Ezekiel 38: Who is Tarshish?

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Ezekiel 38:13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

Tarshish is a term and concept that is somewhat of a riddle. No one really knows for sure where Tarshish is. But there are some educated observations. Tarshish is a Phoenician word from the Akkad meaning smelting plant or refinery. The term is used in connection with ships, merchants, and trade (I Kings 10:22, I Kings 22:48). Phoenician boats used to sail the sea regularly transporting smelted ores from the mining towns in Sardinia and Spain. A Phoenician inscription from Nora in Sardinia from the ninth century BC refers to a tarshish, or smelting site, on this island. Smeltery fleets or tarshish ships hauled material from this and other mining stations in the western Mediterranean. Ships of tarshish were built by Jehoshaphat in imitation of Solomon. -New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

Ships of Tarshish: A term applied to large seaworthy merchant vessels able to make the voyage to distant Tarshish (probably Sardinia, and secondarily also Spain) -Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Tarshish or Tharshish = “yellow jasper”

A city of the Phoenicians in a distant part of the Mediterranean Sea to which the prophet Jonah was trying to flee. Jonah was directed by God to go east to Ninnevah. Jonah was headed in the opposite direction, west to Tarshish. Site unknown but perhaps in Cyprus or Spain.  A city somewhere near and accessible to the Red Sea to which ships constructed at Ezion-geber on the Elanitic Gulf on the Red Sea were to sail. -Strong’s Concordance

Some maps show Tarshish to be west of the Straits of Gibralter on the southern shore of Spain.

Isaiah 23:1 The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.

Tyre is and was a modern day port city in Lebanon. Tarshish is in the context of a prophecy consistent with what is Lebanon. Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea west of Lebanon approximately 150 miles.

At any rate, Tarshish and others do not initiate with Magog and relatives. They do not rise up and protect Israel. These countries just question intent. Tarshish is a bystander and not much help to Israel.

 

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Avatar Kurt says:

    I believe Tarshish to be associated with the British Isles and her offspring nations. Spain does not offer a compelling influence these days but England and her offspring, particularly the United States, hold significant world influence.

  2. Avatar Bill says:

    Great Article. Thank you

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