For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish, with the navy
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
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.