While no exact equivalent of the term Phoenician appears in the Bible, the people to whom the Greeks would later give this name are mentioned in the books of Kings and Ezekiel as allies and trade partners of King Solomon. Relatively little is known about them with any certainty, as Philippe Bohstrom writes:
The Phoenicians are famed for being master seamen who traded with the peoples around the Mediterranean, spreading their alphabet as they sailed. . . . [But they] left behind almost no written records, only inscriptions (such as dedications at temples). . . .
Archaeologists have found more than 10,000 sanctuary inscriptions, but they are of little value, since they are all roughly the same. Their writings teach archaeologists a great deal about one particular kind of dedication to the gods; that’s all. . . .
The homeland of the Phoenicians . . . was a narrow strip of coast that more or less corresponds roughly to modern-day Lebanon. Where they may have originated . . . before their first appearance in Lebanon is the subject of much debate.
In the Hebrew Bible, the power of the Phoenicians (such as the king of Tyre) was associated with their ships. The book of Ezekiel says: “Who is there like Tyre . . . thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou fillest many peoples: thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with thy merchandise and thy riches . . . You did business in Spain and took silver, iron, tin, and lead in payment for your abundant goods.”
The archaeological data support, if not all of the details, the big picture painted in the Bible.