ch. 23

 

vs. 1-14 - THE BURDEN OF TYRE. We here reach the last of the

burdens” — the concluding chapter of the series of denunciatory

prophecies which commenced with Isaiah 13. It is an elegy “in three

stanzas, or strophes” -  the first extending from v. 1-5; the second, thence

to v. 9; and the third from v. 10 to v. 14. An undertone of sadness, and even

of commiseration, prevails throughout it, the prophet viewing Tyre as a

fellow-sufferer with Israel, persecuted and oppressed by the same enemy,

Assyria, which was everywhere pushing her conquests, and had recently

extended her dominion even over Babylon (v. 13). This last allusion fixes

the date of the prophecy to a time subsequent to B.C. 710, when the Assyrian

monarch, Sargon, first conquered the country, and took the title of king

(G. Smith, ‘Eponym Canon,’ p. 86).

 

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v. 4 - "neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins" –

            How important to a nation for her young men and women to be

            righteous and God fearing!  What role do virgins play in the

            United States today or of what importance are they?  CY – 2009)

 

v. 9 – “The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory” –

             or, of all beauty. Not that “glory” or “beauty” are displeasing to Him,

            or provoke his envy, as the heathen thought (Herod., 7:10, § 4) but that

            those who “pride” themselves on their glory and beauty offend Him.

 

to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth” - to render

contemptible those whom the world honors, though they do not deserve

honor.  (I hear this week that Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts

has been knighted by the Queen of England – CY – 2009)

 

 

 

v. 12 - "there also thou shalt have no rest"

 

"NO REST" – There is no rest in the pursuit of worldly aims or the

world, period!  Christ said “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are

heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and

learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find

rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”-

Matthew 11:28-30

 

vs. 15-18 - TYRE’S RESTORATION TO PROSPERITY AND

CONVERSION TO JEHOVAH.  After an interval, expressed by the

symbolic number of” seventy years,” Tyre is to rise from her ashes, and

become once more a prosperous state, resuming her former occupation of

a “merchant city,” and once more making great gains, which she will

devote to the service of Jehovah. St. Jerome thought that this prophecy

had not been accomplished in his day. If so, it cannot be said to have been

accomplished yet; unless, indeed, Tyre may be regarded as representing the

commercial spirit, which. under Christianity, is not necessarily alien from

religion, but shows itself sometimes altogether friendly to the Church,

supplying ways and means for ten thousand philanthropic and praiseworthy

enterprises (v. 18).  (Think of the Christian philanthropy of the people

of America in the last century -  CY - 2009)

 

v. 16 -  forgotten harlot” – In addressing. Tyre as a “harlot,” the prophet

            does not seem to mean more than that her aims were, or at any rate

            had been, selfish and worldly, such as sever between man and God.

            She had pursued wealth for the enjoyments that it brought her,

            not in order to make a good use of it. Hers had been the covetousness

            which is “idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

 

Something that is not God is allowed to absorb their thoughts, occupy

their minds, engage their affections -gradually losing the sense of God's

presence, His providence and at last, His very existence!

 

 

 

v. 18 – Contrast the right use of riches –“her merchandise and her hire

shall be holiness to the Lord” - There is nothing intrinsically wrong or debasing

in commerce.  Rightly pursued, and engaged in with the view of devoting the

profits made in it to good and pious ends, the commercial life may be as religious,

and as acceptable to God as any other. The world has known many merchants

who were Christians, in the highest sense of the word. Solomon in his best

days was a merchant (1 Kings 9:27, 28; 10:22), but one who employed

the wealth which he derived from commerce to the honor and glory of

God. t shall not be treasured nor laid up” - The merchants shall not lay it

up in their own coffers, but expend it wisely and religiously. it shall be for

them that dwell before the Lord - it shall be applied to religious uses

to the sustentation of ministers, the relief of the poor and necessitous

among God’s people, and other similar purposes. Such an employment of

the gains made sanctifies commerce, and makes it a good and a blessed

thing.

 

 

 

                                                Additional Notes

 

I. THAT THE CULT OF THE BEAUTIFUL HAS ITS ESPECIAL

DANGERS TO OUR MORAL NATURE. Artistic work seems to emanate

so entirely from a man himself, to be so purely his own absolute creation,

that it naturally raises in him an admiration of himself and an exalted

conception of his own powers. How shall he not be proud of faculties that

enable him to produce works which send a thrill of delight through crowds,

and are recognized as possessions for all time!  (Think of Hollywood and

concentrated effort to undermine the morality of this nation – CY – 2009)

Again, the beautiful is so charming, so attractive, that it is apt to seem sufficient

for a man, and so to absorb all his attention, and shut out all thought of higher

and nobler things. In our own time the cult is actually preached as a sufficient

religion,and men are asked what more they can possibly desire than to feast

the eye perpetually on beautiful objects — beautiful buildings, beautiful

furniture, beautiful clothes, pictures, statues, statuettes, harmonious colors,

delicate textures, soft and subdued light, graceful forms, pleasing contrasts.

A weak and effeminate race is produced by such a training; the robuster

virtues are uncared for; men become lapped in a luxurious sensualism, and

need a warning voice, like that of the prophet, to wake them from their

delightful dream to life’s stern realities.

 

II. THAT THE EXCLUSIVE CULT OF THE BEAUTIFUL

PROVOKES GOD’S ANGER AND JEALOUSY. Tyre is not accused of

crimes. She is not a “bloody city,” like Nineveh (Nahum 3:1); she is not “full

of lies and robbery.” Her punishment does not come upon her “because of

the violence” that is in her, nor for extreme arrogancy, nor for hypocrisy.

Her sin seems to be in her luxury, in her softness, in her “perfect beauty”

(Ezekiel 27:11). She is rich, she is comely, she has things of beauty all

about her, and she is content. She wants no more. The beautiful and the

enjoyable satisfy her. But God is angered thereby. He will not have even

the beautiful, though it is a shadow of Himself, shut Him out from the first

place in men’s thoughts. He will vindicate His own honor. He will suffer no

rival near His throne. If men are so wrapped up in anything as to forget Him,

He will remind them of Himself by some terrible judgment, which can be

ascribed to none but Him (vs. 8-11).

 

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