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.
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(21) For the king’s ships went to Tarshish.1Kings 10:22, For the king had a Tarshish fleet on the sea, with the fleet of Hiram.” It is generally assumed that the words of the chronicler are an erroneous paraphrase of the expression, “Tarshish fleet,” i.e., a fleet of ships fitted for long voyages. (Comp. Isaiah 2:16.) The identity of the present fleet with that mentioned above in 2Chronicles 9:10 is not evident. Solomon may have had a fleet in the Mediterranean (“the sea” of 1Kings 10:22) trading westward, as well as in the Red Sea, trading south and east. Some have identified Tarshish with Cape Tarsis in the Persian Gulf. (See Note on 2Chronicles 20:36.)

9:13-31 The imports here mentioned, would show that prosperity drew the minds of Solomon and his subjects to the love of things curious and uncommon, though useless in themselves. True wisdom and happiness are always united together; but no such alliance exists between wealth and the enjoyment of the things of this life. Let us then acquaint ourselves with the Saviour, that we may find rest for our souls. Here is Solomon reigning in wealth and power, in ease and fulness, the like of which could never since be found; for the most known of the great princes of the earth were famed for their wars; whereas Solomon reigned forty years in profound peace. The promise was fulfilled, that God would give him riches and honour, such as no kings have had or shall have. The lustre wherein he appeared, was typical of the spiritual glory of the kingdom of the Messiah, and but a faint representation of His throne, which is above every throne. Here is Solomon dying, and leaving all his wealth and power to one who he knew would be a fool! Ec 2:18,19. This was not only vanity, but vexation of spirit. Neither power, wealth, nor wisdom, can ward off or prepare for the stroke of death. But thanks be to God who giveth the victory to the true believer, even over this dreaded enemy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.The footstool (not mentioned in Kings) was an essential appendage to an Oriental throne; it appears everywhere in the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Persian sculptures. 21. the king's ships went to Tarshish—rather, "the king's ships of Tarshish went" with the servants of Huram.

ships of Tarshish—that is, in burden and construction like the large vessels built for or used at Tarshish [Calmet, Fragments].

No text from Poole on this verse.

See Chapter Introduction For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of {l} Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

(l) Which is thought by the best writers to be Cilicia, 1Ki 10:22.

21. For the king’s ships went to Tarshish] R.V. For the king had ships that went to Tarshish. Here the Chronicler misunderstands the parallel passage (1 Kings 10:22, “For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish”). “Navy (or ‘ships’) of Tarshish” is a phrase meaning large ships fit for long voyages; cp. Psalm 48:7. The merchandise mentioned in this verse doubtless came from the East and not from Tarshish (= Tartessus in Spain).

every three years once] R.V. once every three years.

apes] These animals were much sought after; they appear e.g. pictured in relief on the Black Obelisk (in the British Museum) among the tribute received by Shalmaneser II. of Assyria.

Verse 21. - To Tarshish. The parallel has, in both clauses of its verse (1 Kings 10:22), "ships of Tarshish." The order of the words in the former clause of our present verse, that compels us to read, "going to Tarshish," certifies the correct meaning. The word "Tarshish" (the subsequent Tartessus) covered a district in South Spain, as well as named a town and river, and stretched opposite the coast of Africa. Both coasts were beneath Phoenician rule, and a voyage to Tarshish would most naturally mean calling at many a port, and many an African port, from one and another of which all the imports here spoken of would be obtainable. The meaning of the Hebrew root of Tarshish is "to subjugate." The town lay between the two mouths of the river Baetis, now Guadal-quiver. Gesenius thinks that the writer of Chronicles says, in ignorance, "to Tarshish." and that the ships went to Ophir! These passages do not say that the voyage, whatever it was, took three years; much less that that length of time was necessary. Whether voyages were in Solomon's time made from the Red Sea, circumnavigating Africa, into the Mediterranean, is not certain. If they were such voyages, taken at a sauntering pace, with calls at many ports and easygoing delays, they may easily have consumed as long a space of time as three years! The theory that Tarshish was Tarsus in Cilicia is easily and conclusively negatived. The names in Hebrew of "ivory, apes, and peacocks" have been said to be of Indian origin. This is far from proved, and, as regards the first two, may be said to be sufficiently disproved. But if it all were so, still the fact that the Hebrew names were of an Indian language derivation would go very short way to prove that the Hebrew people got the things represented by them direct, or at all, from India. Ivory; Hebrew, שֶׁנְחַבִּים. The Authorized Version rendering "ivory" occurs ten times in the Old Testament, having for its original the Hebrew שֵׁן (1 Kings 10:18; 1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chronicles 9:17; Psalm 45:8; Song of Solomon 5:14; Song of Solomon 7:4; Ezekiel 27:6, 15; Amos 3:15; Amos 6:4). In all these cases, two of them being in closest juxtaposition with the present and its parallel occasion, the word speaks of ivory that is being used, i.e. as though it were manufactured material or ready for manufacture. But in our passage and its parallel, where the different word given above is found, it is manifest that it speaks of the material, so to say, in the rough, as just "tooth or tusk of ?;" but, further, what the חַבִּים is is not yet ascertained. It is not a word known in the Hebrew vocabulary. Gesenius finds the Sanscrit ibhas, which signifies an "elephant;" Canon Rawlinsen finds in some Assyrian inscriptions a word habba, used of both elephant and camel, but probably having for its generic signification "a great animal;" Keil (on the parallel) finds a Coptic word, eboy, the Latin elephas, to which he prefixes the Hebrew article ה. The Targum Jonathan shows at once שְֵׁןאּדּפִיל. Gesenius, in his 'Thesaurus,' calls also timely attention to Ezekiel 27:15, where we read, "They brought thee a present, horns of ivory and ebony" (Hebrew, Chethiv, וְהָובְנִים; Keri, קַרְנות שֵׁן וְהָבְנִים). But no use of "ebony" happens to be mentioned in the connection of our present passages or subject. Thus it will be seen that no little ingenuity has been employed to hunt down this little word, though as yet not quite successfully. More may be seen in Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' 1:906. Apes; Hebrew, קופִים. Conder ('Handbook to the Bible,' 2nd edit., p. 390) says, "This word is identical with the name of the monkey in Tamil." Keil connects it with the Sanscrit kapi, but does not believe, with Gesenius, that the animal came from India, but Ethiopia. In a valuable note in the' Speaker's Commentary' we read, "It is found" (not stated where) "that the word was an Egyptian word, signifying a kind of monkey, in use in the time of Thothmes II., i.e. about the time of the Israelites' exodus." (For Herodotus's testimony respecting ivory and apes in North Africa, see his 'Hist.,' 4:91.) Peacocks; Hebrew, תֻּכִּיִּים. Conder ('Handbook to the Bible,' p. 393') says a Tamil word, tokei, means "peacock." Keil proposes to consider it one of the later Romans' luxurious delicacies, aves Numidicae, from Tuoca, a town in Mauretania or Numi-alia. Some translate it "guinea-fowl," and some "parrots." The peacock did not belong to Africa, yet still it may have been purchaseable at some port there. 2 Chronicles 9:21Solomon's revenue in gold, and the use he made of it. Cf. 1 Kings 10:14-22, and the commentary there on this section, which is identical in both narratives, with the exception of some trifling differences. Before מביאים והסּחרים the relative pronoun is to be supplied: "and what the merchants brought." As to the derivation of the word פּחות, which comes from the Aramaic form פּחה, governor (2 Chronicles 9:14), see on Haggai 1:1. - תּרשׁישׁ הלכות אניּות, in 2 Chronicles 9:21, ships going to Tarshish, is an erroneous paraphrase of תּרשׁישׁ אניּות, Tarshish-ships, i.e., ships built for long sea voyages; for the fleet did not go to Tartessus in Spain, but to Ophir in Southern Arabia (see on 1 Kings 9:26.). All the rest has been explained in the commentary on 1 Kings 10.
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