Ezekiel 26

 

 

The prophetic messages against Ammon, Moab, Edom, and the Philistines

were comparatively short. That against Tyre spreads over three chapters

(ch.26:1-29:18). The special prominence thus given to the latter

city was probably due to its political importance in Ezekiel’s time, possibly

also to the personal knowledge which may be inferred from his minute

description of its magnificence and its commerce. It is ushered in with

special solemnity as “a word of Jehovah.”

 

1 “And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the

month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”

In the eleventh year, etc. The last date given (ch.24:1)

was the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year (sc. B.C. 590). We

have now come to the eleventh year, on which, on the ninth day of the

fourth month, Jerusalem was taken, while its destruction followed in the

seventh day of the fifth month (Jeremiah 52:6, 12). Here the number of

the month is not given in the Hebrew or the Vulgate, while the Septuagint

inserts the “first month.” In ch. 32:17 we have a like omission, and

in both cases it is natural to assume an error of transcription. The tidings of

the capture may have reached both Tyre and Tel-Abib, and Ezekiel may

have heard of the temper in which the former had received them, just as he

had heard how the nations named in the previous chapter had exulted in the

fall, imminent and, as they thought, inevitable, of the holy city.

 

2  Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha,

she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto

me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:”

 Because that Tyrus, etc. As the nearest great commercial city,

the Venice of the ancient world, Tyre, from the days of David (II Samuel 5:11)

and Solomon (I Kings 5:1) onward, had been prominent in the eyes of the

statesmen and prophets of Judah; and Ezekiel follows in the footsteps of

Joel 3:4; Amos 1:9-10; Isaiah 23., in dealing with it.  The description in vs. 5

and 14 points, not to the city on the mainland, the old Tyre of Joshua 19:29,

which had been taken by Shalmaneser and was afterwards destroyed by

Alexander the Great, but to the island city, the new Tyre, which was, at this

time, the emporium of the ancient world. The extent of her commerce will

meet us in ch.27. Here, too, as in the case of the nations in ch.25.,

Ezekiel’s indignation is roused by the exulting selfishness with which Tyre

had looked on the downfall (actual or imminent, as before) of Jerusalem.

“Now,” her rulers seem to have said, “we shall be the only power in the land

of Canaan.” Jerusalem, that had been the gate of the peoples, was now

broken. The name thus given may imply either:

 

  • that Jerusalem was regarded as to a considerable extent a commercial

city, carrying on much intercourse with the nations with which she was in

alliance, (ch.23:40-41; I Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; Isaiah 2:7; Herod., 3:5,

of Cadytis, i.e. probably Jerusalem); or

 

  • that its temple had, under Hezekiah and Josiah, drawn many proselytes

from the neighboring nations, as in Psalm 87:4-6, and was looking

forward to a yet fuller confluence of men of all races, as in the prophecies

of Micah 4:1-2 and Isaiah 2:2-3 — expectations which may well

have become known to a city like Tyre, in frequent intercourse with Judah.

“Now,” the Tyrians might say, “that hope is shattered.” I shall be

replenished. The interpolated “now” indicates what is, of course, implied,

that Tyre expects her prosperity to increase in proportion to the decline

and fall of Jerusalem.

 

3 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O

Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the

sea causeth his waves to come up.  4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus,

and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her

like the top of a rock.”  As the sea causeth, etc. We note the special appropriateness

of the comparison to the position of the island city.

 

 

Tyre, the England (United States – CY – 2014) of antiquity (vs. 1-3)

 

We have here an outline of the great, desolating judgment that was to fall

upon Tyre; it is more fully described in the succeeding verses of the

chapter, and lamented over in the next chapter. There are several points in

the condition and history of Tyre that call for especial attention to the fate

of this famous city; but the resemblance between Type and England (USA)

is so striking, that we may feel much more interest in Ezekiel’s utterances when

we consider their bearing on our own country in the present day.

 

  • THE SIMILAR PROSPERITY OF TYRE AND ENGLAND (USA).

 

Ø      In wealth. Tyre was one of the richest cities of the East, if not the very

richest. Her splendor was renowned, and the wealth of her merchants

was proverbial. Like England (America) today, she was envied by

other peoples for her worldly prosperity.

 

Ø      Through commerce. The wealth of Tyre was not drawn from rich mines

or fertile soil of her own territory. It was not booty taken in war, like that

of Babylon. Her riches came by trade. Her princes wore merchants. Thus

she was like our “nation of shopkeepers” (or “stockholders – CY – 2014)

 

Ø      By seafaring. The early commerce of Syria was carried on by Midianites

over the desert (Genesis 37:28); but the later and more profitable

commerce was over the waters westward, round the coast of the

Mediterranean and to as far as Cornwall in Britain, perhaps even to the

distant Azores. Like Venice in the Middle Ages, like Spain later, like the

Netherlands after the Reformation, like England today, Tyro in ancient

times was the mistress of the sea. Hence a certain cosmopolitan character.

 

Ø      With constructive art. The vast foundations of Baalbec tell of the

building powers of Tyre. Solomon’s temple was a grand specimen of

Tyrian architecture, built with Tyrian art. We do not equal those great

builders in originality. But inventive genius and manufacturing energy

are characteristic of our race. Thus the material splendor of Tyre has

passed to England (and further points west!  CY – 2014)

 

  • THE FATE OF TYRE A WARNING FOR ENGLAND (AMERICA).

The splendor and prosperity of Tyre did not save her from ruin. Can we see

in her fall any hint of a similar danger threatening our own country?

Consider both its immediate cause and the providential necessity that lay

behind.

 

Ø      The immediate cause. Tyre was overthrown by Babylon (v. 7). She

was not able to withstand the terrific onward march of the Eastern

power.  She was strong at sea, but feeble ashore. She was not a

military power. She proves that wealth will not protect from ruin,

but will rather invite it. The wealth of London (America) is a

temptation to the invader. (Witness terrorism and immigration –

these threats just happens to coincide with America’s turning

her back on God.  Let us remember  When a man’s ways

please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace

with him.”  - Proverbs 16:7 - CY – 2014).  Prosperity is not its

own security.

 

Ø      The providential necessity. Wealth enervates, and no doubt Tyre was

weakened by luxury. But behind such natural operations God, the

Judge of all the earth, saw the sin of Tyre/England/USA.  She/they

Was/were greedy and selfish (v. 2).  Commerce does not always win

friends. By competition it stirs up jealousy. When deceptive or

overreaching, it rouses the antagonism of those on whom it preys.

Tyre was a most wicked city. Her very religion was

shamefully immoral. Though the temple of Jehovah was built by

Tyrian artists, the worship of Jehovah was not accepted by the

Tyrian citizens.  Like Tyre, we may build a temple for others, and

never worship in it ourselves. We may patronize religion, and be

none the better for it. We may send the gospel to the heathen, and

BECOME PAGANS AT HOME!   The temple they built for the

Jews did not save the Tyrians. Nothing can save England (or

The United States – CY – 2014) but the uprightness and the

personal religion of her people.

 

 

Divine Antagonism (v. 3)

 

  • IT IS POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO BE IN ANTAGONISM TO MEN.

We have come to regard the quarrel between man and God as one-sided.

Now, it is one-sided in its origin, its evil, and its malice. God never wishes

to be at war with men, and never originates any breach of the peace. His

conduct throughout is just, considerate, marvelously long-suffering. Even

when the conflict is forced on to an extremity, God never ceases to love His

foolish, fallen children. He is ever waiting to be gracious, longing for signs

of contrition and a door of reconciliation. The origin of the quarrel, its evil,

and its malice are ALL ON OUR SIDE!   But this does not mean that God

takes no part in it, that He only stands before us as an impassive and immobile

granite wall that we may dash our heads against, but that never moves an

inch against us; much less that He gives way before our rebellious

onslaught, and weakly yields to willful opposition on our part. We can

provoke the Lord to anger (Psalm 78:58). “God is angry with the

wicked every day” (Ibid. ch. 7:11). As Lord and Judge, He executes

sentence. By necessity of righteousness, He sets himself in array

against His sinful creatures.

 

  • SIN PROVOKES THE ANTAGONISM OF GOD. God was angry

with Tyre for its wickedness, and His anger was not mitigated by the fact

that the greedy were rejoicing over the calamities of their neighbors. All sin

rouses the anger and active opposition of God. He is not opposed to any

one from prejudice, as men are too often opposed to their neighbors. But

sin, which is opposition to the will of God, must needs be opposed by Him

if that will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This, then, is not a

question for a few rare souls in the awful condition of victims of Divine

displeasure. EVERY SINNER HAS GOD AS AN OPPONENT!    

The fatal punishment of others ought to be a warning. It was not so taken

by Tyre. Instead of seeing a dreadful lesson in the ruin of Jerusalem, the

Tyrians rejoiced over it. Such wickedness the more stirred up the antagonism

of God. Now, these Tyrians were heathen people, judged only according to

their light. Yet they were condemned, for the ground of judgment was

moral evil, not defective theology. But much more must God be in

antagonism to those who have fuller light and yet rebel against Him.

“Therefore thou art inexcusable,” etc. (Romans 2:1).

 

  • CHRIST HAS COME TO PUT AN END TO THE DIVINE

ANTAGONISM. This does not mean that God is reluctant to sheathe

His sword, till Christ succeeds in persuading Him to do so; for our Lord was

sent by His Father for THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF MAKING PEACE!

But the cause of the antagonism had to be removed, and Christ came to

effect that end by making HIS GREAT ATONEMENT FOR SIN! 

Through this also He brought men into a new state of repentance, and

reconciled them to God. Now, we are under the doom of Divine

 antagonism, so long as we live in UNREPENTED SIN.   But the

offer of the gospel shows the way of escape from it in FREE

FORGIVENESS AND PERFECT RESTORATION TO THE

FAVOR OF GOD!L

 

5 “It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea:

for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a

spoil to the nations.”  It shall be a place for the spreading of nets, etc. The

prediction is repeated in v. 14, and after many chances and changes,

apparent revival followed by another period of decay, the present condition

of Tyre strikingly corresponds with it. The travelers of the seventeenth and

eighteenth centuries report that “its inhabitants are only a few poor

wretches that harbor in vaults and subsist upon fishing” (Mandrell, in

1697); that the number of those inhabitants was “only ten, Turks and

Christians” (Hasselquist, in 1751); that there were, a little later on, “fifty or

sixty poor families (Volney, in 1766). During the present century there has

been a partial revival, and Porter, in 1858, estimates its population at from

three to four thousand. The present state of its harbor, as compared with

that of Beyrout, is against any future expansion of its commerce (‘Dict.

Bible,’ s.v. “Tyre”).

 

6 “And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the

sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

The daughters in the field are, according to the usual

symbolism of prophecy, the subject or allied cities on the mainland.

 

 

Collision Between Man’s Plans and God’s Plans (vs. 1-6)

 

Appearance is never a safe guide. It might seem to a carnal eye as if the

downfall of Israel would bring worldly advantage to Tyre. But that

prospect was soon overrun. Righteous obedience is the only safe guide to

men. The path may be, for a time, rough and dark, yet it will bring us into a

PARADISE OF LIGHT!

 

  • NATIONAL SELFISHNESS IS SIN. Nations have their vices as well as

individual persons. If the leaders of a nation cherish evil purposes or pursue

evil plans, unchecked by the subjects of the realm, the whole nation

contracts guilt. Yet if one person or more, moved by better feelings,

discountenances the national deed, that person is exculpated from the

common blame, and shall be owned by God. (Remember that God told

the man with the inkhorn “Go through the midst of the city, through the

midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that

sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst

thereof.”  - ch. 9:4 – I believe that the same is happening in the United

States and the world today, in preparation for the Return of Jesus Christ!

- CY – 2014).  The protection of Noah and his family, of Lot and his

daughters, amid the general destruction, proves the fatherly care of God

for individuals. The single grain in a heap of chaff shall be cared for

by God.

 

  • AN OFFENSE DONE TO A NATION IS AN OFFENSE AGAINST

GOD. Tyre had rejoiced in Jerusalem’s overthrow. Instead of lamenting

Israel’s sins, the people of Tyre had room only for one thought-their own

selfish advantage. The trade of Jerusalem would flow to Tyre. This

calamity in Israel would bring a talent or two of gold into the pockets of

Tyrian traders. What base ground for jubilation! No matter what suffering

or humiliation the Jews may endure, Tyre would add to the smart by taunt

and triumph. But God is not deaf. Into His ears every sound of selfish

boasting came. He weighs every thought and word of man in His balances

of justice. That selfish taunt will not float idly on the summer gale. It is a

grief to Jehovah, and He will repay. “The Lord executeth righteousness and

judgment for all that are oppressed”  (Psalm 103:6).   In all human affairs,

individual or national, God has a real interest. He will never be left out of

 the scenario.

 

  • SELFISH PLANS ABE DOOMED TO REVERSE. Tyre had said, “I

shall be replenished.” God said, “I will make her like the top of a rock.”

Tyre had “reckoned without her host.” Instead of security, she was to be

inundated with invasion. Instead of wealth, there should be want. Instead

of glory, desolation. Her selfish hope should burst like a bubble. The

golden eggs she expected soon to be hatched proved to be the eggs of a

cockatrice. Selfish greed is a bad investment. The desire to promote our

national interests, to the injury of another nation, is not patriotism; it is

selfish envy and pride. Triumph over another’s fall is base, is diabolic.

 

  • SECULAR LOSSES OFTEN BRING REAL GAIN. “They shall

know that I am the Lord.” This is a gain of the noblest kind — a gain that

is abiding and permanent. Such knowledge is better than rubies. The bulk

of men will not learn this lesson in the day of prosperity, but in the cloudy

days of adversity, when all earthly good has vanished, the lesson stands out

clearly before their eyes. Some earthly sciences are best learned in the dark.

This knowledge of God is best learned in the dark hour of affliction. For

when all human calculations have failed, and all human plans have

collapsed, men are compelled to feel that an unseen hand has been

working, an unseen Being has been presiding in their affairs. Of a truth,

THE LORD REIGNETH!”

 

7 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus

Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north,

with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies,

and much people.” I will bring against thee, etc. There is a special emphasis

of abruptness in the way in which Ezekiel brings in the name of the great

Chaldean conqueror (we note, by the way, that he adopts the less common

spelling of the name), of whom he speaks as “king of kings.” The title is

used by Daniel (2:37) of Nebuchadnezzar, and by Artaxerxes of himself

(Ezra 7:12), by Darius in the Nakshi Rustam inscription (‘Records of

the Past,’ 5:151), by Tiglatb-Pileser, with the addition of “lord of lords”

(ibid., 5:8).

 

8 “He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall

make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up

the buckler against thee.  9 And he shall set engines of war against thy

walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.

10 By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover

thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the

wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as

men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.”  (For the usual operations

of a siege, see notes on ch. 4:1-2) The buckler was the roof of shields under

which the besiegers protected themselves from the missiles of the besieged.

For engines of war, read battering-rams; for wheels, wagons. The final result

will be that the breach will be made, with results such as those described in v. 1.

 

11 “With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he

shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall

go down to the ground.”  Thy strong garrisons; literally, the pillars of thy

strength (Revised Version). So the Vulgate, nobiles statuae. So the word is used in

Isaiah 19:19; Jeremiah 43:13; II Kings 3:2. The words probably refer to the two

famous columns standing in the temple of the Tyrian Hercules, one of gold and

one of emerald (possibly malachite or lapis-lazuli), as symbols of strength, or as

pedestals surmounted by a statue of Baal (Herod., 2:44).

 

12 “And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy

merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy

pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and

thy dust in the midst of the water.”  Thy pleasant houses; Hebrew,

houses of desire. The palaces of the merchant-princes of Tyro, stately as

those of Genoa or Venice. In the midst of the water. We are again reminded

that it is the island city of which the prophet speaks.

 

13 “And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps

shall be no more heard.”  There is a time for everything, and singing is not always

seasonable. Nothing can be more unnatural than a forced song. Now, there are

sorrows that quench the most vigorous soul’s delights, as there are storms that beat

down the strongest wings. Such were the calamities that accompanied

Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. Such too were the troubles of the Jewish captives

when they hung their harps upon the willows, and refused to sing the Lord’s song

in a strange land (Psalm 137:2-4). But there will be worse causes of the

silence of old songs in God’s future judgments on sin. Pleasure is no refuge

from trouble. It tempts to hopes that are delusive. No one is safe just

because he feels himself happy. Cheerful people may be in as great danger

as despondent ones.

 

There are times when it would be best for the singer to silence his old

thoughtless song in the sober reflection of repentance. The silence may be a

first step to better things. We are too noisy and too superficial. The hush of

demonstrative life gives us an opportunity of hearing the still small voice of God.

(Psalm 46:10)  When our songs are silenced we may listen to the songs of the

angels. Then that heavenly music may teach us to tune our harps to its higher

melody and inspire our souls with new songs of redemption (Revelation 5:9).

 

14 “And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread

nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith

the Lord GOD.” The noise of thy songs. As in the imagery, of Isaiah 23:16,

Tyre seems to have been famous for its music — the operatic city, as it were,

of the ancient world — eminent no less for its culture than its commerce

(compare ch.28:13).  The description of the desolation of the captured city is

summed up once more in the words of v. 5. It shall be a place to

spread nets upon.”

 

 

A Miracle of Foreknowledge (vs. 7-14)

 

False prophets discourse only in general terms and in ambiguous language.

Their announcements may have the most contrary meanings. At best they

are happy conjectures, fortunate guesses. But the prophecies of Scripture

are like sunlight compared with such a phosphorescent flame. The

clearness and fullness of these prophetic utterances can be accounted for

only as A REVELATION FROM AN OMNISCIENT GOD!

 

  • DIVINE PREDICTIONS ARE ALWAYS RIGHTEOUS IN THEIR

SUBSTANCE. The predictions of pretentious men are usually trivial —

the effect of a prurient curiosity. God’s revelations of the future are always

concerned in the rebuke of sin and in the furtherance of righteousness. As

in the manufacture of cordage in our Government arsenals a worsted

thread of a distinct color runs through every yard of rope, so through all

God’s dealings with men this principle of righteousness is ever prominent.

What does not serve a righteous end IS NOT OF GOD!

 

  • DIVINE PREDICTIONS ARE CLEAR IN THEIR

ANNOUNCEMENTS. There is no ambiguity, no double meaning, here.

No one is left in doubt whether the event to happen is to be favorable or

unfavorable. No one is left in doubt what place or people is the subject

matter of the prophecy. In this case every circumstance is narrated with as

much minuteness of detail as if it were a piece of history acted before the

eye of the speaker. The place to be overthrown, its peculiar situation and

structure, its former greatness and splendor, the name of the invader, all his

military enginery and tactics, the steps by which he should proceed, and the

extent of his triumph, are announced beforehand with a dearness and

definiteness THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM A SUPERNATURAL

SOURCE!   The contents of the prophecy are often so unlikely in themselves

that no human foresight, however shrewd, would conceive such issues; and

the fulfillment of such improbable predictions most plainly indicate the

operation of A DIVINE MIND!

 

  • DIVINE PREDICTIONS ARE CERTAIN IN THEIR

FULFILMENT. “I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord.” The true

prophet of Jehovah is modest and self-oblivious. He does not speak in his

own name. He keeps himself in the background. His object is to exalt his

Master and to gain homage for Him. The predictions of God always take

effect. For with God there is no future. He sees things distant as though

they were near. Looking along the vista of ages, He perceives how every

event unfolds from preceding event. The history of men and of nations is,

to His eye, drawn out in long perspective. And His word is the mightiest

force in the universe. He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9);

 “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made  (Ibid. v. 6);

“By the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.  (Isaiah 11:4)

 

  • DIVINE PREDICTIONS ARE MERCIFUL IN THEIR

INTENTIONS. Wherefore did God declare beforehand this coming

suffering and disaster? Was it not enough to endure the calamity when the

destined hour came? As the main design was to promote righteousness,

this shall be done, if possible, in a way of mercy. The prediction would

serve to instruct and console the Jews in captivity. It would be beneficial

for them to be convinced that Jehovah ruled in all the affairs of men. If the

prophecy reached the ears of the King of Babylon, it would serve a good

purpose for him to know that he was a servant of the King of heaven, that

his army was under the control of God, and that the success of his military

expeditions depended on the good will of Jehovah. And if the prophecy

should be repeated in the ears of the Tyrians, who can tell that some

among them may repent and opportunely escape from the catastrophe? To

foreshadow the dread event is an act of kindness, which the humble and

teachable would appreciate.

 

15  Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the

sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is

made in the midst of thee?” Shall not the isles, etc.? The Hebrew word is

used in a wider sense, as including all settlements on the sea-coast as well

as islands. So it is used of Philistia (Isaiah 20:6), and of the maritime states

of Asia Minor (Daniel 11:18), of the east and south coasts of Arabia

(ch.27:15). Looking to the extent of commerce described in ch.27., it probably

includes all the Mediterranean settlements of the Tyrians, possibly also those

in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. The report of the fall of Tyre was

to spread far and wide.

 

16 “Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones,

and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they

shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the

ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at

thee.” The princes of the sea are not the kings of the isles, but the

merchant-princes of the city (Isaiah 23:8). They shall lay aside their

robes of state — Tyrian purple embroidered with gold and silver — and

shall put on the garments of mourners. Jonah 3:6 presents an

interesting parallel. The word thrones is used, as in I Samuel 4:13, for

any chair of state, as that of priest or judge (Proverbs 9:14; Esther 3:1),

as well as for the specifically kingly throne. For the, most part,

however, the later meaning is dominant.

 

17 “And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How

art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the

renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her

inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!”

Inhabited of seafaring, etc.; Hebrew, from the seas. The

sense is the same, but we lose the poetry of the original in the paraphrase.

Possibly, however, the phrase may represent the position of Tyre as rising

out of the sea or as deriving its wealth from it.

 

18 “Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that

are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.”  It is noticeable that the

commercial policy of Tyre is not represented as having been oppressive. The

isles do not exult in their deliverance, but mourn over the captured city whose

commerce had contributed to their prosperity. The “terror” of v. 17 is rather

the impression of awe and wonder made on all who came to it.

 

 

19 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall make thee a desolate

city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the

deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;” When I shall bring up

 the sea. The picture of desolation is completed. The sea washes over the bare

rock that was once covered with the palaces of the merchant-princes.

 

20 “When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit,

with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of

the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the

pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of

the living;” When I shall bring thee down, etc. The pit is sheol, Hades,

the unseen world of the dead. The image may have been suggested by

Isaiah 14:9, where it is used of Babylon. It was obviously one on which

the mind of Ezekiel dwelt, and is reproduced in ch.32:17-32.

Here, apparently, the sinking in the depth of the waters (v. 19) is

thought of as leading to that world of the dead that lay beneath them. The

people of old time may possibly include the races of the old world that

were submerged in the waters of the Flood. The imagery of Psalm 88:3-7

seems to have been floating before the prophet’s mind. I shall set

glory; better, will set. The contrast drawn is that between the shadow-

world of the dead, and the earth with its living inhabitants. There Jehovah

would establish His glory, would, sooner or later, manifest His kingdom,

while Tyre and its pomp should be no more, belonging only to the past.

Conjectural readings and renderings have been suggested as follows:

 

21 I” will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou

be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.”

I will make thee a terror. Ewald translates, “To sudden death will I bring thee,”

which corresponds with the margin of the Revised Version, I will make thee

a destruction.

 

 

Glory Departed (vs. 15-21)

 

A more imaginative and pathetic picture than that painted in these words

will scarcely be found in revelation, or indeed in all literature. The

anticipation of Tyre’s destruction seems to have awakened all the poetry of

the prophet’s nature. And no wonder; for never was a contrast more

marked and more significant than that between:

 

  • Tyre in its grandeur and
  • Tyre in its desolation.

 

The isles shake with the resounding crash of the city’s fall. The groans of the

wounded and the dying are heard afar. Princes exchange their splendor for

trembling and astonishment. The city strong in the sea has fallen weak and

helpless in the day of Divine judgment. And the seamen who were Tyre’s

glory and security are no more to be found.  (In the end there will be

tsunamis“the sea and the waves roaring” – Luke 21:25  - CY - 2014).

Terror and trembling are upon those who dwell in the islands of the deep.

Where Tyre reared herself in opulence, grandeur, and pride, the sea breaks

upon the deserted rocks, and upon the ruins strewn in disorder by the

lonely shore. The waters engulf the merchants, the seafaring men, and all

those who minister to the pomp and pleasures of a wealthy and luxurious

city. Tyre is as though it had not been; men seek the city, and it is not

found.

 

  • THE GRIEF AND LAMENTATION OF THOSE WHO SHARED IN

THE CITY’S PROSPERITY AND GREATNESS, AND WHO LOSE

AND SUFFER BY ITS FALL. Some survived the destruction of Tyre, to

cherish the memory of days of wealth and feasting, haughtiness and

boasting. Some escaped with life, but with the loss of all which to them

made life precious. And others, who had brought their merchandise to the

great Phoenician emporium, now found no market for the commodities

they produced. For all such material loss gave sincerity and even bitterness

to their mourning and woe.  (Since America has turned her back on God,

one of the gods which she has espoused is MATERIALISM.  A

characteristic of mankind, prior to Christ’s Second Coming, will be

accepting the “mark of the beast” – Revelation 13:16-18 – In my

opinion, the current wide acceptance of tattoos is a softening predecessor

of this! – CY – 2014)

 

  • THE GRIEF AND LAMENTATION OF THOSE WHO

WITNESSED THE CITY’S DESTRUCTION, AND WHO WERE

IMPRESSED AND APPALLED BY THE SPECTACLE. Ezekiel himself

was one of these. Even the conquerors could scarcely fail to feel the pathos

of the situation, and to cherish some sympathy for the city whose splendor

and power their arms had brought to an end. The ruin of Tyre was a loss to

the nations of the world. (The nations are dealt with in ways in which they

fully understand!  “They shall know that I am God  - I recommend

Ezekiel – God’s Use of the Word Know – this website – CY – 2014)

Embodying, as the city did, THE WORLD SPIRIT – (Dear Reader,

have you ever heard of the term “Global Economy?”  - CY – 2014),

civic and commercial greatness, it must needs have awakened poignant

feelings of desolation in the hearts of many who had no personal,

material interest in Tyrian commerce. The lesson of the frailty and

perishableness of earthly greatness, even if its moral side was missed,

could not but impress the historical imagination.

 

  • THE GRIEF AND LAMENTATION OF THOSE WHO IN AFTERTIME

INQUIRE FOR THE CITY WHOSE GREATNESS AND

SPLENDOR ARE RECORDED IN TRADITION AND IN HISTORY.

The traveler who, impelled by curiosity or by historical interest, seeks for

the site of Tyre the magnificent, learns that every trace of the city has

vanished. Some ruined, deserted cities, famous in story, leave behind them

some ruin, some memorial, to which imagination may attach the traditions

of the past. But for Tyre the traveler can only inquire from the waves that

beat upon the shore, from the rocks where the fishermen spread their nets.

“Though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, SAITH

THE LORD GOD.”

 

  • THE TEMPORARY AND DEPARTED SPLENDORS OF EARTH

SUGGEST BY CONTRAST ETERNAL AND UNFADING GLORY.

Who can contemplate the ruin of such a city as Tyre without being

reminded of “the city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is

God”?  (Hebrews 11:10)  which the glory of God illumines with nightless

splendor, and into which are brought the glory and honor of the nations?

(Revelation 21:23-24

 

 

 

 

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Vers. 15-21.

National disaster becomes a public lesson.

The world of men is one, although nationalities are many. There is a thread

of unity on which the separate jewels of humanity are strung. What affects

one affects, in some measure, the whole.

I. THERE IS MUTUAL INTERDEPENDENCE OF NATIONS. Nations,

like individuals, have been incarnations of selfishness. They have tried to

aggrandize for self alone, but they have failed, and in most cases the failure

has been a disaster. In respect to material property obtained through

commerce, it is emphatically true that the prosperity must be shared by

others. God will not allow any nation to retain every particle of its riches

within itself. To be most prosperous, it must make others partakers of its

wealth. The real welfare of one nation may be the welfare of all. Stable

prosperity is diffusive.

II. MATERIAL PROSPERITY IS POWER. It brings position, honor, and

extensive influence. The isles and lands with which Tyre traded held her in

high repute. Many of the traders in other parts grew rich, gained powerful

influence, became in their circles princes, and sat upon thrones. It is power,

less potent than knowledge — power of an inferior sort — yet it is a

perceptible power. It gives leisure for investigation and discovery. It can

purchase stores of good. It can be converted into various forms of utility.

III. MATERIAL PROSPERITY KS VERY INSECURE. It often

awakens the envy and the cupidity of others. It germinates pride in its

possessor, and not pride only, but also arrogance and oppressiveness. In

the natural course of things reaction appears. The oppressed classes

combine and rise. Offence given to another nation in a spirit of overbearing

arrogance awakens resentment, provokes vengeance. The wealthy nation is

over-confident in its security and in its natural defenses. But a little

shrewdness or contrivance undermines every natural defense, or else

confidence in men disappoints, and in an hour the fancied security is

dissipated.

IV. THE FALL OF ONE NATION IS A GRIEF TO MANY NATIONS.

“They shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say, How art thou

destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city!” Some

selfish peoples would rejoice that a rival and a menace was overthrown.

But others would be plunged into profound grief. Their traffic would be

diminished, perhaps destroyed. Still worse, if Tyre, so mighty, so welldefended,

be overthrown, what security have we? The downfall of Tyre

shook the foundations of other empires, shook the hearts of many

thoughtful men. It was evident that every kind of material defense was a

broken reed.

V. TRUE LIFE IS THE ONLY TRUE GLORY. “I shall set glory in the

land of the living.” The only permanent life is a righteous life. Other life is

ephemeral. This abides, this is eternal. Righteousness not only “exalts a

nation,” it consolidates and establishes it also. The” land of the living” is

the empire of righteousness — the true holy land. The kingdom which is

built on righteous principles is the kingdom of Christ. Every other kingdom

has wood and hay and stubble intermixed with the gold and silver of

sterling goodness. So far as righteous life prevails in any land on earth, so

far will true and permanent glory abide there. All other foundations, all

other defense, can and will be shaken. — D