Ezekiel 28



1 “The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,”

From the city the prophet passes to its ruler, who concentrated

in himself whatever was most arrogant and boastful in the temper of his

people. He is described here as a “prince,” in v. 12 as “king,” and the

combination of the two words points probably to some peculiarity of the

Tyrian constitution. “Prince” it will be remembered, is constantly used by

Ezekiel of Zedekiah (ch. 7:27; 12:20, el al.). The King of Tyre at

the time was Ithobal or Ethbaal III. (Josephus, ‘Contra Apion,’ 1:21), who

had taken part with Pharaoh-Hophra and Zedekiah in the league against

Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel’s description of what one may call his self-apotheosis

may probably have rested on a personal knowledge of the man

or of official documents.


2 “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord

GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a

God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a

man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:”

I am a God. We are reminded of Isaiah’s words (14:13-14) as

to the King of Babylon. Did Ezekiel emphasize and amplify the boasts of

Ethbaal, with a side-glance at the Chaldean king, who also was lifted up in

the pride of his heart (Daniel 4:30)? For like examples, see the boast of

Hophra, in ch. 29:3; and the praise given to Herod Agrippa by the

Tyrians (Acts 12:20-23). It is noticeable that Paul’s description of the

man of sin (II Thessalonians 2:4) presents the same picture in nearly the

same words. I sit in the seat of God, etc. Tyre was known as the Holy

Island (Sanchon., edit. Orelli, p. 36). The city was thought of as rising from

its waters like the rock-throne of God. Though thou set thy heart. The

words remind us of the temptation in Genesis 3:5. To forget the

limitations of human ignorance and weakness, to claim an authority and

demand a homage which belong to God, was the sin of the Prince of Tyre,

as it had been that of Sennacherib, as it was of Nebuchadnezzar, as it has

been since of the emperors of Rome, and of other rulers.


In the zenith of its prosperity, the acme of its power, Tyre is confronted by a force

mightier than its own. The agency is the king and army of Babylon; but the great

Actor in the awful scenes which transpire is none other than the Eternal

Himself. The forces of Tyre are defeated, the fleets of Tyre destroyed, the

walls of Tyre razed, the wealth of Tyre dispersed, the city of Tyre itself

demolished. “Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but

thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.”

Here is something more than disproof; here is reversal, refutation, annihilation.

Pride is humbled to the dust; and the proud are scattered and are no more.



A Prince’s Sin (v. 2)



the two previous chapters the prophet denounced judgment on the city of

Tyre, and lamented its approaching accomplishment. Now he turns to the

ruler of the city, selecting him for an ugly pre-eminence of guilt. This man

is entrusted with the weal of the city. If Tyre is doomed, a heavy share of

the blame must lie at his door. It is a fearful thing to be responsible for the

fate of so great and splendid a community. In the sight of God

accountability is always measured by power. Heedless men grasp hastily at

the reins of government, little considering how severe must be the

judgment of Heaven if they abuse their great trust. It is no light thing to be

in a position of influence over our fellow-men. We need, therefore,

especially to pray for the souls of princes and governors.  The ambition that

craves their privileges might be restrained if people considered the terrible

questions that they will have to answer when called upon to give an

account of their stewardship.



Tyre exclaims, “I am a God, I sit in the seat of God.” There are many

temptations to this sin of pride.


Ø      Power. Holding high office necessarily confers great influence. The

man in power may really be a weak person, but he has great resources

at his command. Thus he is inclined to think too much of himself, and

to transfer to the score of his merits what really only belongs to his



Ø      Flattery. The prince is not the only person to blame. They are highly

culpable who encourage him in a belief in his own greatness by their

base adulation. All people in office need to beware of the honeyed

words of those beneath them.



prince compares himself to a god, and his throne to the seat of a god. This

implies two evils.


Ø      Godlessness. Carrying out this notion in practice, the Prince of Tyre

refuses to humble himself in the sight of Heaven. As all men bow to

him, he is tempted to forget that he should look up to and bow

before a higher Power.


Ø      Rebellion against God. The proud ruler usurps the place of God. He

elects to become an earthly providence. He dispenses with any

reference to the holy will of the Supreme and sets up his own will

as the highest authority. (Even though we do not have a king in the

United States, we have three branches of government controlled

by 545 people:


o       435 Representatives,

o       100 Senators,

o       1 President and

o       9 justices on the Supreme Court!


Basically our government has gone one step further and is in

the process of dispensing with making any reference to God?

It will be with the same consequences that the leadership of

Tyre suffered!  - CY – 2014)




are seen in its contagious influence and in, its punishment.


Ø      Its influence. The bad ruler is like Jeroboam, whose awful climax of

wickedness was seen in the fact that he “made Israel to sin” (I Kings

15:30). The power of a bad ruler is one that makes for wickedness. It

sows seeds of sin broadcast. Society takes its fashion from the court,

and then each order of the community from that next above it. It is a

fearful thing to be the leader of a fashion of wickedness.


Ø      Its punishment. The ruler’s sin brings misery on the nation. The people

must reap the consequences of the misdeeds of their princes (Especially

when “they love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31). Tyre’s doom

is the heavier because her prince is a bad man. Therefore:


o       the people should look well to the characters of the men

they put in office;  (Recently, our leader, formerly a

community organizer, was not adequately vetted and

there has been much controversy in his presidency – CY –



o       all persons in authority should dread the double guilt of

bringing ruin on the multitude as well as wrecking their

own lives.


3 “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can

hide from thee:  4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast

gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:

5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy

riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:  6 Therefore thus

saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;”

Thou art wiser than Daniel, etc. There is, of course, a marked

irony in the words. Daniel was for Ezekiel — and there seems something

singularly humble and pathetic in the prophet’s reverence for his

contemporary — the ideal at once of righteousness (ch.14:14) and

of wisdom. He was a revealer of the secrets of the future, and read the

hearts of men. His fame was spread far and wide through the Chaldean

empire. And this was the man with whom the King of Tyre compared

himself with a self-satisfied sense of superiority, and he found the proof of

his higher wisdom in his wealth. Here, again, I venture to trace a sidethrust

at Nebuchadnezzar and his tendencies in the same direction, “Is not

this great Babylon, which I have builded?”  (Daniel 4:30)


The proud Prince of Tyre vainly pretends to excel this high wisdom of Daniel

and exhibits the mockery of worldly wisdom.  Its nature is “earthly, sensual,

devilish (James 3:15). The wisdom of the Prince of Tyre was seen in his successful

management of the commercial affairs of his city. It did not touch the counsels of

God  (along the lines of “IT IS THE ECONOMY, STUPID!” – CY – 2014),


  • it had no bearing on the true welfare of the state;
  • it gave no insight into the essentially corrupt condition of the city; and,
  • it was entirely lacking in foresight of impending doom.


But it was in a large measure successful in opening up new markets,

favoring mercantile exchange, and generally promoting the

trade interests of the community.  (“IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID” –

however, it did nothing to deliver the city, its people, or their souls! Like

Jerusalem, for all the good their wealth will do in the Day of the Wrath

of the Lord, “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold

shall be removed:  their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver

them in the day of the wrath of the Lord:  they shall not satisfy their

souls, neither fill their bowels:  BECAUSE IT IS THE STUMBLING-

BLOCK OF THEIR INIQUITY  - ch. 7:19 – CY – 2014).  This was its

highest attainment. There are many people in the present day whose minds

are entirely absorbed in similar subjects. They are keen men of business,

and they imagine that their astuteness in making money is the height of

wisdom. Flattered by temporary success, they despise all other considerations

as dreamy. The intelligence that makes money is with them true wisdom; all

else is but so much wasted thinking. However, the folly of this shows through!

This wisdom, when held to be supreme, is really foolishness, because then IT


throw dust in the eyes of people, even if this be gold-dust. (The Jews in after

time were wont to say that never any trouble came upon them WITHOUT AN


The supposed wisdom of the Prince of Tyre was one element that contributed to

his ruin, because it prevented him from seeing approaching danger, in the

confidence of his worldly success. The wisdom of the world is foolishness


KNOW!   Thus the proudly wise may perish, while the foolish in this world

are endowed with heavenly wisdom, especially that highest wisdom of the

gospel of Christ (I Corinthians 1:24-25).


7 “Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of

the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of

thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.” I will bring strangers, etc.

These are, of course, the hosts of many nations that made up the Chaldean army

(compare the parallel of ch. 30:11 and 31:12). The beauty of thy wisdom is that

of the city on which the prince looked as having been produced by his policy.


8 “They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths

of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.  9 Wilt thou yet say before him

that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand

of him that slayeth thee.”  The effect of the Chaldean invasion was to bring the

king down to the nether world of the dead. In the use of the plural “deaths” we

have a parallel to the “plurima morris imago” of Virgil (‘AEneid,’ 2:369).

And this death was not to be like that of a hero-warrior, but as that of

those who are slain in the midst of the seas, who fall, i.e., in a naval battle, and

are cast into the waters. Would he then repeat his boast, I am God?


10 “Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of

strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”  The climax comes in

the strongest language of Hebrew scorn.  As the uncircumcised were to the Israelite

(I Samuel 17:36; 31:4), so should the King of Tyre, unhonored, unwept, with no

outward marks of reverence, be among the great ones of the past who dwell in

Hades.  Ezekiel returns to the phrase in ch. 31:18; 32:24. The words

receive a special force from the fact that the Phoenicians practiced

circumcision before their intercourse with the Greeks (Herod., 2:104).


“I have spoken it saith the Lord God” GOD’S WORD IS MIGHTIER

THAN ALL HUMAN RESOURCES.  In the largest sense it is true that

we cannot go against the word of the Lord. God’s word is the revelation

of His thought, purpose, and will. It is omnipotent resolve interpreted into

speech. “He spake, and it was done  (Genesis 1:3; Psalm 33:9).  A word

becomes a world. (I highly recommend Fantastic Trip – You Tube – CY –

2014).  A breath of God sweeps the earth like a tornado. A promise is a ladder

by which we can climb to the skies; it is a ship that will bear us away safely to

the eternal haven. One word of God is a feast that will nourish the life of our

soul for ages. It is a refuge in which we may securely hide. Jehovah’s word is a

rampart, from behind which we may calmly defy ten thousand foes. It is a

wall of fire that never has been broken through. That word is more worth

than all bankers’ coffers — than all Californian mines. It is a title-deed to




The Folly of Worldly Wisdom (vs. 3-10)


It might not have occurred to an ordinary observer that Tyre owed its

position to its wisdom, and its downfall to an unwise confidence in that

wisdom. But the Prophet Ezekiel looked below the surface, and traced the

arrogance and presumptuous ungodliness of the great city to its claim to

worldly prudence, sagacity, and skill, which, being substituted for true and

Divine wisdom, became the occasion of the city’s DOWNFALL and




respect to earthly good, prescribing means by which health of body, riches

and luxuries, worldly honor, etc., may be attained. It bounds its regards by

the horizon of earth and time. It employs instrumentalities which

experience approves as efficacious. It takes counsel of the prosperous and

the honored. It pursues patiently and persistently aims which are mundane

and which are within human reach, wasting no time (as it would say) upon

ethereal sentiment, imaginary and ideal perfection, Utopian schemes.


  • THE FRUIT OF THIS WISDOM. The case of Tyre is to the point.

The understanding and skill for which the Tyrian merchants and mariners

were noted were not employed in vain. Success was their attestation and

approval. Uncertainty is indeed distinctive of all human endeavor and

undertaking. But a large measure of success may fairly be reckoned upon

as likely to be secured by the use of means devised by the wisdom of this

world. As a man soweth, so does he reap. (“He that soweth to his flesh

shall of the flesh, reap corruption.” – Galatians 6:8).


  • THE BOAST OF THIS WISDOM. Tyre claimed to be wiser than

Daniel, and to be able to penetrate all secrets. There are those who would

think it vulgar and contemptible to boast of their birth, their wealth, their

honors, who, however, are not above boasting of their insight, sagacity,

and prudence. They would never have fallen into errors which misled their

neighbors! They would have known how to deal with such a person, how

to contend with such difficulties, how to adapt themselves to such

circumstances! Trust them to find their way, however intricate its



  • THE TRIAL OF THIS WISDOM. It is admitted that, in ordinary

circumstances and times, worldly wisdom is sufficient to preserve a man

and a nation from calamities, to secure to them many and real advantages.

But every true student of human nature and human history is aware that

times of exceptional probation and difficulty have to be encountered. It is

so in the life of every man, it is so in the history of every people. The

principles which served well enough before are useless now. The men of

the world are at a loss, and know not whither to turn. The crisis has come:

how shall it be met?  “What will ye do in the end thereof?  (Jeremiah 5:31)


  • THE VANITY OF THIS WISDOM. Mere cleverness and fox-like

keenness, mere experience upon the low level of expediency, are proved in

times of trial to be altogether worthless. Deeply rooted convictions of

Divine truth, and habits of reverential conformity to laws of Divine

righteousness, “the fear of the Lord” (in the language of Scripture), —

SUCH ARE TRUE WISDOM!  Anything short of this must issue in

disappointment and powerlessness. Human expediencies may carry us a

long way, but a point is reached where they fail, and where their

worthlessness is made apparent. Such a point was reached in the history

of Tyre, (Since the USA has turned its back on God, we are rapidly

reaching this point!  Witness the overflux of immigration, the willing

deception of the press, liberal judges,  poor legislative leaders, very

poor leadership in the White House a general populace looking for

entitlements! – CY – 2014),  when it was found that wealth could not

buy off the hostility of Babylon, and that mercenaries could not resist

Babylonian arms or policy overcome Babylonian persistence.



language of the prophet upon this is singular and suggestive: “I will bring

strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their

swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy

brightness.” The wisdom in which the Tyrians trusted, and which excited

the admiration of their neighbors and rivals, could not withstand the attack

of Oriental soldiery and tactics. It was boasted in days of prosperity; but in

the day of adversity its strength was small.



There are times when professions are accepted as valid and trustworthy;

but there are also times when professions are of no avail, and when solid

facts and realities alone will abide. As in the case of Tyre, the wisdom

which is weighed in the balances and is found wanting is utterly

discredited. Men despise what formerly they praised. Such is the fate to

which the wisdom of the worldly wise is doomed. “It is written, I will

destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I

reject.   Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

(I Corinthians 1:19-20)


11 “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say

unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full

of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”  Thou sealest up the sum, etc. The noun is

found only there and in ch. 43:10, where it is translated “pattern,” but is cognate

with the word rendered “tale” (equivalent to “measure”) of Exodus 5:13, and

measure in ch. 45:11. The probable meaning is, Thou settest the seal to thy

completeness (perfection). Thou deemest that thou hast attained the consummation

of all beauty and wisdom. The Septuagint and the Vulgate give, “Thou art a seal;”

and this suggests a parallelism with Jeremiah’s words to Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24).

The words were, of course, written with a keen irony. This was what the King

of Tyre thought of himself.


13 “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone

was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl,

the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the

carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy

pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”

Thou hast been in Eden, etc. The words are suggestive, as

showing that Ezekiel was familiar with the history of Genesis 2. and 3.

(compare the mention of Noah, in ch.14:14, 20). To him the King of

Tyre seemed to claim a position like that of Adam before his fall, perfect in

beauty and in wisdom, the lord of the creation. And in that fancied Eden he

stood, so he thought, not like Adam, “naked and ashamed,” but like one of

the cherubim that guarded the gates of the primeval Paradise (Genesis 3:24),

covered with all imaginable splendor. Ezekiel returns to the phrase

in ch.31:8, 16, 18 and 36:35. Other instances meet us in Joel 2:3 and

Isaiah 51:3. Every precious stone. All the stones named are

found in the list of the gems on the high priest’s breastplate (Exodus

28:17-20; 39:8-14). Three, however, of those gems are wanting — those in

the third row of the breastplate — which are not named elsewhere; and the

order is not the same. The Septuagint makes the two lists identical, apparently

correcting Ezekiel by Exodus.  John (Revelation 21:19-20) reproduces

his imagery in his vision of the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem,

but naturally returns to the fullness of the symbolic number — twelve.

Possibly the description of gold and bdellium and onyx (or beryl), as in

Genesis 2:11-12, may have suggested the thought that Eden was a land

of jewels. The workmanship of thy tabret and pipes; better, the service.

The Authorized Version and Revised Version follow Luther. Keil agrees as

to tabret (so Genesis 31:27; Isaiah 5:12; elsewhere, as in Exodus 15:20

and Job 21:12, the Authorized Version gives timbrels), but takes the

latter word (not found elsewhere) as identical with its feminine form,

and meaning “female.” He sees in the clause, accordingly, a picture of the

pomp of the Tyrian king, surrounded by the odalisques of the harem, who,

with their timbrels, danced to his honor as their lord and king (compare

Isaiah 23:16; Exodus 15:20; I Samuel 18:6). Havernick, who agrees with Keil,

calls attention to a passage in Athenaeus (12:8. p. 531), in which Strafe, a

Sidonian king, is said to have prepared for a great festival by bringing girls who

played on the flute and harp from all parts of Greece. Others, however (Smend),

find in both the words articles of jewelry, pearls perforated or set in gold (as in

Exodus 28:20), and so see in them the conclusion of the description of the

gorgeous apparel of the king. Furst takes the words as meaning musical

instruments that were of gold set with jewels. Ewald, following out the

Urim and Thummim idea, takes the gems as the subject of the sentence,

and translates, “they were for the work of thine oracles and divining.” On

the whole, the interpretation given above seems preferable. In the day

that thou wast created. The words point to the time of the king’s

enthronement or coronation. It was then that he appeared in all his

supreme magnificence. Had Ezekiel been a witness of that ceremony?


14 “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so:

thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and

down in the midst of the stones of fire.”  The anointed cherub that covereth.

The word for “anointed” is not found elsewhere, but is cognate in form with

that which is commonly so rendered. The Vulgate, however, tracing it to another

root, gives extentus et protegens, and is followed by Luther, Gesenius, Ewald,

and others. Keil and Hengstenberg accept “anointed.” The sequence of

thought seems to be as follows: The splendor-of the King of Tyre had

suggested the idea of Eden the garden of God. This, in its turn, led on to

that of the cherub that was the warder of that garden (Genesis 3:24).

The Paradise of God is pictured as still existing, and the cherub — we

remember how prominent the word and the thing had been in Ezekiel’s

thoughts (ch. 1:10; 10:1-16) — is there (according as we take the

above words) either as its anointed, i.e. “consecrated,” ruler, or as

extending the protection of its overshadowing wings far and wide as the

cherubim of the tabernacle extended their wings over the ark (compare

Exodus 25:20; 33:22; I Kings 8:7). Those cherubim, we may

remember, were actually anointed (Exodus 30:2, 6). The King of Tyre

boasted that he was, like them, consecrated to his office as king “by the

grace of God.” In that earthly Paradise the prophet saw the “holy mountain

of God,” the Olympus, so to speak, of the Hebrews, the throne of the

Eternal (compare the Meru of India, the Albard of Iran, the Asgard of

German poetry). Isaiah’s words as to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:13-14)

present a suggestive parallel. In the midst of the stones of fire.

The words receive their interpretation partly from Genesis 3:24; partly

From II Samuel 22:9, 15; Psalm 18:8, 12; 120:4. The cherub’s

sword of fire is identified with the lightning-flash, and that in its turn with

the thunderbolts of God. Out of the throne of God went thunders and

lightnings (Exodus 19:16). The King of Tyre, like the King of Babylon

(Isaiah 14:13-14), is painted as exulting in that attribute of the Divine glory.


15 “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,

till iniquity was found in thee.”


The Innocence of Early Days (v. 15)




Ø      In the race. The Bible represents Adam and Eve as commencing life in

primitive innocence. However we may interpret the narrative in Genesis

as literal history or as allegory — if we attach any inspired authority to

it we must see that it points back to a time when man lived in childlike

innocence and ignorance of evil.


Ø      In the nation. Even Tyre, wicked, corrupt Tyre, had once known better

days. Nearly every people has traditions of a good age preceding the

later corruptions. We do not see that the heathen are advancing. On the

other hand, behind idolatry there are often to be discovered shreds of

an ancient faith in one spiritual God. Thus the Vedas show a purer

religion and a higher thought than are to be found in modern Hinduism.

We may believe that God is educating the world, and yet see that vast

portions of it do not as yet respond to the uplifting influences.


Ø      In the individual. Children begin life in innocency. Though they come

into the world with hereditary tendencies to evil, those tendencies are at

first latent, and until they have received the consent of the will they

cannot be accounted elements of guilt. Concerning little children our

Lord said, “Of such is the kingdom of God (Mark 10:14).





Ø      In the community. Man was not created corrupt. He cannot lay the

charge of his sin against his Maker. THERE HAS BEEN A FALL!

Degeneracy is especially evil. To go from good to bad and from bad

to worse in a descending scale of wickedness is to be without excuse

in sin.


Ø      In the individual. The child who has never known goodness can

scarcely be blamed for living a bad life. He can hardly be said to

have chosen evil rather than good, for he has had no alternative

set before him. (Bad news for the modern child and THE

ELUSIVE DEAD BEAT DAD! – CY – 2014)  But it is

otherwise with one who has begun well. Israel is the more to blame

because her goodness was like the morning cloud (Hosea 6:4). The

child of a Christian home is exceptionally wicked when he turns

his back on the good influences of his early days, and deliberately

descends into the lower paths of sin. There is this guilt with sin in

some measure for all of us.  For we have all turned aside. (“All

have sinned and come short of the glory of God!” – Romans 3:23).

When the hardened sinner looks back on his childhood days, when

he remembers his simple, innocent life in the old home,  when he sees

his younger condition reflected in the frank countenance of some little

child, He may well learn that his own self will be his accuser in

the day of judgment.  (I recommend Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday

Morning Coming Down” – You Tube - CY – 2014)



HOPES OF RESTORATION. Man is not naturally a brute. What he has

been suggests what he may yet become. Absolute primitive innocence is

indeed irrecoverably lost. The bloom of childhood can never be restored.

Yet as Naaman’s flesh became like the flesh of a little child after he had

bathed seven times in the Jordan (II Kings 5:14), it is possible to be

converted, and become as a little child again (Matthew 18:3) in

simplicity and a new purity of heart. This is the great Christian hope. The

most abandoned sinner may, THROUGH CHRIST BE RESTORED! 

He need not despair when he compares his present shame with his past

innocence. The old fallen world may be recovered. The gospel of Christ




  16 “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee

with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out

of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from

the midst of the stones of fire.”  Thou wast perfect in thy ways. The glory of

the King of Tyre was, the prophet goes on to say, conditional.  He began his

reign in righteousness, but afterwards iniquity was found in him. And

the root of that iniquity was the pride of wealth engendered by the greatness

of his commerce (v. 16). He was no longer like the cherub who guarded the

Paradise of God, but like Adam when he was east out from it. Wealth and

pride had tempted him to violence and to wrong, and he was no longer an

anointed or consecrated, but a profaned and desecrated, king. The,

stones of fire,” the thunders and lightnings of the Divine Majesty, should

no longer protect him.



Sin and Destruction (v. 16)


No doubt the inspired prophet of the Lord saw in the fate of Tyre what

was not discernible to worldly and enlightened minds. These would look

for political causes and motives and consequences in the rise and fall of

states. But Ezekiel saw below the surface. He knew that there was Divine

action in and beneath the action of Tyre’s enemies; and that there were

reasons only recognizable by a reflecting and religious man for the awful

disasters which he was commissioned to foretell.




Ø      We may discover what may be called material occasions of sin, in the

wealth and prosperity, the fame and renown, the beauty and splendor, of

Tyre. Circumstances of very different kinds may yet agree in suggesting

evil thoughts, desires, and habits. Men lay the blame upon circumstances,

but this is a very shortsighted method of proceeding.


Ø      There are moral promptings to sin which may spring out of the former.

The heart is lifted up with exultation; a not unnatural confidence in

possessions and resources springs up and asserts itself.


  • THE MANIFESTATIONS OF SIN. “Thou hast sinned’ is the reproach

addressed by God to the guilty city; and it is the reproach addressed to

every nation and to every man that has yielded to temptations which should

have been withstood, repelled, and mastered. (“There hath no temptation

taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will

not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the

temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

(I Corinthians 10:13).  The forms which sin assumes are innumerable, and

vary with varying times and with varying states of society.

The context refers to:


Ø      Iniquity, or the violation of Divine laws regulating men’s relations

among themselves and to God Himself.


Ø      Violence, such as the powerful, willful, and haughty are given to

exercise in their treatment of their inferiors.  (It is no wonder that

violence is prominent in the 21st Century.  It is one of the signs

of the end times and certainly a by-product of America’s turning

her back on God.  See Genesis 6:3; Matthew 24:37 – CY – 2014)


Ø      Corruption and defilement, such as are certain to prevail where God is

not honored, and where selfish ends inspire men’s conduct.




Ø      By the decree of God. He is the Speaker throughout this passage. He

claims to bestow privileges, and to call men to account for the manner in

which those privileges are used. Whatever be the agency or instrumentality

of chastisement and correction, it is by the Eternal Wisdom and

Righteousness that it is inflicted.


Ø      In the case of national sin, the penalties are put in force through the

instrumentality of neighboring nations. A barbarian horde, or a mighty

sovereign and conqueror, has again and again been used as a “scourge of

God.”  (Take for instance the extreme hatred of the militant Muslim

world towards the United States.  Prior to the turning of our backs on

God, He would never have allowed this to happen!   “When a man’s

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

with him.”  - Proverbs 16:7 -CY – 2014).  It would be wrong to attribute

any moral superiority to the victorious people; they may be merely the rod,

the sword, in the hand of the Lord of hosts.


Ø      Where the offence has been heinous, the visitation may be one involving

complete destruction, as in the case of Tyre. The terms of threatening here

recorded are of the strongest and most unsparing. “I will destroy thee;” “I

will cast thee to the ground;” “I will bring forth a fire from the midst of

thee; it shall devour thee.” Such punishment is sometimes regarded as

inconsistent with the attributes of a just and merciful King and Judge. But,

whilst it may not be in our power to vindicate all the ways of God, it is

certainly not for us to question the acts of Him who is omniscient, and

whose righteousness is without a flaw. There is nothing in Scripture to

support the opinions of those who think that, because God is benevolent,

therefore there is no such thing as punishment. There is a moral law

which the Sovereign Judge will SURELY MAINTAIN and



Ø      The punishment inflicted upon sinners shall be published far and wide.

What is done by God in the exercise of punitive justice is done in the

sight of all, and all shall be astonished. This publicity may surely be

explained as an arrangement intended for the universal good —

to impress upon the minds of all mankind the heinousness of iniquity,

that they may “stand in awe, and sin not ” and “Know that I am God”

(I would like to recommend Ezekiel – A Study of God’s Use of the

Word Know – this website – CY – 2014)


17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast

corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee

to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold

thee.  18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine

iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth

a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring

thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold

thee.”  Thine heart was lifted up, etc. In yet another point Ezekiel

sees the fall of Adam reproduced in that of the Tyrian king. He had

forfeited his beauty and his wisdom through the pride which sought for a

yet greater glory by a false and counterfeit wisdom (Genesis 3:6). I will

cast thee, etc. The words are better taken, as in the Revised Version, in the

past tense, I have cast theeI have laid thee before kings. Pride was to

have its fall, as in Isaiah 23:9. The very sanctuaries, the temples which

made Tyre the “holy island,” were defiled by the iniquities through which

the wealth that adorned them had been gained. The “fire,” instead of being

a rampart of protection, should burst forth as from the center of the

sanctuary to destroy him. Is there an implied allusion to the fiery judgment

that fell on Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:2) and on Korah and his

company (Numbers 16:35)? The doom of Sic transit gloria mundi  (thus

passes the glory of this world) was already passed on her.


19 “All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at

thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”

Thou shalt be a terror, etc. The knell of doom, as heard in ch. 27:36, rings

out again. The same judgment falls alike on the city and on its king.


The question when and in what manner the prediction received its fulfillment has

been much discussed. Josephus (‘Ant.,’ 10:11. 1; ‘Contra Apion,’ 1:19) states that

Nebuchadnezzar besieged the island Tyre and Ithobal (Ethbaal III.) for thirteen years;

that, on his father’s death, leaving his Phoenician and other captives to be brought

by slower stages, he himself hastened to Babylon, and that afterwards he conquered

the whole of Syria and Phoenicia; but he does not say, with all the Tyrian

records before him, that the city was actually captured by him. It has been

inferred, indeed, from ch. 29:18, that Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of

Tyre ended in, at least, partial failure, that he and his army had no “wages”

for their work, i.e. that the spoil of the city was meager and disappointing.

Possibly the merchant-princes of the city had contrived to carry off part of

their treasures in their ships. On the other hand, it may be noted”


  • that the national historians of the ancient world (perhaps not of that

only) willingly minimized the disasters of their country; and


  • that the Phoenician fragment quoted by Josephus (‘Contra Apion,’

1:21) simply for synchronistic purposes, shows a significant change of

government following on the siege.


Ithobal was “king” during the thirteen years, but afterwards “judges” were

appointed, and these ruled for periods of two, or three, or ten months. All this

indicates a period of confusion and anarchy, the consequence of some great

catastrophe. As a whole, too, we have to remember that it was with Tyre, as

with Babylon and with other nations. The prophecies against them had “springing

and germinant accomplishments.” What the prophet saw in vision, as wrought out

in a moment of time, was actually the outcome of the slow decay of centuries,

and of catastrophes separated from each other by long intervals of a

dwindling history. The main facts of that history may be briefly stated.

There was, as implied in Isaiah 23:17, a revival of commerce under the

Persian monarchy, and of this we have traces in Nehemiah 13:16. Two

hundred and fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar, Tyre was still so strongly

fortified that Alexander the Great did not take it till after a seven years’

siege (Died. Sic., 17:20; Arrian., 2:17; Q. Curtius, 4:2-4). It rose again into

wealth and power under the Selencidare, and the Romans made it the

capital of their province of Phoenicia. It appears as a flourishing town in

Matthew 15:21; Acts 12:20; 21:7, and is described by Strabo

(16:2, 23), as having two harbors and lofty houses. From A.D. 636 to 1125

it was in the hands of the Saracens. Saladin attacked it without success in

A.D. 1189. In A.D. 1291, after Acre had been taken by storm by El-

Ashraf, Sultan of Egypt, Tyre passed into his hands without a struggle.

When it again passed into the power of the Saracens, its fortifications were

demolished, and from that time it sank gradually into its present obscurity.

The present Sur is a small town of narrow, crooked, and dirty streets, and

the ruins of the old Phoenician city cover the suburbs to the extent of half a

league round. The harbor is choked up with sand, and with remains of the

old palaces and walls and temples, and is available for small boats only.

The sea has swallowed up its grandeur. The soil on which the traveler

stands is a mass of debris, in which marble, porphyry, and granite mingle

with coarser stones. So it has come to pass that it is little more than “a

place for the spreading of nets” (ch. 26:5,14) and that the sentence,

“Thou shalt never be any more,” seems to be receiving its fulfillment.

There was for it no prospect of an earthly restoration, still less that of a

transfigured and glorified existence like that which, in the prophet’s

visions, was connected with Jerusalem.


20 “Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

21 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,”

Set thy face against Zidon. The relation of this city to Tyre

was one of sufficient independence to justify a separate oracle for the

completeness of the prophet’s arrangement of his messages (ch.27:8;

Joel 3:4; Jeremiah 25:22; Zechariah 9:2). It was sufficiently identified

with it not to call for any long description. It is assumed that her sins

were of the same kind and required a like punishment.


22 “And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O

Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall

know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments

in her, and shall be sanctified in her.”  I will be glorified in… thee. The

thought and the phrase come from Exodus 14:4; Leviticus 10:3. Ezekiel

reproduces it in ch.39:13. God is glorified, or, as in the next clause, sanctified,

when His power and holiness are manifested in righteous judgment. (For

sanctified,” see ch.38:16: Numbers 20:13.)


23 “For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and

the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon

her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Pestilence was the natural accompaniment of a siege. As in

ch.14:19, blood probably points to death from this cause, as

distinct from the slaughter threatened in the following clause.



The Judgment of Zidon (vs. 20-23)



Zidon were constantly associated together by reason of their nearness to

one another, and their common interests and actions. Zidon followed Tyre

in its degenerate course of wickedness. Thus, like Sodom and Gomorrah,

Type and Zidon were commonly linked together as conjoined in an ugly

pre-eminence of wickedness (e.g. Luke 10:14). There is no security in

such companionship. We gain nothing by following a multitude to do evil

(Exodus 23:2). When a large province rebels, there is more hope of

immunity than when a few citizens behave seditiously, because the central

government may not be strong enough to cope with the more serious

disturbance. But in dealing with the Almighty such considerations do not

apply. God can as easily destroy two cities as one. The number of sinners

does not dilute the guilt of the separate individuals; it cannot mitigate their




PROSPEROUS ONES. Tyre was prosperous; Zidon was unprosperous. At

least, the history of Zidon is that of a decline in influence compared with

the growing importance of Tyre. The oldest and most prominent settlement

of the Canaanites (Genesis 10:15), and the representative of the whole

Canaanitish trade (Ibid. ch.49:13), Zidon had gradually declined until it

had become virtually, if not nominally, a dependence of Tyre. But though

she reaped less earthly good from her wickedness, she did not therefore

escape punishment. There is a superstitious notion that those people who

suffer adversity on earth will be spared further punishment after death. But

this notion is utterly without warrant, unless it can be proved that the last

farthing is paid (Matthew 5:26), and we can scarcely be bold enough to assert

that anything of the kind has happened to the most unfortunate. Further, it is

sometimes thought that failure exonerates. The evil deed is not carried out to

perfection because the doer of it is hampered by external circumstances.

This fact is no mitigation of his guilt. He would have consummated his

wickedness had he been able to do so. Then he is guilty of the full

completion of it, for the sin lies in the intention. Lastly, it is perhaps

secretly thought that obscurity will hide from judgment. It was not so with




SECONDARY IN IMPORTANCE. He even gets glory through His just

treatment of such a second-rate place as Zidon. God is too great to need to

confine His attention to what is only of primary importance. As this is true

of judgment, so it is also true of redemption. God does not only get glory

through “pestilence and blood.” His highest glory is seen in THE

REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD!   This redemption is not only for

the great and notable.  Second-rate characters are not beneath the attention

of Christ. His salvation is for all:


Ø      for the obscure,

Ø      the neglected, and

Ø      the unfortunate.


24 “And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of

Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that

despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

There shall be no more a pricking brier. There is a special

appropriateness in Ezekiel’s imagery. The words had been used in

Numbers 33:55 of the Canaanites at large (compare Joshua 23:13).

Ezekiel applies them to the cities which were the most conspicuous

survivors of the old Canaanite races. Israel, he implies, had been wounded

with those thorns and briers, had caught (as e.g. in the case of Jezebel) the

taint of evil life and evil worship from those races; but for Sidon there is, as in

v. 25, the future of restoration, and when that future comes, the Canaanite cities,

with their idolatries and vices, should have passed awayforever.


25 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of

Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be

sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell

in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.”  My servant Jacob.

The use of “Jacob” for Israel is not common in Ezekiel.



The Home-Gathering (v. 25)



HOMEGATHERING.  It was so physically with Israel; it is so spiritually

with Christians.


Ø      Sin scatters. It drives men from God, banishes them from their old

privileges, breaks up the brotherhood of fellow-men, and destroys the true

family spirit. All evil is a solvent of society.


Ø      Christ restores.


o       To God. The first departure was from God. Where the parent is,

there is the home. We leave our home in leaving God; in restoration

we first come back to God. The first great result of it is a return of

the soul to communion with God.


o       To the home. Israel is restored to Palestine, the land flowing with

milk and honey. The redeemed are now restored to what is better

than Caanan even in its palmy days — to the kingdom of heaven

brought down to the earth. Here the Christian may eat of the tree

of life and drink of the river of water of life. Here no pricking

briars may grow.


o       To Christian fellowship. The home is the abode of the family. By

redemption Christ heals enmity, destroys selfishness, inspires

sympathy, draws and binds souls together. This is the earthly

blessedness of the Divine recovery.



GOD. God was to be glorified in the punishment of the wicked (v. 22).

But He gains a fresh glory from redemption. When Israel is restored God

shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen.” The holiness of

God will then be made apparent to the world. The restoration of Israel

reveals the power and goodness of God, and shows how he cares for and

saves the people who acknowledge Him. In a much higher way the

redemption of the world sanctifies God by REVEALING HIS HOLINESS!


Ø      It shows his power over sin. He restrains the wicked, that those who

obey His Word may have freedom to do so.


Ø      It shows His recovering grace. The Jews had sinned and had been

banished as a punishment for their wickedness, in which they resembled the

heathen. But they were penitent, and, being pardoned, they were also

restored. There is greater glory in redemption than in retribution. If God

conquers sin, not by destroying the sinner, but by converting him, God’s

holiness is most fully glorified. There is nothing on earth that so sanctifies

God, by revealing Him in separate, supreme goodness, as the triumphs of

the gospel. Nebuchadnezzar glorified God, but Cyrus more so. God was

glorified in the destruction of Jerusalem; He was more glorified in the

preaching of Paul.


26 “And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and

plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have

executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about

them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.”

Shall build houses, etc. The words sound almost like a direct

quotation from Jeremiah 23:6 and ch.36:28; and, at all events, present a

suggestive parallel. The restoration was to include also the blessing of

confidence and hope; no longer a groundless and false confidence, like that

of Jeremiah 2:37 and 48:13, but one resting on the fact that God was in

very deed the Judge of all the earth. We may note, at the close of the

chapter, how its juxtaposition of the two Phoenician cities seems to have

been present to the mind of the Christ in His references to the judgment that

should come upon both of them (Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13). He

Himself, it will be remembered, passed through the coasts of Tyre and

Zidon (Matthew 15:21), and probably, according to the best text of

Mark 7:24, actually trod the streets of the latter city. They supplied

some of the great multitude of Mark 3:8, who listened to His teaching.


Confidence is a big part of the blessedness of the restoration: “Yea, they shall dwell

with confidence.”  Confidence glorifies God. To be forever doubting, questioning,

and fearing shows an unworthy want of appreciation of God’s glorious redemption.

We honor God by taking Him at His word, and quietly trusting in His grace.

True confidence is based on safety.  The safety on which true confidence is based

is accomplished by the redeeming work of God!  It is shown in the Old Testament

as well as the New that the sources of confidence as well as the grounds of safety

are not to be found in man. We are not to be confident nor to count ourselves safe

because of anything we have done, or because of our assurance of our own strength

and resources. Our confidence is in God; therefore the feeblest souls may be

confident, as the weakest of men may be quite safe within a strong fortress.

Judgment reveals God to the wicked. Thus Zidon knows that God is the Lord (v. 22).

Redemption reveals Him still more to His people, to those who trust and acknowledge

Him. They will be confident when they are brought by the gracious goodness of the

Lord to know Him by experience as indeed “their God.”  (v. 26)








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