Phenicia

(Acts 21:2) = Phenice (11:19; 15:3; R.V., Phoenicia), Gr.
phoinix, "a palm", the land of palm-trees; a strip of land of an
average breadth of about 20 miles along the shores of the
Mediterranean, from the river Eleutherus in the north to the
promotory of Carmel in the south, about 120 miles in length.
This name is not found in the Old Testament, and in the New
Testament it is mentioned only in the passages above referred
to.

"In the Egyptian inscriptions Phoenicia is called Keft, the
inhabitants being Kefa; and since Keft-ur, or 'Greater
Phoenicia,' was the name given to the delta of the Nile from the
Phoenician colonies settled upon it, the Philistines who came
from Caphtor or Keft-ur must have been of Phoenician origin"
(compare Deut. 2:23; Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7)., Sayce's Bible and the
Monuments.

Phoenicia lay in the very centre of the old world, and was the
natural entrepot for commerce with foreign nations. It was the
"England of antiquity." "The trade routes from all Asia
converged on the Phoenician coast; the centres of commerce on
the Euphrates and Tigris forwarding their goods by way of Tyre
to the Nile, to Arabia, and to the west; and, on the other hand,
the productions of the vast regions bordering the Mediterranean
passing through the Canaanite capital to the eastern world." It
was "situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant of the people
for many isles" (Ezek. 27:3, 4). The far-reaching commercial
activity of the Phoenicians, especially with Tarshish and the
western world, enriched them with vast wealth, which introduced
boundless luxury and developed among them a great activity in
all manner of arts and manufactures. (See TYRE T0003737.)

The Phoenicians were the most enterprising merchants of the
old world, establishing colonies at various places, of which
Carthage was the chief. They were a Canaanite branch of the race
of Ham, and are frequently called Sidonians, from their
principal city of Sidon. None could "skill to hew timber like
unto the Sidonians" (1 Kings 5:6). King Hiram rendered important
service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building
of the temple, casting for him all the vessels for the temple
service, and the two pillars which stood in the front of the
porch, and "the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:21-23). Singular marks
have been found by recent exploration on the great stones that
form the substructure of the temple. These marks, both painted
and engraved, have been regarded as made by the workmen in the
quarries, and as probably intended to indicate the place of
these stones in the building. "The Biblical account (1 Kings
5:17, 18) is accurately descriptive of the massive masonry now
existing at the south-eastern angle (of the temple area), and
standing on the native rock 80 feet below the present surface.
The Royal Engineers found, buried deeply among the rubbish of
many centuries, great stones, costly and hewed stones, forming
the foundation of the sanctuary wall; while Phoenician fragments
of pottery and Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks
seem to proclaim that the stones were prepared in the quarry by
the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre." (See TEMPLE
T0003610.)

The Phoenicians have been usually regarded as the inventors of
alphabetic writing. The Egyptians expressed their thoughts by
certain symbols, called "hieroglyphics", i.e., sacred carvings,
so styled because used almost exclusively on sacred subjects.
The recent discovery, however, of inscriptions in Southern
Arabia (Yemen and Hadramaut), known as Hemyaritic, in connection
with various philogical considerations, has led some to the
conclusion that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the
Mineans (admitting the antiquity of the kingdom of Ma'in, Judg.
10:12; 2 Chr. 26:7). Thus the Phoenician alphabet ceases to be
the mother alphabet. Sayce thinks "it is more than possible that
the Egyptians themselves were emigrants from Southern Arabia."
(See MOABITE STONE T0002586.)

"The Phoenicians were renowned in ancient times for the
manufacture of glass, and some of the specimens of this work
that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind...In
the matter of shipping, whether ship-building be thought of or
traffic upon the sea, the Phoenicians surpassed all other
nations." "The name Phoenicia is of uncertain origin, though it
may be derived from Fenkhu, the name given in the Egyptian
inscriptions to the natives of Israel. Among the chief
Phoenician cities were Tyre and Sidon, Gebal north of Beirut,
Arvad or Arados and Zemar."