Jonah’s justifying prayer to Yahweh (Jon 4:2-4:2)

“Jonah prayed

To Yahweh.

He said.

‘O Yahweh!

Is this not what I said

While I was still

In my country?

That is why I fled

To Tarshish

At the beginning.

I knew that

You are a gracious God.

You are merciful.

You are slow to anger.

You are abounding

In steadfast love.

You are ready

To relent from punishing.’”

Jonah in his prayer to Yahweh tried to justify his former actions.  He claimed that Yahweh was so gracious and merciful that he would not have inflicted any damage on Nineveh.  Jonah gave that as his reason for originally trying to flee to Tarshish.  He knew that Yahweh was slow to anger and abounding with steadfast love.  Thus, he knew that Yahweh was eager and ready to not punish the people of Nineveh.

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The spoils of plunder (Ezek 38:13-38:13)

“Sheba,

Dedan,

The merchants of Tarshish,

With all its young warriors,

Will say to you.

‘Have you come

To seize spoil?

Have you assembled

Your troops

To carry off plunder?

Do you want

To carry away

Silver,

Gold,

Cattle,

With other goods?

Do you want

To seize

Great spoil?’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, now suddenly has the trading partners of Tyre from Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish, as found in chapter 27, show up in here. They realized that there would be a lot of things to plunder in Israel and Jerusalem. Tarshish had both merchants and warriors to gather up things. They wanted to know if Gog was there to plunder Israel? Would he take away its silver, gold, cattle, and other precious items? Would there be a great amount of stuff to take?

The ships of Tarshish (Ezek 27:25-27:25)

“The ships of Tarshish

Traveled for you

In your trade.

So you were filled.

You were heavily laden

In the heart

Of the seas.”

There is the problem of trying to situate Tarshish, which is often mentioned in the biblical literature. It could be Carthage in North Africa, Tarsus in Turkey, or Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. This town had a lot of precious metals and important ships, as well as ship building. Thus the trade merchandise of Tyre was on these ships of Tarshish. They were filled with lots of items, as they moved on the high seas.

Tarshish (Ezek 27:12-27:12)

“Tarshish did business

With you

Out of the abundance

Of your great wealth.

They traded

In silver,

In iron,

In tin,

In lead.

They exchanged these things

For your wares.”

Ezekiel began to list all the trading partners of Tyre, as if it were a great cosmopolitan commercial center. Tarshish was another great coastal town, probably in Sardinia or southern Spain. Tyre exchanged things with Tarshish because of the great wealth of both places. They traded silver, iron, tin, and lead for other goods.

These foolish man made idols (Jer 10:8-10:9)

“They are stupid.

They are foolish.

The instruction given by idols

Is no better than wood.

Beaten silver is brought

From Tarshish.

Gold is brought

From Uphaz.

They are the work

Of the artisans.

They are the work

Of the hands of the goldsmiths.

Their clothing is blue.

Their clothing is purple.

They are all the product

Of skilled men.”

Jeremiah remarks that the false idol gods are stupid and foolish. Any instruction from them is like instruction from a piece of wood. Their silver is from Tarshish, the big ship building place somewhere on the Mediterranean Sea. Usually the gold is from Ophir, but here it is from an unknown place only mentioned here called Uphaz, that may be another name for Ophir. They even have blue and purple clothing. Obviously these false idols are the work products of skilled humans, both artisans and goldsmiths.

The gathering from the whole world (Isa 66:19-66:19)

“I will set a sign among them.

From them,

I will send survivors to the nations,

To Tarshish,

To Put,

To Lud,

To those who draw the bow,

To Tubal

To Javan,

To the coastlands far away.

They have not heard of my fame.

They have not seen my glory.

They shall declare my glory

Among the nations.”

How were they going to get all these people into Jerusalem? Some people would go out to various places and have people from there come to Jerusalem to see the glory of Yahweh. Tarshish was the place that had the famous sailing ships. Perhaps it was some place in Spain or on the Mediterranean Sea. Put or Pul may have been in Somalia. Lud refers to some place in Libya or Asia Minor. Tubal and Javan were probably wealthy places in Asia Minor that would send ships to Tyre on the Mediterranean coast. Obviously all the coastal cities on the great sea were to be included. They had no idea about the fame and glory of Yahweh. They would all like to see the fame and glory of Jerusalem. The glory of Yahweh was to be declared to all these nations.