23:1 Tyre. Tyre was a great city of the Phoenicians, noted as the home port of a great fleet of merchant ships. Its decline and eventual destruction were foretold by both Isaiah and, much later, by Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 26–28).
23:1 Tarshish. Tarshish is frequently mentioned in Scripture because of its ships plying the Mediterranean (e.g., Jonah 1:3). The city itself was evidently a colony of the Phoenicians, possibly Carthage in North Africa or Tartessus in Spain. Since the word itself means “smelting place,” it could refer to a region whence the Tyrians obtained their metals, possibly Great Britain or even somewhere in America or the Far East. The fact that the ships of Solomon took three years to go and return from Tarshish with an exotic cargo (II Chronicles 9:21) would seem to indicate a very long journey. Considerable evidence exists that the sea-going Phoenicians did sail around the tip of Africa and probably even reached America.
23:1 Chittim. Chittim (same as Kittim) is believed by many to refer to Cyprus. Both Kittim and Tarshish were grandsons of Japheth, son of Noah (Genesis 10:4).