Tarshish, the name of an ancient emporium, or, according to some critics, more than one, as some of the passages of Scripture in which it is mentioned appear to indicate that it was W. and others E. of Palestine. There are 25 or 30 references to it in the Scriptures. Tartessus in Spain, Tarsus in Cilicia, the island of Thasos in the Grecian archipelago, Carthage, some seaport of the British isles, and Point de Galle in Ccvlon have all been urged as fulfilling certain conditions of the Scriptural references. The following facts concerning it are gleaned from various passages of Scripture. It was largely engaged in commerce, and probably in ship building; it is several times spoken of as an island or seacoast; it had large traffic with Tyre and Sidon, especially in gold and silver, tin, iron, and lead; it is usually represented as W. of Palestine and of Tyre, and its ships are spoken of as broken by an E. wind. Yet we are told distinctly in 2 Chron. ix. 21, that Solomon's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram, returning every three years, and bringing "gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks;11 and that Jehoshaphat joined with Ahaziah in building ships at Ezion-geber, a place on the Elanitie gulf of the Red sea, to go to Tarshish (2 Chron. xx. 36), while the corresponding passages in 1 Kings (ix. 26-28, x. 22„ xxii. 48) say that Tarshish vessels were built at Ezion-geber and sent to Ophir, whence they brought " gold and silver," etc.

This apparent discrepancy has been explained in three ways: 1 (which is most plausible), that the name "ships of Tarshish" does not necessarily imply that the ships were built at Tarshish or intended to ply between that and some other port, but designated a peculiar style of ships, and that hence ships intended for a long coast voyage were called "ships of Tarshish" from their resemblance to the Phoenician model; 2, that the ships built at Ezion-geber were really intended for the trade to Tarshish (Tartessus) in Spain, and were to be transported across the isthmus of Suez to the Mediterranean; and 3, that there were two and possibly more places called Tarshish.