And Hiram sent in his navy his servants
And, according to ( 2 Chronicles 8:18 ) , ships also but how he could send them from Tyre, which lay in the Mediterranean sea, to the above ports in the Red sea, without going a great way round, is not easy to conceive. Perhaps, as Gussetins conjectures F3, Hiram had a port in the Red sea for building and sending out ships, for the sake of his eastern navigation, and from thence he sent them to Solomon's ports in the same sea; but if what R. Japhet F4 observes is true, that the Red sea is mixed with the sea of Joppa by means of the river Rhinocurura, as is remarked by a learned man F5 and who approves of the observation, and thinks it does not deserve the censure Dr. Lightfoot F6 passes on it. If this, I say, can be supported, the difficulty is removed: so Abarbinel asserts F7, that a branch of the Nile flows into the Red sea: and another, passing through Alexandria, runs into the Mediterranean sea. This is the first navy of ships we read of; in the construction of which, as well as in the art of navigation, the Tyrians no doubt were greatly assisting to Solomon's servants, and which appears by what follows; and they are said F8 to be the first that made use of ships; and the invention of ships of burden, or merchant ships, such as these were, is by Pliny F9 ascribed to Hippus the Tyrian: and the Tyrians were famous for merchandise, which they could not carry on with foreign nations without shipping; see ( Isaiah 23:8 ) , the servants Hiram sent in Solomon's navy were
shipmen that had knowledge of the sea;
of sea coasts and ports, of the manner of guiding and managing ships at sea, and of the whole art of navigation, so far as then known, for which the Tyrians were famous; see ( Ezekiel 27:3-9 ) ,
with the servants of Solomon;
to instruct and assist them in naval affairs, they not having been used thereunto.
F3 Ebr. Comment p. 628.
F4 In Aben Ezra in Jon. ii. 5.
F5 Texelii Phoenix, l. 3. c. 6. p. 243, 244.
F6 Miscellanies, c. 18. vol. 1. p. 1002, 1003.
F7 Apud Manasseh, Spes Israelis, sect. 2. p. 20.
F8 "Prima ratem ventis credere docta Tyros", Catullus.
F9 Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56.