
Tarshish in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
(1) Eponym of a Benjamite family (1 Ch 7:10); Rhamessai, A and
(2) One of the "seven princes" at the court of Ahasuerus (Est
1:14 Massoretic Text).
(3) The Hebrew name of a precious stone (Ezek 10:9 margin,
English Versions of the Bible "beryl"; Ex 28:20; 39:13; Ezek
1:16; 28:13; Song 5:14; Dan 10:6).
See STONES, PRECIOUS.
Tarshish Scripture - 2 Chronicles 20:36
And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to
Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber.
Tarshish Scripture - 2 Chronicles 20:37
Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against
Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with
Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were
broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
Tarshish Scripture - Esther 1:14
And the next unto him [was] Carshena, Shethar, Admatha,
Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, [and] Memucan, the seven princes of
Persia and Media, which saw the king's face, [and] which sat
the first in the kingdom;)
Tarshish Scripture - Ezekiel 38:13
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?
Tarshish Scripture - Isaiah 23:1
The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is
laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from
the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.
Tarshish Scripture - Isaiah 60:9
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish
first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold
with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy
One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
Tarshish Scripture - Isaiah 66:19
And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that
escape of them unto the nations, [to] Tarshish, Pul, and Lud,
that draw the bow, [to] Tubal, and Javan, [to] the isles afar
off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory;
and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
Tarshish Scripture - Jeremiah 10:9
Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold
from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the
founder: blue and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all
the work of cunning [men].
Tarshish Scripture - Jonah 4:2
And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD,
[was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country?
Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou
[art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of
great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Tarshish Scripture - Psalms 72:10
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents:
the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
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