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Israel At Sea

The ancient Hebrews or Israelites are generally not regarded as a seafaring people (apart from Noah and The Flood; see also How Big Was Noah's Ark?). They actually were though, to some degree e.g. "why did Dan remain in ships?" (Judges 5:17 KJV) and "Jehoshaphat [see Kings of Israel and Judah] made ships" (1 Kings 22:44 KJV), however the greatest Israelite "navy" was that of King Solomon which was foremost a commercial fleet built by, and very closely allied with, the navy of King Hiram of Tyre.

"For the king had at sea a navy"

The vessels of Solomon's navy were built by Hiram the king of Tyre who also provided the training for Solomon's sailors.

Israel At Sea

"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the House of The Lord [i.e. The Temple, see Temples], and the king's house, Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire, that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee."

"And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon." (1 Kings 9:10-11,26-28 KJV)

King Hiram actively sought the alliance with Solomon because Hiram knew that God was with Israel.

"And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD], and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day." (1 Kings 10:11-12 KJV)

Solomon's navy was not military/imperialistic; it was used to transport a vast wealth of goods.

"And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 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."

"So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom." (1 Kings 10:21-23 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who or where was the "Ophir" described in the verses above?
See The Gold of Ophir


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