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1 Kings 10:22

22 The king had a fleet of trading ships[a] at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

1 Kings 10:22 in Other Translations

22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
22 For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
22 The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish that sailed with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
22 The king had a fleet of ocean-going ships at sea with Hiram's ships. Every three years the fleet would bring in a cargo of gold, silver, and ivory, and apes and peacocks.
22 for the king had ships of Tarshish at sea with Hiram's fleet, and once every three years the ships of Tarshish would arrive bearing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

1 Kings 10:22 Meaning and Commentary

1 Kings 10:22

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish, with the navy of
Tharshish was not the place the navy went from, but whither it went to, as appears from ( 2 Chronicles 9:21 ) ( 20:36 ) and designs not Tarsus in Cilicia; nor Tartessus in Spain, or Gades, or which was however near it; though it appears from Strabo F19 and Mela F20 that the Phoenicians were acquainted with those parts, and were possessed of them; and particularly, according to Velleius Paterculus F21, the navy of Tyre traded thither before the days of Solomen; and Vitringa F23 is clear in it, that these were ships that traded to Tartessus, with the ships of Tyre; and it is more likely that that place is meant than Carthage, now called Tunis, in Africa; though the Targum here calls it the navy, the navy of Africa; but as Tharshish is sometimes used for the sea in general, here it may signify a particular sea, so called: and which Josephus F24 names the Tarsic sea, the same with the Indian sea; and points to the same country where Ophir was, which was washed by it, and to which the two fleets joined were bound. This is observed, to account for it how Solomon came by so much gold:

once in three years came the navy of Tharshish;
it returned in such a space of time; navigation not being improved as now, and sailing by coasts, and what with their stay abroad to sell and purchase goods, and to refit their ships, as well as sometimes contrary winds, they were so long in performing this voyage, which is now done in a few months:

bringing gold and silver;
so that silver was accounted of, and used for some purposes, though not for the king's plate:

ivory, and apes, and peacocks;
ivory is the elephant's tooth, as the word signifies; some of those are of an almost incredible size; some are said to be of ninety, others one hundred and twenty five pounds weight; Vartomannus F25 says, he saw in Sumatra, where some place Ophir, one that weighed three hundred and thirty pounds; though, according to the Ethiopians F26 the ivory is from the horns; and so say F1 Pausanias and others, see ( Ezekiel 27:15 ) but it is commonly supposed to be of the two teeth in the upper jaw that stands out; and whether they are called horns or teeth, they are the same of which ivory is: of elephants there were large numbers in India, bigger and stronger than those in Africa; which latter were afraid of the former, as Diodorus Siculus F2, Curtius F3, and Pliny F4 relate; so Virgil


F5 speaks of ivory as fetched from India and Horace F6 also, which must be East India, for there are no ivory nor apes in the West Indies {g}: "apes" or "monkeys" were then, as now, brought from those parts. Strabo F8 reports, that when the Macedonians under Alexander were there, such a vast number of them came out of the woods, and placed themselves on the open hills, that they took them for an army of men set in battle array to fight them. Vartomannus F9 speaks of monkeys in the country of Calecut, of a very small price: near Surat apes are in great esteem, nor will they suffer them to be killed on any account {k}. There are various sorts of apes, some more like to goats, others to dogs, others to lions, and some to other animals, as Philostorgius
F12 relates; and who also says the sphinx is one sort of them, and which he describes on his own sight of it as resembling mankind in many things, and as a very subtle animal; and so Solinus F13 reckons such among apes; but what come nearest in name and sound to the "kuphim" of Solomon here are those Pliny F14 calls "cephi", whose fore feet he says are like the hands of men, and their hinder feet like the feet and thighs of men; and Strabo F15 describes a creature found in Ethiopia, called by him "ceipus" or "cepus", which has a face like a satyr, and the rest of it is between a dog and a bear. There is a creature called "cebus" by Aristotle F16, and is described as having a tail, and all the rest like a man; according to Ludolf F17, "cephus" is the "orangoutang" of the Indians. The word for peacocks should rather be rendered "parrots", so Junius; which are well known to come from India {r}, and from thence only, according to Pausanias F19; Vartomannus F20 says, that at Calecut there are parrots of sundry colours, as green and purple, and others of mixed colours, and such a multitude of them, that men are appointed to keep them from the rice in the fields, as we keep crows from corn; and that they are of a small price, one is sold for two pence, or half a souse; and the number of them may be accounted for, because the Brachmans, the priests, reckon them sacred, and therefore the Indians eat them not F21. Curtius F23 designs these, when he says, in India are birds, which are taught to imitate man's voice; and Solinus F24 says, that India only produces the green parrot, that is, the East Indies, the West Indies not being then discovered; though some F25 think they were, and that it was thither Solomon's navy went: certain it is there are parrots of various colours in the West Indies, which P. Martyr of Angleria frequently makes mention of in his Decades. Huetius F26 derives the Hebrew word here used from (hkt) , which he says signifies to "join" or "adhere" to anything, as these birds will; cling to, and hang by their bills and nails on a branch of a tree so that they are not easily separated from it; the word is used in ( Deuteronomy 33:3 ) and, according to some, in this sense. But, after all, if it should be insisted on, as it is by many, that "peacocks" are meant, these also are found in India. Alexander the great first saw them in this country, which so amazed him, that he threatened to punish those severely that should kill any of them F1. Vartomannus F2 makes mention of them as in great numbers in some parts of India; and they are caught and sold at an easy rate at Surat F3, and make part both of their game, and of their grand entertainments F4; Aeianus F5 often speaks of them as in India in great numbers, and in great esteem.

F19 Geograph. l. 3. p. 104.
F20 De Situ Orbis, l. 2. c. 6.
F21 Hist. l. 1. in principio.
F23 Comment. in Jesaiam, c. 23. 1.
F24 Antiqu. l. 8. c. 7. sect. 2.
F25 Navigat. l. 6. c. 22.
F26 Ludolf. Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10.
F1 Eliac. 1. p. 308, 309. Vid. Plin. l. 8. c. 3. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 4. c. 21. & 7. 2. & 11. 37. & 14. 5. Varro apud Schindler. Lexic Pentaglott. col. 1905.
F2 Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 121. So Polybius, Hist. l. 5.
F3 Hist. l. 8. c. 9.
F4 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 9.
F5 "India mittit ebur". Georgic. l. 1. ver. 57.
F6 "---Non aurum et ebur Indicum". Carmin. l. 1. Ode 31. (indogenouv) (elefantov) Manetho. Apotelesm. ver. 297. & l. 4. ver. 149. Philo. de Praemiis, p. 924.
F7 Manasseh Spes Israelis, sect. 2. p. 21. Ortel. Thesaur. Geograh. Varrerius de Ophyra.
F8 Geograph. l. 15. p. 480.
F9 Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.
F11 Ovington's Voyage to Sarat, p. 360, 361, 596.
F12 Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 11.
F13 Polyhist. c. 40.
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 19.
F15 Ut supra, (Geograph.) l. 17. p. 559.
F16 Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 8, 9.
F17 Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10.
F18 Aelian. de Animal. l. 16. c. 2. "Psittacus eois ales mihi missus ab India". Ovid. Amor. l. 2. Eleg. 6.
F19 Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 136.
F20 Ut supra. (Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.)
F21 Aelian de Animal. l. 13. c. 18.
F23 Ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. c. 9.)
F24 Polyhistor. c. 65.
F25 Erasm. Schmid. de America Orat. ad. Calc. Pindari, p. 261. Vatablus in loc. & in c. 9. 28. Hornius de Gent. Americ. l. 2. c. 6, 7, 8.
F26 De Navigat. Solomon. c. 7. sect. 6.
F1 Aelian. ut supra, (de Animal. l. 16. c. 2.) & l. 5. c. 21. Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 1.
F2 Navigat. l. 6. c. 7.
F3 Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 268, 269.
F4 lbid. p. 398.
F5 De Animal. l. 11. c. 33. & l. 13, 18. & l. 16. c. 2.

1 Kings 10:22 In-Context

20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.
21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.
22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.
24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S 1 Kings 9:26
  • 2. 1 Kings 9:27; Psalms 48:7; Isaiah 2:16; Isaiah 23:1,14; Isaiah 60:6,9

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew "of ships of Tarshish"
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