ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
The Hebrew word so rendered is from a root meaning “to travel about,” “to migrate,” and hence “a traveller.” In the East, in ancient times, merchants travelled about with their merchandise from place to place (Genesis 37:25; Job 6:18), and carried on their trade mainly by bartering (Genesis 37:28; 39:1). After the Hebrews became settled in Canaan they began to engage in commercial pursuits, which gradually expanded (49:13; Deuteronomy 33:18; Judges 5:17), till in the time of Solomon they are found in the chief marts of the world (1 Kings 9:26; 10:11, 26, 28; 22:48; 2 Chronicles 1:16; 9:10, 21). After Solomon's time their trade with foreign nations began to decline. After the Exile it again expanded into wider foreign relations, because now the Jews were scattered in many lands.