Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 10:22

For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ape;   Botanical Gardens;   Commerce;   Exports;   Ivory;   King;   Peacock;   Solomon;   Tarshish;   Thompson Chain Reference - Animals;   Birds;   Hiram;   Huram;   Luxury;   Peacocks;   Pleasure, Worldly;   Self-Indulgence-Self-Denial;   Tarshish;   Worldly;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Beasts;   Birds;   Holy Land;   Silver;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ape;   Ivory;   Ophir;   Peacocks;   Sabeans;   Ship;   Tarshish;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Edom;   Ezion-geber;   Hiram;   King;   Palestine;   Phoenicia;   Ship;   Solomon;   Tarshish;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ape;   Elephant;   Ivory;   Peacock;   Tarshish;   Tharshish;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Apes;   Commerce;   Hiram;   Mizpah;   Ophir;   Peacocks;   Phoenice;   Silver;   Solomon;   Tarshish;   Tharshish;   Tongues, Confusion of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Animals;   Ape;   Baboon;   Birds;   Commerce;   Economic Life;   Ezion-Geber;   Fleet;   India;   Ivory;   Merchant;   Monkey;   Ophir;   Peacock;   Tarshish;   Tharshish;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ape;   Government;   Israel;   Ivory;   Mining and Metals;   Ophir;   Peacocks;   Sheba, Queen of;   Ships and Boats;   Solomon;   Tarshish (1);   Tyre;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Ship ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ape;   Elephant;   Hiram ;   India ;   Peacocks;   Ship;   Tarshish, Tharshish;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Tarshish;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hiram;   Red sea;   Tarshish;   Tyre;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Apes;   Hi'ram,;   Ivory;   Law of Moses;   Peacocks;   Tar'shish;   Thar'shish,;   Tyre;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ape;   Ivory;   Tarshish;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ape;   Arabia;   Commerce;   Elephant;   Gold;   Government;   Hiram;   Ivory;   Ophir;   Peacock;   Phoenicia;   Ships and Boats;   Solomon;   Trade;   Tyre;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ape;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apes;   Ebony;   Elephant;   Ophir;   Tarshish;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A navy of Tharshish - For probable conjectures concerning this place, and the three years' voyage, see at the end of this, 1 Kings 10:29; (note) and the preceding chapter, 1 Kings 9 (note).

Apes - קפים kophim ; probably a species of monkey rather than ape.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This is given as the reason of the great plentifulness of silver in the time of Solomon. The “navy of Tharshish” (not the same as the navy of Ophir, 1 Kings 9:26) must therefore have imported very large quantities of that metal. Tharshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, had the richest silver mines known in the ancient world, and had a good deal of gold also; apes and ivory were produced by the opposite coast of Africa; and, if north Africa did not produce “peacocks,” which is uncertain, she may have produced the birds called here “tukkiyim,” which some translate “parrots,” others “guinea-fowl” - the latter being a purely African bird. The etymology of the Hebrew words here rendered “ivory,” “apes,” and “peacocks,” is uncertain; but even if of Indian origin, the Jews may have derived their first knowledge of ivory, apes, and peacocks, through nations which traded with India, and may thus have got the words into their language long before the time of Solomon. The names once fixed would be retained, whatever the quarter from where the things were procured afterward.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-10.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 10:22

The king had at sea a navy of Tharshish.

The lessons of prosperity

The period of Solomon’s reign was the period of the greatest commercial, political, and intellectual splendour that Israel knew.

I. The advantages of a state of prosperity. Christians are sometimes disposed to look with suspicion on wealth and greatness. Lord Bacon said that prosperity was the blessing of the Old Testament, and adversity the blessing of the New Testament. But this aphorism may very easily be misunderstood. Prosperity is the blessing of the New Testament as much as it is of the Old. In its proper nature, in its legitimate influence, in its Divine design, prosperity must be regarded as a blessing. One of Emerson’s ancestors was in the habit of praying that none of his posterity might be rich. It is easy to imagine a man offering a prayer like that for his posterity, although it would be rather a shabby thing to do, but you will hardly find a sane man offering such a prayer for himself. Terrestrial prosperity is still one of God’s benedictions.

1. Prosperity is a blessing, as it widens the range of our physical enjoyments.

2. Prosperity is a blessing, as it gives freer play to man’s intellectual powers, and renders possible a fuller intellectual life. Elihu Burritt laments that the English peasant is a blind painter, creating on the hillside glorious pictures in green and gold, but strangely insensible to the splendour he creates. Ruskin complains that few people ever look at the sky. Emerson writes ruefully that whilst he was strolling on the beach in raptures with the azure and spiritual seat the tanned fishermen had nothing to say to one another except, “How’s fish?” And most of our intellectual masters lash us for our neglect of the sights and sounds of a glorious creation.

3. Prosperity is a blessing, as it gives opportunity for the expression of highest character. Prosperity properly used, truly sanctified, brings character to its very highest and brightest manifestations. Humility is never more lovely than when it is clothed in scarlet; moderation is never more impressive than when it sits at banquets; simplicity is never more delightful than when it dwells amid magnificence; purity is never more divine than when its white robes are seen in palaces; gentleness and kindness are never more touching than when displayed by the great and powerful.

4. Prosperity is a blessing, as it enables us to act out more frilly our noblest aspirations. It is quite true that many who promise large things when their ship of gold comes in, nevertheless on the arrival of that gallant bark forthwith put the whole cargo into bonded stores, but noble souls rejoice exceedingly to find their power increased to glorify God in the service of humanity.

II. The perils of a state of prosperity. It has its perils to a nation. The ships of Solomon brought ruin; so did the ships of Carthage, of Greece, of Rome; so did the rich argosies of Spain. The other day in Whitby they showed me the ruins of the grand old Abbey. On the south aspect the wall is much more dilapidated than on the north, showing, it would seem, that the light of the sun had been more destructive than all the wild storms of the North Sea. So the sun of prosperity has often proved more fatal to empire than the bitterest tempests of danger and want and conflict. There is plenty of morbid matter everywhere, and the sun of prosperity soon develops it disastrous|y enough. Prosperity has its perils to the individual. It is said that birds of paradise are often captured through their becoming intoxicated with the spice forests on which they alight, and we have all seen fine men and women, with the light of heaven in their eye and the beauty of holiness in their life, fall miserable victims to prosperity. Some rich men degenerate fearfully, so do some popular’ men. On the American prairies travellers are sometimes brought to a standstill through the wheels of their chariots becoming locked by the flowers which grow there so profusely; and many a noble pilgrim to heaven has been hindered, brought to a fatal halt, by the golden and purple flowers of fortune which Heaven, in its goodness, had made to spring in his path. The lower good may destroy the higher good; as a man becomes richer in gold he may become poorer in faith, in virtue, in charity, in hope. Christianity gives us a social ideal of prime interest and efficacy. The curse of the old civilisations was selfishness. “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards,” etc. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-9). The I’s stand up like a regiment of Grenadiers. Here was the curse of the old nations, in the flush of their power and prosperity. Here is the curse of much of the prosperity of to-day. Selfishness is the rock on which rich argosies suffer shipwreck, the rock on which the grandeur of nations and the happiness of men go to pieces. Christ changes the I into we, the my into our. Christianity brings us the larger measure of moral power. (W. L. Watkinson.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 10:22". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-10.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish, with the navy of Hiram,.... Tharshish was not the place the navy went from, but whither it went to, as appears from 2 Chronicles 9:21 and designs not Tarsus in Cilicia; nor Tartessus in Spain, or Gades, or which was however near it; though it appears from StraboF19Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 136. and MelaF20Ut supra. (Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.) that the Phoenicians were acquainted with those parts, and were possessed of them; and particularly, according to Velleius PaterculusF21Aelian de Animal. l. 13. c. 18. , the navy of Tyre traded thither before the days of Solomen; and VitringaF23Ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. c. 9.) 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 JosephusF24Polyhistor. c. 65. 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; VartomannusF25Erasm. 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. says, he saw in Sumatra, where some place Ophir, one that weighed three hundred and thirty pounds; though, according to the EthiopiansF26De Navigat. Solomon. c. 7. sect. 6. the ivory is from the horns; and so sayF1Aelian. ut supra, (de Animal. l. 16. c. 2.) & l. 5. c. 21. Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 1. 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 SiculusF2Navigat. l. 6. c. 7. , CurtiusF3Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 268, 269. , and PlinyF4lbid. p. 398. relate; so VirgilF5De Animal. l. 11. c. 33. & l. 13, 18. & l. 16. c. 2. speaks of ivory as fetched from India and HoraceF6"---Non aurum et ebur Indicum". Carmin. l. 1. Ode 31. ινδογενους ελεφαντος Manetho. Apotelesm. ver. 297. & l. 4. ver. 149. Philo. de Praemiis, p. 924. also, which must be East India, for there are no ivory nor apes in the West IndiesF7Manasseh Spes Israelis, sect. 2. p. 21. Ortel. Thesaur. Geograh. Varrerius de Ophyra. : "apes" or "monkeys" were then, as now, brought from those parts. StraboF8Geograph. l. 15. p. 480. 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. VartomannusF9Navigat. l. 5. c. 20. 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 accountF11Ovington's Voyage to Sarat, p. 360, 361, 596. . There are various sorts of apes, some more like to goats, others to dogs, others to lions, and some to other animals, as PhilostorgiusF12Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 11. 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 SolinusF13Polyhist. c. 40. reckons such among apes; but what come nearest in name and sound to the "kuphim" of Solomon here are those PlinyF14Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 19. 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 StraboF15Ut supra, (Geograph.) l. 17. p. 559. 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 AristotleF16Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 8, 9. , and is described as having a tail, and all the rest like a man; according to LudolfF17Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10. , "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 IndiaF18Aelian. de Animal. l. 16. c. 2. "Psittacus eois ales mihi missus ab India". Ovid. Amor. l. 2. Eleg. 6. , and from thence only, according to PausaniasF19Corinthiaca, sive, l. 2. p. 136. ; VartomannusF20Ut supra. (Navigat. l. 5. c. 20.) 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 notF21Aelian de Animal. l. 13. c. 18. . CurtiusF23Ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. c. 9.) designs these, when he says, in India are birds, which are taught to imitate man's voice; and SolinusF24Polyhistor. c. 65. says, that India only produces the green parrot, that is, the East Indies, the West Indies not being then discovered; though someF25Erasm. 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. 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. HuetiusF26De Navigat. Solomon. c. 7. sect. 6. derives the Hebrew word here used from תכה, 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, &c. 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 themF1Aelian. ut supra, (de Animal. l. 16. c. 2.) & l. 5. c. 21. Curtii Hist. l. 9. c. 1. . VartomannusF2Navigat. l. 6. c. 7. makes mention of them as in great numbers in some parts of India; and they are caught and sold at an easy rate at SuratF3Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 268, 269. , and make part both of their game, and of their grand entertainmentsF4lbid. p. 398. ; AeianusF5De Animal. l. 11. c. 33. & l. 13, 18. & l. 16. c. 2. often speaks of them as in India in great numbers, and in great esteem.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of h Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

(h) By Tharshish is meant Cilicia, which was abundant in the variety of precious things.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-10.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

a navy of Tharshish — Tartessus in Spain. There gold, and especially silver, was obtained, anciently, in so great abundance that it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. But “Tarshish” came to be a general term for the West (Jonah 1:3).

at sea — on the Mediterranean.

once in three years — that is, every third year. Without the mariner‘s compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Tharshish — Ships that went to Tharshish. For Tharshish was the name of a place upon the sea, famous for its traffick with merchants, and it was a place very remote from Judea, as appears from the three years usually spent in that voyage. But whether it was Spain, where in those times there was abundance of gold and silver, as Strabo and others affirm; or, some place in the Indies, it is needless to determine.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-10.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 10:22 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.

Ver. 22. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish.] That furrowed the main ocean, as some sense it; or that sailed into the Mediterranean Sea, as Jonah 1:3; for Tarshish was the son of Javan, [Genesis 10:4] who first after the flood inhabited Cilicia, the chief city whereof is Tharsus; thence the neighbouring sea first, and then the rest of the Mediterranean, was call Tharsis.

Once in three years.] No oftener, as trading with many nations in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Bringing gold and silver … and apes, and peacocks] Or, Parrots. Like unto these ships thus ladened, are the books of some sectaries, wherein, as in the Jewish Talmud -

Sunt mala mista bonis, sunt bona mista malis.

In some parts of their writings are wholesome and good passages; as in a wood or forest full of briers and brambles, there may be some violets and primroses; and as here, with apes and parrots, were gold, silver, ivory.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-10.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 10:22. Bringing gold and silver, ivory, &c.— See the note on chap. 1 Kings 9:28 and Scheuchzer on the place.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-10.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A navy of Tharshish; either, first, the ships of the sea, which may seem to be called Tarshish, as Psalms 48:7 Isaiah 60:9, from an eminent part of the sea near Judea, so called. Or rather, the ships that went to Tarshish; for Tarshish was the name of a certain place upon the sea, famous for its traffic with merchants, as it is manifest from Isaiah 23:6,10 66:19 Jeremiah 10:9 Ezekiel 27:12; and it was a place very remote from Judea, as appears from the three years usually spent in that voyage. But whether it was Spain, where in those times there was abundance of gold and silver, as Strabo and others affirm, or some place in the Indies, it is needless to determine.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-10.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22.Once in three years came the navy of Tarshish — This navy need not be identified with that which was built at Ezion-geber, (1 Kings 9:26,) for Solomon probably had many fleets that sailed on many seas. And yet it must not be supposed that the navy of Tarshish never went to Ophir, or that ships designed to carry on commerce with Tarshish might not be built at Ezion-geber. The contrary is clearly indicated at 1 Kings 22:48 and 2 Chronicles 20:36. Scholars are now quite generally agreed that Tarshish, which figures so largely in Scripture in connexion with Phenician commerce, is to be identified with Tartessus of classic history, a city and district in southwestern Spain not far from the Straits of Gibraltar. But Solomon’s navy certainly would not require three years to go to Spain and back; and though gold and silver abounded in that country, it would hardly be the place to go for ivory, apes, and peacocks. These latter abound in India and its neighbouring isles. Hence some have been disposed to look for another Tarshish in India. But why may not the fleets of Solomon and Hiram have passed on from Spain through the Straits of Gibraltar round the Cape of Good Hope, and thus to Southern Asia? This might well have taken three years; but an enterprise of lesser magnitude could hardly have required so long a time. This supposition is rendered exceedingly plausible by the statement of Herodotus, (iv, 42,) that Necho, king of Egypt, once sent out a fleet under charge of Phenicians, who started from the Red Sea and came round through the pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar) back to Egypt again. This seems clearly to show that Africa had been circumnavigated in Herodotus’s time, and Necho’s putting the enterprise in charge of the Phenicians may have been because those far-famed navigators had accomplished such a voyage before. In short, I can see nothing impossible or improbable in the supposition that the enterprising seamen of Tyre had already, in Solomon’s time, discovered the route to India by circumnavigating Africa, and that Solomon’s fleet was wont with them to make the voyage once in three years. That this line of commerce afterwards ceased, and the route became unknown, is not to be wondered at in view of the divisions and wars that prevailed immediately after Solomon’s death, both in the land of Israel and also in all the neighbouring nations — wars that resulted, in the course of a few hundred years, in the total destruction of Tyre and all her glory.

Apes קפים, kopim, some species of the monkey tribe, still called in some parts of India kapi. They are represented on the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments as an article of traffic.

Peacocks תכיים, tukiyim. Some suppose the parrot and some the Guinea fowl to be meant; but several of the better versions and some eminent critics interpret the expression of the peacock, whose natural home is India. It is said by some authorities that these Hebrew words for ivory, apes, and peacocks are identical with the Tamil names by which they are known in Ceylon at the present day. “It has long since been decided that India was the cradle of the peacock. It is in the countries of Southern Asia, and the vast archipelago of the Eastern Ocean, that this bird appears to have fixed its dwelling, and to live in a state of freedom. All travellers who have visited these countries make mention of these birds. Thevenot encountered great numbers of them in the province of Guzzerat; Tavernier, throughout all India; and Payrard in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. La Billardiere tells us that peacocks are common in the Island of Java.” — CUVIER’S Animal Kingdom. Wordsworth sees a sort of irony and sarcasm in the mention of apes and peacocks as “the climax of the produce of the commerce of Solomon. Apes and peacocks to Solomon, the wise king at Jerusalem! To gratify curiosity; to amuse the people; and perhaps to while away the time of the strange women to whom Solomon clave in love instead of cleaving to the Lord.” Here he sees one of the causes of Solomon’s fall.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-10.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 10:22. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish — Ships that went to Tharshish. For Tharshish was the name of a place, upon the sea, famous for its traffic with merchants, and a place very remote from Judea, as appears from the three years usually spent in that voyage. But whether it was Spain, where in those times there was abundance of gold and silver, as Strabo and others affirm; or some place in the Indies, it is as needless as it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine. These words are here added to give a further account how Solomon came to have gold in such abundance: he trafficked for it in another fleet, besides that which went to Ophir. Once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, &c. — It is likely a great part of this time was spent in digging for the gold, or in hunting the elephants, apes, and peacocks, and in other transactions of commerce. And apes — The Hebrew word קפים, kophim, is both by the ancients and moderns translated apes; which creature Pliny calls cephus, and says they were seen but once at Rome in his days, and that they came from Ethiopia. And peacocks — These, being so beautiful a bird, might very probably be brought from foreign countries into Judea as a great rarity, there being none there before.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-10.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To Tharsis. This word in Hebrew signifies, "the sea," Isaias ii. 16., and xxiii. 10. (Menochius) --- But when it signifies some particular place, (Haydock) it probably refers to Tarsus of Cilicia, which was once the most famous mart on the Mediterranean, though not perhaps in the days of Solomon, but after it had been embellished by the Assyrian kings. "Ships of Tharsis," often denote such as were fit for a long voyage; and of this description were the fleets of Solomon and of Hiram, which sailed from Asiongaber to Ophir, and touched at various ports, where they procured what they wanted. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "the king had at sea a navy of Tharsis....once in three years: the navy of Tharsis came, bringing gold," &c. (Haydock) --- Teeth. Hebrew Shenhabim. The latter word is commonly rendered elephants, k being lost at the beginning. (Bochart) --- Syriac and Arabic intimate, that the elephants were brought alive. Perhaps n may be dropped after b; so that we should read, ebnim, as [in] Ezechiel xxvii. 15., and translate ivory and ebony; the one being remarkable for its white, and the other for is black colour. Both might be procured on the coasts of Ethiopia, by which the fleet passed. The Persians, and Sesostris, required the people of the country to pay both for tribute. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xii. 14.; Diodorus i.) --- Apes. Hebrew Kophim. Greek Kepos. There was a peculiar species in Ethiopia, which the Egyptians adored at Babylon, near Memphis, and was exhibited by Julius Cæsar, in the public shews. (Solin.; Bochart) --- Peacocks is not expressed in the Septuagint. (Calmet) --- The Roman edition, instead of elephants, &c., inserts, "stones" &c., intended for the various edifices and towns, which Solomon fortified, to keep under the nations of Chanaan, whom he forced to labour, &c. But the Alexandrian copy has, Greek: taonon, "peacocks," as thuciim is rendered (Haydock) by the Chaldean, Syriac, &c. (Calmet) --- Huet observes, that these birds were scarcely known in the time of Alexander, and would therefore understand, psittacos, "parrots." (Du Hamel) --- But peacocks were called, "birds of Media," as they were very common in that country, (Calmet) and about Babylon. (Diodorus ii.) --- The fleet of Solomon might advance as far as the confines of Media. Josephus adds, that it brought home Ethiopian slaves, who were in high esteem in a country where eunuchs were employed to guard the women, (Calmet) as there would be less danger of too great familiarity. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

navy of Tharshish = Tharshish ships, a name for large ocean-going ships (like English "East-Indiamen"). When mentioned as a place it is identified by Oppert with Tartessis = the Andalusia of to-day, noted for silver (not gold), iron, tin, and lead (Jeremiah 10:9. Ezekiel 27:12). They sailed from Tyre to the West Mediterranean, and from Ezion-geber to Ophir (Arabia, India, and East Africa), 1 Kings 9:26-28 and 1 Kings 10:11.

ivory = elephants" tusks.

apes, and peacocks. The Hebrew for these are Indian words (Tamil).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

At sea - on the Mediterranean. A navy of Tharshish - Tartessus, between the mouths of the Boetis, now Guadalquiver, in the south of Spain [Septuagint, Vatican: Tharsis; Alexandrine: Tharseis], where gold, and especially silver, was obtained anciently in so great abundance that it "was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon." But Tharshish came to be a general term for the west of Europe, (Psalms 72:10; Jonah 1:1.) Solomon's fleet, "with the navy of Hiram - i:e., manned with Phoenician mariners, sailed from the port of Ezion-geber; but whether, doubling the Cape, they steered by the western coast of Africa. northward to Tartessus, in Spain, or there might be a place of that name in India, is unknown. 'There may have been,' as Henderson remarks, 'both a Spanish and an Indian Tharshish, just as the name India Came to be transferred from the east to the distant west.'

Once in three years - i:e., third year. Without the mariner's compass, they had to coast along the shore, and make their voyage by monsoons. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the coast of Safola, in South Africa, and some portion of the Indian peninsula, where those animals were to be found.

Ivory, [ shenhabiym (Hebrew #8143) plural] (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:21) - known to the ancients as an Indian product. Thus, Virgil, 'India mittit ebur; molles sua thura Sabaei.' [This word, according to Gesenius, is compounded of sheen (Hebrew #8127), tooth-generally used in the Old Testament for ivory-and haa'ibiym, contracted for habiym, from the Sanskrit ibha-s, elephant. Keil derives the Hebrew word from the Coptic eboy, elephant, with the article he (h). Other derivations have been suggested. The Septuagint and Vatican has: lithoon toreutoon kai pelekeetoon, turned and polished stones (1 Kings 10:11). The Alexandrine renders it by: odontoon elefantinoon, elephants' teeth.]

And apes, [ w

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) A navy of Tharshish.—There seems little doubt that the Tarshish of Scripture is properly Tartessus in Spain, which name, indeed, is drawn from an Aramaic form of Tarshish. For (a) Tarshish is first noted in Genesis 10:4 as among the descendants of Javan, the son of Japhet, which probably points to a European position; (b) in some other places (Isaiah 23:1; Isaiah 23:6; Isaiah 23:10; Isaiah 23:14; Ezekiel 27:12-13) as here, and in 23:48, it is closely connected with Tyre, of which Tartessus is expressly said by Arrian to have been a colony: (c) from Jonah 1:3; Jonah 4:2, we gather that it was on the Mediterranean Sea; (d) the silver, which was evidently the chief import by this navy of Tarshish, was in ancient times found in large quantities in Spain, as also “the iron, lead, and tin,” mentioned with the silver in Ezekiel 27:12. But the phrase “ships of Tarshish” appears to have become a technical phrase for ships of large size (see Isaiah 2:17; Jeremiah 10:9; Psalms 48:8); hence a “navy of Tarshish” would not necessarily mean a navy going to Tarshish.

Now, the fleet of Solomon here named is not in the text identified with the navy of Ophir, starting from Ezion-geber. Its imports (except gold, which is not distinctive) are not the same, and the separate mention of it seems rather to argue its distinctness. “The sea,” moreover, unless otherwise determined by the context, would most likely mean the Great, or Mediterranean Sea; and in 2 Chronicles 9:21 (as also afterwards, in 2 Chronicles 20:36) it is expressly said that the fleet “went to Tarshish.” But the difficulty of this view lies in this—that the imports of the fleet, except the silver (which, indeed, is chiefly dwelt upon), point to an Eastern, and probably an Indian origin. Not only do the “peacocks” expressly indicate India, which may be called their native country; but of the names used, koph, for “ape,” is not a Hebrew word, but closely resembles the Sanscrit kapi; and tukki, for “peacock,” is similarly a foreign word, closely resembling the Tamil tôka. (If the ordinary reading, shen habbîm, for “ivory,” stands, this, which is an unusual word for ivory (generally simply shen, “a tooth”), bears resemblance again in its second member to ibha, the Sanscrit name for “elephant.” But it is generally thought that the correction, shen habnîm, “ivory [and] ebony,” should be accepted, especially as we find those two words used together in Ezekiel 28:15.) The only solution of this serious difficulty seems to be the supposition of a circumnavigation of Africa by fleets from Tyre to Ezion-geber, touching in Africa and India. This view also accounts for the emphatic mention of the “three years” voyage, which could not be necessary for going only to Tartessus and its neighbourhood. There is, indeed, something startling in the idea of so daring an enterprise in this early age. But there is a well-known passage in Herodotus (Book iv. 42) which records exactly such a voyage in the days of Pharaoh-Necho, not apparently as a new thing—to say nothing of the celebrated record of the Periplus of Hanno; and it seems clear that the Tyrian seamanship and maritime enterprise were at their height in the days of Solomon.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Tharshish
22:48; Genesis 10:4; 2 Chronicles 9:21; 20:36,37; Psalms 48:7; 72:10; Isaiah 2:16; Isaiah 23:1,6,10; 60:9; 66:19; Ezekiel 27:12; Jonah 1:3
Tarshish
ivory. or, elephant's teeth.
18; Amos 3:15
apes
Kophim, rather monkeys, the same as the Syriac [qwp'] Greek [kephos] [kepos] or [kebos] and Roman Cephus, which animal both Pliny and Solinus inform us was brought from Ethiopia. The same name appears in the monkeys, called KEIIIEN in the Prænestine Pavement, and in the French cep or ceb.
peacocks
Job 39:13
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 22:39 - the ivory house;  2 Chronicles 8:18 - General2 Chronicles 9:10 - brought gold;  Song of Solomon 7:4 - ivory;  Jeremiah 10:9 - Tarshish;  Ezekiel 27:15 - of ivory;  Ezekiel 27:25 - ships

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 10:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-10.html.