2 Chronicles 20:36
And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) And he joined himself with him.—Literally, and he joined him with himself, an expression only occurring here.

To make ships to go to Tarshish.—In 1Kings 22:48-49, we read: “Jehoshaphat made ships (i.e., a fleet) of Tarshish, to go to Ophir for gold; and it went not; for the ships were broken (i.e., wrecked) in Ezion-geber. Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships; and Jehoshaphat consented not.” There is no mention of a previous alliance and partnership in the ship-building with Ahaziah. Moreover, the expression of our text, “ships to go to Tarshish,” appears to be an erroneous paraphrase of “ships of Tarshish,” or “Tarshish-men,” as we might say; a phrase which really means, vessels built for long sea-voyages. According to Kings, the ships were built “to go to Ophir for gold;” in other words, to renew Solomon’s traffic with India from the port on the Red Sea.

And they made the ships in Ezion-gaber.—The Edomite port at the head of the Gulf of Akaba. If Tarshish means the Phoenician Tartessus in Spain, the fleet could only go thither by doubling the Cape, or crossing the Isthmus of Suez. Therefore some have supposed another Tarshish somewhere in the Persian Gulf or on the north-west coast of India. (See on 2Chronicles 9:21.)

20:31-37 Jehoshaphat kept close to the worship of God, and did what he could to keep his people close to it. But after God had done such great things for him, given him not only victory, but wealth; after this, to go and join himself with a wicked king, was very ungrateful. What could he expect but that God would be angry with him? Yet it seems, he took the warning; for when Ahaziah afterward pressed him to join him, he would not, 1Ki 22:49. Thus the alliance was broken, and the Divine rebuke had its effect, at least for a season. Let us be thankful for any losses which may have prevented the loss of our immortal souls. Let us praise the Lord, who sought after us, and left us not to perish in our sins.After this - Jehoshaphat's history had been formally completed 2 Chronicles 20:34. Consequently we can lay no stress on the note of time contained in the words "after this," which are detached from the context to which they originally referred. On the history 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, see marginal references and notes. 35-37. after this did Jehoshaphat … join himself with Ahaziah … to make ships—A combined fleet was built at Ezion-geber, the destination of which was to voyage to Tartessus, but it was wrecked. Jehoshaphat's motive for entering into this partnership was to secure a free passage through Israel, for the vessels were to be conveyed across the Isthmus of Suez, and to sail to the west of Europe from one of the ports of Palestine on the Mediterranean. Eliezer, a prophet, denounced this unholy alliance, and foretold, as divine judgment, the total wreck of the whole fleet. The consequence was, that although Jehoshaphat broke off—in obedience to the divine will—his league with Ahaziah, he formed a new scheme of a merchant fleet, and Ahaziah wished to be admitted a partner [1Ki 22:48]. The proposal of the Israelitish king was respectfully declined [1Ki 22:49]. The destination of this new fleet was to Ophir, because the Israelitish seaports were not accessible to him for the Tartessus trade; but the ships, when just off the docks, were wrecked in the rocky creek of Ezion-geber. To make ships to go to Tarshish; of which See Poole "1 Kings 10:22 22:48".

They made the ships in Ezion-gaber; of which see on 1 Kings 9:26. And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish,.... Of which; see Gill on 1 Kings 22:48, and though it is there said, 1 Kings 22:49, that Jehoshaphat refused letting the servants of Ahaziah go with his, that was after he had been reproved for joining with him, and after the ships were broken:

and they made the ships in Eziongeber; of which see Gill on 1 Kings 9:26.

And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
36. ships to go to Tarshish] In Kings, ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir: cp. 2 Chronicles 9:21 (= 1 Kings 10:22), note. In both passages the reading of Kings, “ships (or ‘navy’) of Tarshish,” i.e. large sea-going ships (cp. Psalm 48:7) is to be preferred, because (1) Ezion-geber was a port for vessels sailing eastward, while Tarshish was in the west, (2) gold, the object of the voyage (cp. 1 Kings 22:48), came from Ophir (2 Chronicles 8:18; 1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:11; Psalm 45:9).

Tarshish] Cp. 1 Chronicles 1:7 (note).

Ezion-geber] Cp. 2 Chronicles 8:17 (note).Verse 36. - This verse tells us the object with which Jehoshaphat had joined himself with Ahaziah, and 1 Kings 22:49 tells us how at last, by a point-blank refusal to Ahaziah, he withdrew from the very brief commercial alliance after he had not merely been witnessed against by the Prophet Eliezer spoken of in our next verse, but more decisively witnessed against by the shattering of his ships. To go to Tarshish. This clause, even if the text is not corrupt, yet cannot mean what it seems to say; but in the word "to go" (Hebrew, לָלֶכֶת) must mean, of the sort that were wont to go to Tarshish, i.e. that were used for the Tarshish trade. We are guided to some such explanation by 1 Kings 22:48, where it is said the ships were "ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir" (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:18). That the ships could not be to go to Tarshish is plain from the fact of the place, Ezion-geber (2 Chronicles 8:17, 18; 1 Kings 9:26), on the Red Sea, where they were built. Some, however, have suggested that some other Tarshish (e.g. in the Gulf of Persia)than that of Spain (Tartessus) may conceivably be meant. The clear statement of the parallel saves the necessity of any such supposition, however. The fame of this victory of the Lord over the enemies of Israel caused the terror of God to be spread abroad over all the kingdoms of the surrounding lands, in consequence of which the kingdom of Judah had rest (cf. 2 Chronicles 17:10). On the last clause of 2 Chronicles 20:30, cf. 2 Chronicles 15:15. This wonderful acts of the Lord is made the subject of praise to God in the Korahite Psalms, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 47:1, and Psalm 48:1, and perhaps also in Psalm 83, composed by an Asaphite, perhaps Jahaziel (see Del. Introduction to these Psalms).
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