Houthis and the Bible – Turmoil developing in the Middle East

As tensions boil over in the Middle East, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have once again been pulled military into the region. Reluctant as some of them may be to support Israel, they have had no choice but to lend their support to the region to defend their shipping interests. As the biblical “ships of a Tarshish”, they have been called upon to protect the region. The Houthi attacks have forced them back into a role they don’t want to take on. The fate of Yemen is also clearly outlined in the Bible.

As we watch the turmoil developing in the Middle East, the hand of the angels can be seen in the events unravelling. The angelic hand directs the nations as on their way to the revelation of Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon:

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“… to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

It is with interest we note the Tarshish powers being pulled once again into the Middle East. Although they have stated their desire to extract themselves from the arena, they keep on being pulled back in. The scripture is clear that there will be a southern confederacy at the time of the end, entitled the “King of the South” in Daniel 11:40. The nations that comprise this host are defined in Ezekiel 38:13

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

The Merchants of Tarshish

The merchants of Tarshish and its young lions correspond to the trading nations related to Great Brittan. Tarshish was the merchant power that moved from Tyre to Carthage, eventually settling in Britain.

They are the seabound mercantile power that dated back to 600 BC:

The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.” (Ezekiel 27:25)

It’s trade in tin and lead is identified in Ezekiel 27:

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.” (Ezekiel 27:12)

The tin mines of Cornwall were notorious during the time of the ancients, mentioned by Julius Caesar in his “Gallic Wars”

“The inland parts of Britain are inhabited by those, whose fame reports to be the natives of the soil. The sea-coast is peopled with the Belgians, drawn thither by the love of war and plunder. The island is well peopled, full of houses, built after the manner of the Gauls, and abounds in cattle. They use brass money, and iron rings of a certain weight. The provinces remote from the sea produce tin, and those upon the coast, iron….” (Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars, Book 5, Chapter 12.)

In 2019, tin ingots were located in the wreckage of a ship off the coast of Israel, and traced via isotopes to the tin mins of Cornwall and Devon.

The Bible is clear on the role Tarshish would play with Israel in the latter days:

Surely the isles shall wait for me, And the ships of Tarshish first, To bring thy sons from far, Their silver and their gold with them, Unto the name of the Lord thy God, And to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, And their kings shall minister unto thee: For in my wrath I smote thee, But in my favour have I had mercy on thee.” (Isaiah 60:9–10)

Identifying Britain with Tarshish, John Thomas wrote in Elpis Israel in 1848:

I know not whether the men, who at present contrive the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of assuming the sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of promoting its colonization by the Jews; their present intentions, however, are of no importance one way or the other, because they will be compelled, by events soon to happen, to do what, under existing circumstances, heaven and earth combined could not move them to attempt.

The finger of God has indicated a course to be pursued by Britain which cannot be evaded, and which her counsellors will not only be willing, but eager, to adopt when the crisis comes upon them.

The decree has long since gone forth which calls upon the Lion of Tarshish to protect the Jews. Upwards of a thousand years before the British were a nation, the prophet addresses themas the power which at “evening-tide” should interest themselvesin behalf of Israel.

Britain undertook that role and was key in overthrowing the Ottoman power in the Middle East and promoting its colonization with the Jews as Lord Balfour would write in the famous Balfour Declaration:

“His majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

It would be a month later that General Allenby would walk into Jerusalem. By 1948, the State of Israel came into existence, and it was been surrounded by hostile nations until Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, and Jordan in 1991. America and the other Tarshish nations have continued to play a role in the area, subduing the nations hostile to Israel, on the most part motivated by their own commercial interests.

Tarshish In the Middle East

A pattern has emerged over the years. In 1991 George Bush senior led an alliance of nations against Saddam Hussein to save Kuwait from being overrun, and protect American oil interested in the region. The years that followed would mire America in the politics of the region with Bill Clinton holding multiple peace conferences that gave birth to the disastrous Oslo Accords. George Bush Junior ran on a platform of isolationism, promising to bring America out of the region, only to have his policies turned on their head by the 9/11 attacks that brought the full force of America into Afghanistan and then into Iraq once again.

President Obama changed America’s tune in favor of the Muslim states, undermining years of diplomacy, but the birth of ISIS would force America to stay engaged in the region. Obama’s policies soured relationships with traditional American allies in the region and forced the Saudi’s and other Arab states to begin covert conversations with Israel about security in the region.

President Trump would reverse years of American dithering, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Abraham Accords would see the first peace agreements between Israel and Muslim states since 1991. The process continued even after Trump left office with talk of an Israeli-Saudi peace initiative as late as September of 2023, even being reported in Aljazera under the headline “Israel-Saudi Arabia ‘normalization’ deal in reach, Netanyahu tells Biden”. Iran and its proxy Hamas would not sit by and allow such a shift. October 7, 2023 saw the launch of Hamas’ Al Aqsa Flood where close to 1200 Israeli’s were murdered by terrorists, 240 were kidnapped and over 4800 were injured. The ensuing Israeli operation in Gaza has brought world-wide condemnation against Israel.

Western Tarshish nations have had a schizophrenic response to Israel’s plight. At one moment they support Israel’s right to defend itself, and then trying to tie its hands behind its back in doing so. The young lions have been much more critical of Israel. Canada’s smug prime minister Trudeau has rushed to the defense of the Palestinians, giving only a paltry nod of the head to Israel when forced. When the United Nations voted for a humanitarian cease fire in December, the United States voted with Israel; the United Kingdom abstained; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa all voted against Israel.

The Houthi Challenge to the Merchants of Tarshish

However, this is not the trajectory the Bible outlines for the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lines.

The picture painted in the Bible is of the mercantile powers gainfully operating in the region. They are there to protest in Ezekiel 38:13:

Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

They form the King of the South that pushes at Turkey (the him in Daniel 11), triggering a response from the King of the North:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)

Because of these scriptures, the angels have had to get involved, and they have done so with the activation of the Houthis.

This small group of bandits in Yemen, named the Houthis, started firing on Western shipping interests entering the Red Sea. All of a sudden, the selfish interests of the merchants of Tarshish have been aroused. Time Magazine reported on the economic impact:

Following the announcement, traffic through the Red Sea dropped by 35%. Commerce hasn’t been blocked completely, since most ships can opt for the longer but safer route around Africa, but the Houthis have increased the cost of shipping globally, imposing additional costs to commerce at a time when trouble at the Panama Canal has already made shipping more complicated and central banks worry about a new inflationary spike. If the Houthi “blockade” continues, the costs to consumers and the impact on local states will be considerable.

The Houthis of Yemen were started by two brothers with the last name of al-Houthi who motivated Yemeni youth with summer camps featuring religious and political speakers such as Hassan Nasrallah the Secretary General of Hezbollah. The Houthi movement has been a reactionary movement focussed against American and Saudi-Arabian influence in the government of Yemen. Yemeni and Saudi government forces fought against the Houthi rebels, but with little success. The Arab Spring of 2011 saw a Yemeni revolution and allowed the Houthi’s to capture more territory. By January 2015 the Houthi’s had taken over the capital, dissolved the parliament and took over the Yemeni government. A coalition of Sunni Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led air strikes against the rebels in Yemen. The US helped plan and coordinate the attacks. The Houthi coalition broke down in 2017 leading to further civil war and the former president Salah was assassinated in his own home.

Donald Trump’s White House Administration designated the Houthis a terrorist organization in January 2021. This designation was repealed by Biden’s White House Administration one month after Biden became president. This caused a rift between the Saudis and the USA. During 2022 the Houthi’s launched multiple missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Following the Hamas attacks on Israel, and Israel’s response in Gaza, the Iran-backed Houthi’s began firing missiles at Israel and at ships off Yemen’s coasts “in support of the Palestinian cause”. It is obvious they are supported by Iran as this rag-tag group of bandits has cruise missiles in its arsenal.

This hostile action has brought a reluctant response of the “mercantile powers” into the region including Canada. The US Fifth Fleet which is stationed in the Gulf region has been responding (along with Britain) to the Houthi attacks on shipping, launching attacks on strategic Houthi military installations inside Yemen. According to a Reuters article published on January 10th:

The attacks have seriously disrupted international commerce on the key route between Europe and Asia that accounts for about 15% of the world’s shipping traffic.

Many shipping companies have been forced to reroute vessels, taking the longer journey around Africa, although several oil majors, refiners and trading houses have continued to use it.

German shipping group Hapag Lloyd said on Tuesday it would continue to avoid the Suez Canal and around the Cape of Good Hope for security reasons, while its Danish rival Maersk has said it would avoid the route “for the foreseeable future”.

The route around the Cape of Good Hope adds approximately 6000 km or 3500 nautical miles to get a container from Asia to Europe. It also adds about 10 days for goods to get there. According to the think tank ING,

“this effectively means that 9 out of 10 containers on the Suez Canal route are currently sailing a longer way. As a result, global container capacity depletion could potentially go up by 20-25%.”

Spot rates, including surcharges on the Shanghai-Rotterdam route, reached $4,400 US on 11 January compared to $1,170 at the start of December for a standardised 40-foot container. Most trade lanes across the world are indirectly affected, and global spot rates have doubled over the same period.

Added to this is drought which has caused many companies shipping from Asia to the USA to avoid using the Panama Canal.

Response of the Merchants of Tarshish and the Young Lions

Although Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia may not support Israel in its moment of need, they will take care of their trade interests.

In a joint statement the leaders of the US, the UK, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, South Korea and Bahrain, stated the strikes were undertaken following numerous warnings to the Houthis, and in accordance with the UN Charter:

“These precision strikes were intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of international mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”

The “Five Eyes” intelligence organizations of the US, UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia are all involved. According to Forbes the “Five Eyes”:

Comprising five English-speaking countries, this powerful intelligence alliance has established an unprecedented era of surveillance and information sharing that continues to shape the world’s approach to national security.

These nations collaboratively work on intelligence matters, pooling their resources and sharing sensitive information to ensure collective security and combat global threats.

It is interesting that this “Five Eyes” group comprise the nations listed by Ezekiel as the Merchants of Tarshish with all the young lions thereof.”

Statements from the different partners are worth considering.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated the following:

“This action was taken in self-defence. It was limited, not escalatory. It was a necessary and proportionate response to a direct threat to UK vessels and therefore to the UK itself. The threats to shipping must cease. Illegally detained vessels and crews must be released. And we remain prepared to back our words with actions.”

He went on to state the Houthi attack

“pushes up prices, and imperils the passage of goods, foods and medicines that the British people and others rely on”.

Sunak added the risk of not taking action:

“would weaken international security and the rule of law, further damage freedom of navigation and the global economy, and send a dangerous message that British vessels and British interests are fair game”.

The Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters that he had committed Australian military to assist:

“We have sent the help that is required. We have operational support there at headquarters in Bahrain. We always give proper and considered analysis and act in Australia’s national interests and that has been the basis of our support up to this point.”

Even Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, ever loathed to support Israel, stated:

“The international community had a responsibility to step up, as laid out by UN Security Council resolutions, and we support the very targeted actions taken by military assets from the U.K. and the U.S.”

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Defence Minister Bill Blair said in a statement Friday that Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed with U.S. Central Command supported the operation.

“Canada condemns the reckless Houthi attacks against commercial ships and crew operating in the Red Sea. They directly impact the flow of food, fuel, humanitarian assistance and other essential commodities to populations around the world, which can affect the global economy. We call on Houthis to cease their attacks immediately, and reiterate that they bear the consequences of their actions. We remain committed to working with our partners in the Middle East to help advance sustainable peace and security in the region.”

According to Radio New Zealand:

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have expressed New Zealand’s support for strikes by the United States and United Kingdom against Houthi targets in Yemen.

Peters said New Zealand was a trading nation which relied on international maritime law and the free flow of goods, and the Houthi actions affected the country’s national security.

“The Houthi attacks are illegal, unacceptable and profoundly destabilising. We and our partners have made repeated calls for them to stop,” Peters said.

“These warnings have not been heeded. The Houthis have only stepped up their attacks, as we saw on 10 January with the launch of further drones and missiles at commercial shipping vessels.”

RNZ also reported the New Zealand Defense Minister, Judith Collins stating:

“This is a good example of the international community uniting to address a serious threat to international security.  Today’s action demonstrated a shared commitment to freedom of navigation, international commerce, and defending the lives of mariners from illegal and unjustifiable attacks. Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea, but let our message be clear: We will not hesitate to defend lives and protect the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.”

Saudi Arabia has not participated in the action, many believe as a snub to the Biden’s Whitehouse for delisting the Houthi’s as a terrorist organization and leaving it to stand alone against the Houthi attacks on its sovereignty. The Houthis are not considered terrorists when they attacked Saudi Arabia, or Israel, but they are if they attack US shipping.  This is a very hypocritical stance but expected by a world governed by avarice and greed.

Bahrain has leant its support, a move that cannot come without Saudi acquiescence.

It is fascinating to see the Merchants of Tarshish, known as the “Ships of Tarshish” with their associated young lions weighing in on the conflict in the region to protect their biblically designated “merchant” role in this arena.

Impact on Egypt and Jordan

The other impact is on Egypt. According to the publication “The New Arab” Egypt is being specifically impacted by the Houthi actions:

The Red Sea also serves as the primary route to the Suez Canal, connecting major European consumers with significant suppliers in Asia. The canal facilitates about 12% of global trade, accounting for over $1 trillion worth of goods annually.

Houthi attacks have heightened risks for vessels approaching the Suez Canal, and their attempts to disrupt global supply chains are already yielding initial impacts.

Marco Forgione, Director General at The Institute of Export & International Trade, told The New Arab that Houthi attacks on commercial ships have significantly increased fuel costs, impacting Egypt’s revenue from shipping tolls.

NDTV World reported of Egypt on January 11:

Attacks by Yemen’s Huthi rebels in the Red Sea have caused shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal — a key source of revenue for Egypt as it battles a deep economic crisis.

International Monetary Fund figures show that 35 percent less cargo was transported through the Suez Canal in the first week of 2024 compared with the same period last year.

Analysts say the financial impact, though limited for now, will become painful if Huthi attacks keep throttling traffic through the main maritime artery connecting Europe and Asia.

The man-made waterway — which officially opened in 1869 — is crucial for Egypt, earning it $9.4 billion in transit fees in the fiscal year 2022/23.

Suez Canal revenues are especially vital for Egypt amid the economic crisis during which the local currency has lost half its value since March 2022 while inflation tops 35 percent.

Egypt’s economy also relies heavily on tourism and on remittances from Egyptian workers abroad, which fell almost 30 percent in July-September 2023 on year, according to the central bank.

Amid the downturn, the Arab world’s most populous country has relied heavily on Suez Canal income both for its military and for social welfare spending.


Jordan has also been experiencing a severe revenue drop. The publication C-Tech reported in mid-December 2023:

According to data published this week in Jordan, cargo handling at the port of Aqaba decreased by 16% last month. The number of ships arriving at the port of Aqaba, which is Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, decreased that month by 14%, and there was also a 33% drop in roll-on/roll-off ships (carrying cars). This decline is a direct result of the security situation as well as the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Jordan, which is also in a delicate economic situation, has in recent years placed emphasis on the development of the Aqaba port and the surrounding economic area as a national project that can drive growth and attract foreign investment. What has been happening since the Houthi attacks began does not help these plans.

This article was published in mid-December. The shipping through the Red Sea has decreased significantly since then, putting pressure on both nations. Although they have been silent, they are hurting economically, and regardless of their politics, they need the US-led alliance to protect their economies.

But what of Sheba?

The other inescapable fact is Yemen is the historical location of “Sheba”. Ezekiel 38:13 is clear that Sheba and Dedan are allied with the Merchants of Tarshish and the young lions and protest the Russian invasion of the Middle East.

The nation of Sheba was a mercantile nation of history rich in spices, gold and precious stones:

The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.” (Ezekiel 27:22)

The queen of Sheba visited Solomon during his reign bringing gifts of spices

And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.” (1 Kings 10:10)

The ancient damns of Sheba used for the irrigation of the spice beds have been located near the ancient city of Marib, the capital of Saba or Sheba. These damns captured the monsoon rains and stored them for irrigation. This city straddles the border between the Houthi controlled area of Yemen and the government controlled area of Yemen. It is about 187km (3.5 hour drive) from Sana’a the former capital of Yemen, now the Houthi capital of Yemen. The Al-Dailami airbase in Sana’a was hit by US missiles on January 11th.

This area has to fall under a regime that works in cooperation with Saudi Arabia (Ancient Dedan) along with the Merchants of Tarshish and its young lions. We can expect to see a dramatic shift in Yemen where this rag-tag band of rebels supported by Iran will be subdued in the coming years. The scriptures speak of them protesting Russia’s invasion of Israel – so a change of government and policy must take place in the near future. How that is achieved, we have yet to see, but their success in their current endeavours is an impossibility in light of the scriptures, save and except to bring the Tarshish powers back into the region again.

We are fascinated as we watch the Bible in the News, and God’s angels at work bring the nations into their roles long-ago predicted by the prophets. This has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.


Thanks for listening to this weeks Bible in the News, this has been David Billington. Please come back next week to www.bibleinthenews.com

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