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English Bible Dictionary

City of Tarshish, Spain

 

(established).

Probably Tartessus, a city and emporium of the Phoenicians in the south of Spain, represented as one of the sons of Javan. (Genesis 10:4; 1 Kings 10:22; 1 Chronicles 1:7; Psalms 48:7; Isaiah 2:16; Jeremiah 10:9; Ezekiel 27:12,25; Jonah 1:3; 4:2) The identity of the two places is rendered highly probable by the following circumstances: 1st. There is a very close similarity of name between them, Tartessus being merely Tarshish in the Aramaic form. 2nd. There seems to have been a special relation between Tarshish and Tyre, as there was at one time between Tartessus and Phoenicians. 3rd. The articles which Tarshish is stated by the prophet Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 27:12) to have supplied to Tyre are precisely such as we know, through classical writers, to have been productions of the Spanish peninsula. In regard to tin, the trade of Tarshish in this metal is peculiarly significant, and, taken in conjunction with similarity of name and other circumstances already mentioned, is reasonably conclusive as to its identity with Tartessus. For even not when countries in Europe or on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea where tin is found are very few; and in reference to ancient times, it would be difficult to name any such countries except Iberia or Spain, Lusitania, which was somewhat less in extent than Portugal, and Cornwall in Great Britain, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. In the absence of positive proof, we may acquiesce in the statement of Strabo, that the river Baetis (now the Guadalquivir) was formerly called Tartessus, that the city Tartessus was situated between the two arms by which the river flowed into the sea, and that the adjoining country was called Tartessis.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Tarshish.

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