1 Kings 22:48
Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber.
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(48) Ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir.—See Note on 1Kings 10:22. We note that this revival of maritime enterprise coincides with the renewed alliance through Israel with Tyre. The account in 2Chronicles 20:35-37 makes the brief narrative of these verses intelligible. The fleet was a combined fleet of Judah and Israel, built at Ezion-geber, which belonged to Judah; the alliance was denounced and judgment threatened by the prophet Eliezer. After the wreck of the fleet, manned, it would seem, by the subjects of Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah of Israel desires to renew the enterprise with the aid of Israelite and probably Tyrian sailors; but Jehoshaphat now refuses.

1 Kings 22:48. Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish — These ships were not to go to Tharshish, but Ophir. But, it appears, they were called ships of Tharshish from their form, being made after the model of the ships which traded to that place. And all such ships, wheresoever they were built, were called ships of Tharshish. The ships were broken at Ezion-geber —

Probably by a storm.

22:41-50 Jehoshaphat's reign appears to have been one of the best, both as to piety and prosperity. He pleased God, and God blessed him.The expression, "ships of Tharshish," probably designates ships of a particular class, ships (i. e.) like those with which the Phoenicians used to trade to Tharshish (Tartessus, 1 Kings 10:22 note). Compare the use of "India-man" for a vessel of a certain class. Jehoshaphat's fleet was constructed at Ezion-Gaber, on the Red Sea 2 Chronicles 20:36, where Solomon had previously built a navy 1 Kings 9:26. Being lord-paramount of Edom, Jehoshaphat had the right of using this harbor. 29-38. went up to Ramoth-gilead—The king of Israel, bent on this expedition, marched, accompanied by his ally, with all his forces to the siege; but on approaching the scene of action, his courage failed, and, hoping to evade the force of Micaiah's prophecy by a secret stratagem, he assumed the uniform of a subaltern, while he advised Jehoshaphat to fight in his royal attire. The Syrian king, with a view either to put the speediest end to the war, or perhaps to wipe out the stain of his own humiliation (1Ki 20:31), had given special instructions to his generals to single out Ahab, and to take or kill him, as the author of the war. The officers at first directed their assault on Jehoshaphat, but, becoming aware of their mistake, desisted. Ahab was wounded by a random arrow, which, being probably poisoned, and the state of the weather increasing the virulence of the poison, he died at sunset. The corpse was conveyed to Samaria; and, as the chariot which brought it was being washed, in a pool near the city, from the blood that had profusely oozed from the wound, the dogs, in conformity with Elijah's prophecy, came and licked it [1Ki 21:19]. Ahab was succeeded by his son Ahaziah [1Ki 22:40]. See 2 Chronicles 20:36. Or, there were to Jehoshaphat ten ships; the ellipsis of the verb substantive, and of the prefix lamed, being frequent in the Hebrew language. Some render the words, he made ten ships; so joining both texts together, and out of both completing the sense.

Of Tharshish; either,

1. Of the sea, as this word is thought sometimes to be used. Or rather,

2. To go to Tharshish, (as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 20:36) and thence to Ophir, as it here follows. See more on 1 Kings 10:22.

To Ophir; of which see 1 Kings 9:28.

Ezion-geber was in Edom, and consequently in Jehoshaphat’s territories.

Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish,.... Ships to go to sea, particularly the Indian sea, 1 Kings 10:22. Tarshish is used for the sea in general, Psalm 48:7, in the Cetib, or text, it is "ten"; in the Keri, or margin, it is "made", which we follow, and may be put together, as in the Tigurine version, and read, "he made ten ships to go by sea":

even to go to Ophir for gold; as Solomon did; of which place see 1 Kings 9:28,

but they went not, for the ships were broken at Eziongeber; the port where they were built: as soon as they were launched, or sailed, they were broken to pieces against the rocks near the harbour, which stood up like a man's backbone, whence the port had its name; See Gill on 1 Kings 9:26, and if this was Calzem, as there observed, near to it was a dangerous place for ships, and where many were lost, and is supposed to be the place where Pharaoh and his host were drowned (y); the reason of this shipwreck was, because Jehoshaphat joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, for which he was reproved by the prophet Eliezer, and this was his punishment, 2 Chronicles 20:35.

(y) Vid. Geograph. Nub. Climat. 3. par. 3. in fine.

Jehoshaphat made ships of {c} Tharshish to go to {d} Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber.

(c) By Tharshish the scripture means Cilicia and all the Mediterranean Sea.

(d) Josephus writes that Ophir is in India, where the Egyptians and Arabians traffic for gold.

48. ships of Tharshish] See above on 1 Kings 10:22.

Ophir] See 1 Kings 9:28. The Chronicler says the ships were to go to Tarshish (2 Chronicles 20:3-8).

the ships were broken] According to the Chronicler (2 Chronicles 20:35-37) these ships were built in conjunction with Ahaziah, king of Israel. And Eliezer the prophet rebuked Jehoshaphat for this alliance, and said, ‘because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works.’ Thus the breaking of the ships, however it came to pass, by storm or otherwise, was regarded as brought about by divine interposition.

Verse 48. - Jehoshaphat made [The Chethib has עשר ten, obviously a clerical error for עשה made] ships of Tharshish [see note on 1 Kings 10:22] to go to Ophir [In 2 Chronicles 20:36, Tharshish is read for Ophir. Wordsworth holds that two separate fleets are intended, but this is most improbable] for gold [Evidently the great prosperity of his reign had suggested to him the idea of emulating Solomon's naval exploits, and of reviving the commerce of his people with the East]: but they went not [Heb. it went not]: for the ships were broken [Probably they were dashed by a storm against the rocks which "lie in jagged ranges on each side," Stanley] at Ezion-Geber. 1 Kings 22:48The brief notice concerning Jehoshaphat's attempt to build Tarshish ships (for the word, see pp. 105f) for the voyage to Ophir is expanded in 2 Chronicles 20:36-37, where we learn that Jehoshaphat had allied himself with Ahaziah of Israel for this purpose, and that the prophet Eliezer predicted the destruction of his ships on account of this alliance. When the ships had been broken in pieces in Eziongeber, no doubt by a storm, Ahaziah made this fresh proposal to him: "Let my people sail with thy people;" but Jehoshaphat would not. Ahaziah evidently wanted to persuade Jehoshaphat to make another attempt, after the destruction of the ships which were first built; but Jehoshaphat did not agree to it any more, because it was impossible for him, after the fulfilment of Eliezer's prediction, to expect a more favourable result. Thus the two accounts can be harmonized in a very simple manner, with the exception of the words "to go to Tarshish," which we find in the Chronicles in the place of "to go to Ophir," the reading in our text, and which sprang from an erroneous interpretation of the expression "ships of Tarshish" (see above, pp. 105f). The Chethb עשׂר is an error of the pen for עשׂה (Keri); but נשׁבּרה (Chethb) is not to be altered into נשׁבּרוּ, since the construction of a singular verb with the subject following in the plural is by no means rare (vid., Ewald, 317, a.). On Eziongeber and Ophir, see at 1 Kings 9:26 and 1 Kings 9:28.
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