The ancients of Gebal
A promontory of the Phoenicians, the same with the Gabale of Pliny F14, and with the land of the Giblites, ( Joshua 13:5 ) ( 1 Kings 5:18 ) ( Psalms 83:7 ) . It was by the Greeks called Byblus; and so the Septuagint here render the words, the elders of Bybli or Byblus, a place once famous for the birth and temple of Adonis; it is now called Gibyle. Mr. Maundrell F15 says it is pleasantly situated by the seaside, and that at present it contains but a little extent of ground, yet more than enough for the small number of its inhabitants; it is compassed with a dry ditch, and a wall with square towers in it, at about every forty yards' distance; on its south side it has an old castle; within it is a church; besides which it has nothing remarkable; though anciently it was a place of no mean extent, as well as beauty, as may appear from the many heaps of ruins, and the fine pillars that are scattered up and down in the gardens near the town. The old experienced workmen of this place were employed by the Tyrians in mending and refitting their ships, and in the caulking of them, as follows: the wise men thereof were in thee thy caulkers;
or, "the strengtheners of thy breaches" F16, or "chinks"; the seams and commissures of the planks; which they stopped with tow, oakum, or such like stuff; at least this is what is used now, whatever might be by those wise men; and it seems by this that it was reckoned a very great art and mystery, and which only wise men were masters of, at least such the Tyrians employed. The Targum renders it,
``providing thy necessaries;''as if they were the ships' husbands: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy
ships from all parts were in her harbours, which brought goods into her, and carried goods out of her, by way of merchandise. So the Targum,
``all that go down into the sea, and the ships; they were rowers, and they brought merchandise into the midst of thee;''the goods of merchants from divers places; and carried back commodities again they traded for at Tyre; see ( Revelation 18:19 ) .
F14 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20.
F15 Journey &c. p. 33, 34.
F16 (Kqdb yqyzxm) "roborantes scissuram tuam", Montanus; "instaurantes fissuras tuas", Munster, Tigurine version; "rimas tuas", Vatablus; "instauratores rupturaram tuarum", Piscator.