Isaiah 2:15-18 Ships of Tarshish

Isaiah 2:15-18 Against every high tower, against every fortified wall, against all the ships of Tarshish and against all the beautiful craft. The pride of man will be humbled and the loftiness of men will be abased; and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, but the idols will completely vanish.

The common thread with all of the items noted in the verses above is they are all man made. The high tower speaks to man’s sense of architecture and construction. Fortified walls are symbols of military power and engineering. The ships indicate economic strength and power. The artisans and their beautiful crafts will be destroyed. Idols reflect man’s religious system. Every aspect of humanity and his system will be wiped out.

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.

2 Responses to “Isaiah 2:15-18 Ships of Tarshish”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: