For many years historians and archeologists have poured over writings, manuscripts, maps, and the like searching for the top secret source of the Phoenicians tin they brought into the eastern Mediterranean. For the Bronze age to be the bronze age they needed a solid source of tin and the Phoenicians had the just the spot, only they didn't tell anyone. Even the great historian Herodotus could not put his finger on it, but this week the lab results are in and we now have the conformation so many have looked for.
Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News.
What is so wonderful about the results this week is that not only do the lab reports clear up the great Phoenician trade secret, but in doing so they also confirm the location of Biblical Tarshish. Two birds, one stone!
By putting a checklist together from the Bible it was clear who Tarshish was in the latter days, consider the following:
A British wartime poster calls "the young lions."
1) Ezekiel 38:13 reads “the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof”. The New English Bible translates merchants as “traders” - From this we can clearly see that Tarshish was a mercantile mother country with national offspring.
2) Isa 23:6,7 in a prophecy against the Phoenician trading center Tyre reads “Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.” From this it was expected that the trading center of Tyre was to relocate to Tarshish, again underlining that Tarshish was to be a trading center, and “afar off.” A long distance from the coast of the eastern Mediterranean. In Jonah 1:3 we find Jonah boarding a ship in Joppa destined for Tarshish. So not only do we know that Tarshish was “afar off” but to get to it you went west from Israel.
3) From a reading of Isa 23 it is clear that the nation of Tarshish were not only traders but were known to be sea traders, thus the repeat of “the ships of Tarshish”
4) From Isa 60:9 in a prophecy of the rebuilding of Zion we find that the nation of Tarshish would turn to the God of Israel, and be involved in bringing the Jews home. It says that “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far” So for anyone that has looked at Spain and wondered if it was Tarshish, the answer is politely no!
5) Okay and now for that tin. If we turn to Ezekiel 27:12, in another prophecy to Tyre she is told “Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.” There it is, Phoenician Tyre would supply the Bronze age with tin from Tarshish. From the rest of the points, there is no doubt that mercantile, seafaring, God fearing mother country, afar off to the west of Israel is none other than the nation of Britain. Add that shopping list of metals to the list and many Bible students have had no doubt that it really was Britain all along.
But still, there have been doubters. Many have said the British isles were too far from Tyre, it just wasn't possible.
Well, good old Herodotus had heard of the Tin Islands but had little information about them. The following is what he wrote:
“About the far west of Europe I have no definite information, for I cannot accept the story of a river called by non-Greek peoples the Eridanus, which flows into the northern sea, where amber is supposed to come from; nor do I know anything of the existence of islands called the Tin Islands, whence we get our tin. In the first place, the name Eridanus is obviously not foreign but Greek, and was invented by some poet or other; and, secondly, in spite of my efforts to do so, I have never found anyone who could give me first-hand information of the existence of a sea beyond Europe to the north and west. Yet it cannot be disputed that tin and amber do come to us from what one might call the ends of the earth.”
I told you the lab results are in and so they are, so we can finally put this all to rest!
Reported in the Times of Israel was the following this week: “Groundbreaking study: Ancient tin ingots found in Israel were mined in England” was the headline, and the subheading reads “Enigma of origins of Bronze Age Levant’s tin supply solved through isotope and chemical composition analysis that shows 13th–12th century BCE tin bars likely came from Cornwall”
Tin ingots found off the coast of Israel originate from Tarshish!
In the article, it reads: “In a paper published in June on the open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, the authors analyze 27 tin ingots, or blocks, from five sites bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. For decades, researchers have debated the origin of tin used in ubiquitous precious bronze throughout the Levant during the eponymous era, from the late fourth and third millennia BCE. Hypotheses have swung from close-by Turkey, central Asia, or far-flung France and Britain….
…The scholars used an earth-shattering approach to figure out the mine’s locus. “By using a combined approach of tin and lead isotopes together with trace elements it is possible to narrow down the potential sources of tin for the first time,” they write.
The most logical source? According to the authors, the most likely suppliers of the 13th–12th century BCE tin ingots from Israel are tin mines from Cornwall and Devon.”
There you have it, those sneaky Phoenicians were sailing all the way to the beautiful British isles to retrieve that Bronze age tin. I’ll bet they probably had tea and toast at night as well! I wonder when they started making that smooth creamy chocolate? That’s worth crossing the sea for, I can attest!
With this now finally cleared up we can confirm that Britain really does have to come out of Europe. For in Ezekiel 38, Tarshish and her young lions, or national offspring are challenging the great Northern confederacy which we know to be Russia and Europe. But that is a story we have discussed on this program before, and will again as events keep moving us closer to the return of Israel’s king.
Join us again next week for another edition of the Bible in the News, this has been John Billington with you from the colonies, where the snow will soon fall and those Hudson Bay Company blankets are still available! Take care.