Tarshish

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Tarshish

Post  A Bible Student on Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:51 am

The hardest place to pin down is Tarshish.  According to Genesis, it is a gentile isle nation.

Genesis 10:4-5
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and 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.

Solomon sent ships to Tarshish every three years, or perhaps the ships of Tarshish visited Solomon every three years.  Either way, from this we can gather that it is a long journey or they circumvented Europe and/or Africa to gather goods to trade.

2 Chronicles 9:21
For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

Tarshish is also noted as trading in various metals, so their location, or at least trade routes, would need to be where these are mined.

Ezekiel 27:12
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.

We can get the general direction of Tarshish by looking at the travels of Jonah.

Jonah 1:2-3
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.  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.

Looking at the Map of Kingdoms around Israel circa 830BC, we see that Joppa (Jaffa) is quite a ways SW of Nineveh (not shown but in the Assyrian Empire).  If he wanted to get even further away from Nineveh, he’d have boarded a ship going in that same general direction.  Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that Tarshish was west of Joppa.  Greece is generally accepted to be populated by the descendents of Javan (the father of Tarshish), which certainly meets the Gentile isle description and is in the right direction according to Jonah’s travels.  There is evidence that Tartesso Spain had trade relations with the Phoenicians and some say that it is also a candidate of being the ancient Tarshish.  It had a large merchant navy and traded in metals with the middle-east.  Even though it isn’t on an island, Tartesso Spain isn’t out of the running as a candidate for ancient Tarshish.

However, until some other archeological discoveries occur, the best I can determine is Tarshish refers to a gentile isle merchant nation to the west of Judea.

Additional information from the discussion below:
According to the ‘Zondervan Atlas of the Bible’, Tarshish is “a place, (town? Region?) along shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Isa 66:19) W of the Levant to which Jonah attempted to flee (1:3; 4:2) with which the Levantine countries traded (Jer 10:6; Ezek 27:12).” Though the geographical Dictionary and Index states it is “uncertain” on it it’s whereabouts; it says it is “possibly in Spanish, North Africa, or Sicily” (p. 300, Carl G. Rasmussen 2010).

Further reading: The Mystery of Sheba and Dedan


Last edited by A Bible Student on Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:52 am; edited 1 time in total

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Tarshish

Post  dianamoreno on Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:28 pm

According to the ‘Zondervan Atlas of the Bible’, Tarshish is “a place, (town? Region?) along shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Isa 66:19) W of the Levant to which Jonah attempted to flee (1:3; 4:2) with which the Levantine countries traded (Jer 10:6; Ezek 27:12).” Though the geographical Dictionary and Index states it is “uncertain” on it it’s whereabouts; it says it is “possibly in Spanish, North Africa, or Sicily” (p. 300, Carl G. Rasmussen 2010).

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Re: Tarshish

Post  A Bible Student on Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:50 am

I'll update the original post to include the reference. Thanks! Smile

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