During the reign of the wise King Solomon, Tarshish was one of the Kingdom of Israel’s sources of gold, silver, ivory, and exotic animals and birds such as apes and peacocks.
Even with a fleet of trading ships, Solomon’s ships returned to Israel from Tarshish once every three years with their full load. They must have journeyed a great distance over a rough and perilous sea and waited a long time until their cargo holds were full before they made the voyage back. Until the present day, the exact location of Tarshish has remained a mystery but it is generally thought to be located somewhere in Spain.
The Prophet Jonah Running Away from God
When the prophet Jonah attempted to run away from God, the first place that he thought of to be so far away that he became negligible in God’s eyes or can remain hidden without attracting God’s attention was Tarshish. Putting his plan in motion, he immediately hied himself to the port of Joppa and bought a ticket bound for Tarshish. Lo and behold, a violent storm arose over the ocean and harried the ship no end until the sailors, in fear of their lives, decided to throw Jonah overboard.
Lessons in Humility from Tarshish
We can all learn a lesson or two from Jonah’s botched and feeble attempt to evade God. These are:
- You can run but you cannot hide from God. You can choose to sail to or hide in distant Tarshish or any other far point of the globe but God will always find you when He wants to.
- There is no sanctuary for someone who does not bend to God’s will and God’s plan. The vicious storm that nearly sank Jonah’s ship was a manifestation of the more significant problems that lie ahead when one tries to thwart God’s will.
- Tarshish was a lesson in humility for Jonah. No one is above God’s will and beyond God’s reach.