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
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
the King 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
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
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
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
ruler of the city, selecting him for an ugly pre-eminence of guilt. This man
is entrusted with the weal of the city. If
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.
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
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
IT INVOLVES A MULTITUDE IN ITS EVIL EFFECTS. The effects
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
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
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
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
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),
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
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
BLINDS MEN TO THE FACTS OF LIFE AND ETERNITY! It is bad to
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
OUNCE OF THE DUST OF THE GOLDEN CALF IN IT! – CY – 2014)
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
when it comes as A VEIL BETWEEN US AND WHAT WE NEED TO
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
IMMORTALITY and to HEAVEN!
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 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).
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
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)
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
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
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
hast been in
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
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
beauty and in wisdom, the lord of the creation. And in that
stood, so he thought, not like Adam, “naked and ashamed,” but like one of
cherubim that guarded the gates of the primeval
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
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
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
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
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
boasted that he was, like them, consecrated to his office as king “by the
grace of God.” In that earthly
of God,” 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.
In the nation. Even
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
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
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.
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
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
goes forth to ARREST THE DEEPENING DEGENERACY OF
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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)
17 “Thine 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 thee… I have laid thee before kings. Pride was to
have its fall, as in Isaiah 23:9. The very sanctuaries, the temples 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 (‘
Nebuchadnezzar besieged the island
that, on his father’s death, leaving his Phoenician and other captives to be brought
slower stages, he himself hastened to
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
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”
only) willingly minimized the disasters of their country; and
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
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,
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
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
Ashraf, Sultan of
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
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
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
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
least, the history of Zidon is that of a decline in influence compared with
the growing importance of
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
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
Zidon. GOD SEES ALL!
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
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
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
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 “
The Home-Gathering (v. 25)
HOMEGATHERING. It was
so physically with
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.
To the home.
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
“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
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
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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