[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]
by Dr. John Thomas
The men of Dedan are in the list given by Ezekiel of the traders in the Tyrian fairs.
The Dedanim carried thither the ivory and ebony which they procured from "the many isles" to the eastward, and "precious clothes for chariots".
Sheba carried the "chief of all spices, precious stones, and gold".
Dedan and Sheba were those parts of Arabia which lay convenient to the ivory, gold, precious stones, and spice countries of Africa and India.
The Sultan of Muscat now rules the country of Dedan; while the British have planted their standard on the soil of Sheba, at Aden, the Gibraltar of the Red Sea, and key of Egypt.
Victoria may therefore be said to be the Queen of Sheba, who may possibly live to lay her crown and treastures at the feet of the "greater than Solomon," and to fall back into the ranks of "the common people;" and, if not a prisoner of State, to sink at least into an undistinguished member of the community.
The British power is the lion-power of Sheba.
As to Tarshish, there were two countries of that name in the geography of the ancients.
Jehoshaphat built ships at Ezion-geber, a port of the Red Sea, that they might sail thence to Tarshish.
Now, it will be seen by the map that they could only sail southward towards the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, from which they might then steer east, or north, for India.
As they did not sail by compass in those days, but coastwise, they would creep round the coast of Arabia, and so make for Hindostan.
They might have sailed southward again along the coast of Africa instead of to India; but it is not likely they did, as the commerce of the time was with the civilized world, and not the savage.
The voyage occupied them three years.
In the days of Solomon the trade was shared between Israel and the Tyrians; for "he had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram; once in three years came the navy of Tarshish bringing gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks".
These products point to India as the Eastern Tarshish -- a country which has always conferred maritime ascendancy on the power which has possessed its trade and been its carrier to the nations.
But there was also a Tarshish to the north west of Judea.
This appears in the case of Jonah, who embarked at Joppa, now Jaffa, on the Mediterranean, "to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord".
It is evident he must have sailed westward.
It is not exactly known where the western Tarshish was situated.
It was a country, however,
not a city, whose "merchants" frequented the Tyrian fairs.
Addressing Tyre, the prophet says, "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead they traded in thy fairs".
[Zech. xiv. Isaiah xxix. 5-8. Ezek. xxxviii. 18-22. Psalm cxlix.]