The prophetic messages against
were comparatively short. That against
(ch.26:1-29:18). The special prominence thus given to the latter
city was probably due to its political importance in Ezekiel’s time, possibly
also to the personal knowledge which may be inferred from his minute
description of its magnificence and its commerce. It is ushered in with
special solemnity as “a word of Jehovah.”
1 “And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the
month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,”
In the eleventh year, etc. The last date given (ch.24:1)
was the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year (sc. B.C. 590). We
have now come to the eleventh year, on which, on the ninth day of the
seventh day of the fifth month (Jeremiah 52:6, 12). Here the number of
the month is not given in the Hebrew or the Vulgate, while the Septuagint
inserts the “first month.” In ch. 32:17 we have a like omission, and
in both cases it is natural to assume an error of transcription. The tidings of
capture may have reached both
have heard of the temper in which the former had received them, just as he
had heard how the nations named in the previous chapter had exulted in the
fall, imminent and, as they thought, inevitable, of the holy city.
2 “Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said
she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto
me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:”
Because that Tyrus, etc. As the nearest great commercial city,
and Solomon (I Kings 5:1) onward, had been prominent in the eyes of the
statesmen and prophets of Judah; and Ezekiel follows in the footsteps of
Joel 3:4; Amos 1:9-10; Isaiah 23., in dealing with it. The description in vs. 5
and 14 points, not to the city on the mainland, the old Tyre of Joshua 19:29,
which had been taken by Shalmaneser and was afterwards destroyed by
Alexander the Great, but to the island city, the new
time, the emporium of the ancient world. The extent of her commerce will
meet us in ch.27. Here, too, as in the case of the nations in ch.25.,
Ezekiel’s indignation is roused by the exulting selfishness
looked on the downfall (actual or imminent, as before) of
“Now,” her rulers
seem to have said, “we shall be the only power in the
broken. The name thus given may imply either:
city, carrying on much intercourse with the nations with which she was in
alliance, (ch.23:40-41; I Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; Isaiah 2:7; Herod., 3:5,
of Cadytis, i.e. probably
from the neighboring nations, as in Psalm 87:4-6, and was looking
forward to a yet fuller confluence of men of all races, as in the prophecies
of Micah 4:1-2 and Isaiah 2:2-3 — expectations which may well
have become known to a city like
“Now,” the Tyrians might say, “that hope is shattered.” I shall be
replenished. The interpolated “now” indicates what is, of course, implied,
and fall of
3 “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O
Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the
sea causeth his waves to come up. 4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus,
and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her
like the top of a rock.” As the sea causeth, etc. We note the special appropriateness
of the comparison to the position of the island city.
We have here an outline of the great, desolating judgment that was to fall
chapter, and lamented over in the next chapter. There are several points in
condition and history of
of this famous city; but the resemblance between Type and England (USA)
is so striking, that we may feel much more interest in Ezekiel’s utterances when
we consider their bearing on our own country in the present day.
richest. Her splendor was renowned, and the wealth of her merchants
was proverbial. Like
other peoples for her worldly prosperity.
Through commerce. The wealth of
or fertile soil of her own territory. It was not booty taken in war, like that
she was like our “nation of shopkeepers” (or “stockholders – CY – 2014)
By seafaring. The early commerce of
over the desert (Genesis 37:28); but the later and more profitable
commerce was over the waters westward, round the coast of the
Mediterranean and to as far as
times was the mistress of the sea. Hence a certain cosmopolitan character.
Ø With constructive art. The vast foundations of Baalbec tell of the
building powers of
Tyrian architecture, built with Tyrian art. We do not equal those great
builders in originality. But inventive genius and manufacturing energy
are characteristic of our race. Thus the material splendor of
The splendor and prosperity
in her fall any hint of a similar danger threatening our own country?
Consider both its immediate cause and the providential necessity that lay
The immediate cause.
was not able to withstand the terrific onward march of the Eastern
power. She was strong at sea, but feeble ashore. She was not a
military power. She proves that wealth will not protect from ruin,
but will rather invite it. The wealth of
temptation to the invader. (Witness terrorism and immigration –
these threats just happens to coincide with
her back on God. Let us remember “When a man’s ways
please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace
with him.” - Proverbs 16:7 - CY – 2014). Prosperity is not its
The providential necessity. Wealth enervates,
and no doubt
weakened by luxury. But behind such natural operations God, the
Judge of all the earth, saw the sin of Tyre/England/USA. She/they
Was/were greedy and selfish (v. 2). Commerce does not always win
friends. By competition it stirs up jealousy. When deceptive or
overreaching, it rouses the antagonism of those on whom it preys.
shamefully immoral. Though
Tyrian artists, the worship of Jehovah was not accepted by the
Tyrian citizens. Like
never worship in it ourselves. We may patronize religion, and be
none the better for it. We may send the gospel to the heathen, and
BECOME PAGANS AT HOME! The temple they built for the
Jews did not save the Tyrians. Nothing can save
personal religion of her people.
Divine Antagonism (v. 3)
We have come to regard the quarrel between man and God as one-sided.
Now, it is one-sided in its origin, its evil, and its malice. God never wishes
to be at war with men, and never originates any breach of the peace. His
conduct throughout is just, considerate, marvelously long-suffering. Even
when the conflict is forced on to an extremity, God never ceases to love His
foolish, fallen children. He is ever waiting to be gracious, longing for signs
of contrition and a door of reconciliation. The origin of the quarrel, its evil,
and its malice are ALL ON OUR SIDE! But this does not mean that God
takes no part in it, that He only stands before us as an impassive and immobile
granite wall that we may dash our heads against, but that never moves an
inch against us; much less that He gives way before our rebellious
onslaught, and weakly yields to willful opposition on our part. We can
provoke the Lord to anger (Psalm 78:58). “God is angry with the
wicked every day” (Ibid. ch. 7:11). As Lord and Judge, He executes
sentence. By necessity of righteousness, He sets himself in array
against His sinful creatures.
that the greedy were rejoicing over the calamities of their neighbors. All sin
rouses the anger and active opposition of God. He is not opposed to any
one from prejudice, as men are too often opposed to their neighbors. But
sin, which is opposition to the will of God, must needs be opposed by Him
if that will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This, then, is not a
question for a few rare souls in the awful condition of victims of Divine
displeasure. EVERY SINNER HAS GOD AS AN OPPONENT!
The fatal punishment of others ought to be a warning. It was not so taken
Tyrians rejoiced over it. Such wickedness the more stirred up the antagonism
of God. Now, these Tyrians were heathen people, judged only according to
their light. Yet they were condemned, for the ground of judgment was
moral evil, not defective theology. But much more must God be in
antagonism to those who have fuller light and yet rebel against Him.
“Therefore thou art inexcusable,” etc. (Romans 2:1).
ANTAGONISM. This does not mean that God is reluctant to sheathe
His sword, till Christ succeeds in persuading Him to do so; for our Lord was
sent by His Father for THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF MAKING PEACE!
But the cause of the antagonism had to be removed, and Christ came to
effect that end by making HIS GREAT ATONEMENT FOR SIN!
Through this also He brought men into a new state of repentance, and
reconciled them to God. Now, we are under the doom of Divine
antagonism, so long as we live in UNREPENTED SIN. But the
offer of the gospel shows the way of escape from it in FREE
FORGIVENESS AND PERFECT RESTORATION TO THE
FAVOR OF GOD!L
5 “It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea:
for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a
spoil to the nations.” It shall be a place for the spreading of nets, etc. The
prediction is repeated in v. 14, and after many chances and changes,
apparent revival followed by another period of decay, the present condition
eighteenth centuries report that “its inhabitants are only a few poor
wretches that harbor in vaults and subsist upon fishing” (Mandrell, in
1697); that the number of those inhabitants was “only ten, Turks and
Christians” (Hasselquist, in 1751); that there were, a little later on, “fifty or
sixty poor families (Volney, in 1766). During the present century there has
been a partial revival, and Porter, in 1858, estimates its population at from
three to four thousand. The present state of its harbor, as compared with
that of Beyrout, is against any future expansion of its commerce (‘Dict.
6 “And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the
sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
The daughters in the field are, according to the usual
symbolism of prophecy, the subject or allied cities on the mainland.
Collision Between Man’s Plans and God’s Plans (vs. 1-6)
Appearance is never a safe guide. It might seem to a carnal eye as if the
prospect was soon overrun. Righteous obedience is the only safe guide to
men. The path may be, for a time, rough and dark, yet it will bring us into a
individual persons. If the leaders of a nation cherish evil purposes or pursue
evil plans, unchecked by the subjects of the realm, the whole nation
contracts guilt. Yet if one person or more, moved by better feelings,
discountenances the national deed, that person is exculpated from the
common blame, and shall be owned by God. (Remember that God told
the man with the inkhorn “Go through the midst of the city, through the
sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst
thereof.” - ch. 9:4 – I believe that the same is happening in the United
States and the world today, in preparation for the Return of Jesus Christ!
- CY – 2014). The protection of
Noah and his family, of
daughters, amid the general destruction, proves the fatherly care of God
for individuals. The single grain in a heap of chaff shall be cared for
selfish advantage. The trade of
Tyrian traders. What base ground for jubilation! No matter what suffering
or humiliation the Jews may endure,
and triumph. But God is not deaf. Into His ears every sound of selfish
boasting came. He weighs every thought and word of man in His balances
of justice. That selfish taunt will not float idly on the summer gale. It is a
grief to Jehovah, and He will repay. “The Lord executeth righteousness and
judgment for all that are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). In all human affairs,
individual or national, God has a real interest. He will never be left out of
shall be replenished.” God said, “I will make her like the top of a rock.”
inundated with invasion. Instead of wealth, there should be want. Instead
of glory, desolation. Her selfish hope should burst like a bubble. The
golden eggs she expected soon to be hatched proved to be the eggs of a
cockatrice. Selfish greed is a bad investment. The desire to promote our
national interests, to the injury of another nation, is not patriotism; it is
selfish envy and pride. Triumph over another’s fall is base, is diabolic.
know that I am the Lord.” This is a gain of the noblest kind — a gain that
is abiding and permanent. Such knowledge is better than rubies. The bulk
of men will not learn this lesson in the day of prosperity, but in the cloudy
days of adversity, when all earthly good has vanished, the lesson stands out
clearly before their eyes. Some earthly sciences are best learned in the dark.
This knowledge of God is best learned in the dark hour of affliction. For
when all human calculations have failed, and all human plans have
collapsed, men are compelled to feel that an unseen hand has been
working, an unseen Being has been presiding in their affairs. Of a truth,
“THE LORD REIGNETH!”
7 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus
Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north,
with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies,
and much people.” I will bring against thee, etc. There is a special emphasis
of abruptness in the way in which Ezekiel brings in the name of the great
Chaldean conqueror (we note, by the way, that he adopts the less common
spelling of the name), of whom he speaks as “king of kings.” The title is
used by Daniel (2:37) of Nebuchadnezzar, and by Artaxerxes of himself
(Ezra 7:12), by Darius in the Nakshi Rustam inscription (‘Records of
the Past,’ 5:151), by Tiglatb-Pileser, with the addition of “lord of lords”
8 “He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall
make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up
the buckler against thee. 9 And he shall set engines of war against thy
walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.
10 By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover
thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the
wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as
men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.” (For the usual operations
of a siege, see notes on ch. 4:1-2) The buckler was the roof of shields under
which the besiegers protected themselves from the missiles of the besieged.
For engines of war, read battering-rams; for wheels, wagons. The final result
will be that the breach will be made, with results such as those described in v. 1.
11 “With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he
shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall
go down to the ground.” Thy strong garrisons; literally, the pillars of thy
strength (Revised Version). So the Vulgate, nobiles statuae. So the word is used in
Isaiah 19:19; Jeremiah 43:13; II Kings 3:2. The words probably refer to the two
famous columns standing in the temple of the Tyrian Hercules, one of gold and
one of emerald (possibly malachite or lapis-lazuli), as symbols of strength, or as
pedestals surmounted by a statue of Baal (Herod., 2:44).
12 “And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy
merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy
pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and
thy dust in the midst of the water.” Thy pleasant houses; Hebrew,
houses of desire. The palaces of the merchant-princes of Tyro, stately as
that it is the island city of which the prophet speaks.
13 “And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps
shall be no more heard.” There is a time for everything, and singing is not always
seasonable. Nothing can be more unnatural than a forced song. Now, there are
sorrows that quench the most vigorous soul’s delights, as there are storms that beat
down the strongest wings. Such were the calamities that accompanied
Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. Such too were the troubles of the Jewish captives
when they hung their harps upon the willows, and refused to sing the Lord’s song
in a strange land (Psalm 137:2-4). But there will be worse causes of the
silence of old songs in God’s future judgments on sin. Pleasure is no refuge
from trouble. It tempts to hopes that are delusive. No one is safe just
because he feels himself happy. Cheerful people may be in as great danger
as despondent ones.
There are times when it would be best for the singer to silence his old
thoughtless song in the sober reflection of repentance. The silence may be a
first step to better things. We are too noisy and too superficial. The hush of
demonstrative life gives us an opportunity of hearing the still small voice of God.
(Psalm 46:10) When our songs are silenced we may listen to the songs of the
angels. Then that heavenly music may teach us to tune our harps to its higher
melody and inspire our souls with new songs of redemption (Revelation 5:9).
14 “And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread
nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith
the Lord GOD.” The noise of thy songs. As in the imagery, of Isaiah 23:16,
of the ancient world — eminent no less for its culture than its commerce
(compare ch.28:13). The description of the desolation of the captured city is
summed up once more in the words of v. 5. It shall be a place to
“spread nets upon.”
A Miracle of Foreknowledge (vs. 7-14)
False prophets discourse only in general terms and in ambiguous language.
Their announcements may have the most contrary meanings. At best they
are happy conjectures, fortunate guesses. But the prophecies of Scripture
are like sunlight compared with such a phosphorescent flame. The
clearness and fullness of these prophetic utterances can be accounted for
only as A REVELATION FROM AN OMNISCIENT GOD!
SUBSTANCE. The predictions of pretentious men are usually trivial —
the effect of a prurient curiosity. God’s revelations of the future are always
concerned in the rebuke of sin and in the furtherance of righteousness. As
in the manufacture of cordage in our Government arsenals a worsted
thread of a distinct color runs through every yard of rope, so through all
God’s dealings with men this principle of righteousness is ever prominent.
What does not serve a righteous end IS NOT OF GOD!
ANNOUNCEMENTS. There is no ambiguity, no double meaning, here.
No one is left in doubt whether the event to happen is to be favorable or
unfavorable. No one is left in doubt what place or people is the subject
matter of the prophecy. In this case every circumstance is narrated with as
much minuteness of detail as if it were a piece of history acted before the
eye of the speaker. The place to be overthrown, its peculiar situation and
structure, its former greatness and splendor, the name of the invader, all his
military enginery and tactics, the steps by which he should proceed, and the
extent of his triumph, are announced beforehand with a dearness and
definiteness THAT CAN ONLY COME FROM A SUPERNATURAL
SOURCE! The contents of the prophecy are often so unlikely in themselves
that no human foresight, however shrewd, would conceive such issues; and
the fulfillment of such improbable predictions most plainly indicate the
operation of A DIVINE MIND!
FULFILMENT. “I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord.” The true
prophet of Jehovah is modest and self-oblivious. He does not speak in his
own name. He keeps himself in the background. His object is to exalt his
Master and to gain homage for Him. The predictions of God always take
effect. For with God there is no future. He sees things distant as though
they were near. Looking along the vista of ages, He perceives how every
event unfolds from preceding event. The history of men and of nations is,
to His eye, drawn out in long perspective. And His word is the mightiest
force in the universe. “He spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:9);
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made” (Ibid. v. 6);
“By the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4)
INTENTIONS. Wherefore did God declare beforehand this coming
suffering and disaster? Was it not enough to endure the calamity when the
destined hour came? As the main design was to promote righteousness,
this shall be done, if possible, in a way of mercy. The prediction would
serve to instruct and console the Jews in captivity. It would be beneficial
for them to be convinced that Jehovah ruled in all the affairs of men. If the
prophecy reached the ears of the King of Babylon, it would serve a good
purpose for him to know that he was a servant of the King of heaven, that
his army was under the control of God, and that the success of his military
expeditions depended on the good will of Jehovah. And if the prophecy
should be repeated in the ears of the Tyrians, who can tell that some
among them may repent and opportunely escape from the catastrophe? To
foreshadow the dread event is an act of kindness, which the humble and
teachable would appreciate.
15 “Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the
sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is
made in the midst of thee?” Shall not the isles, etc.? The Hebrew word is
used in a wider sense, as including all settlements on the sea-coast as well
islands. So it is used of
(Daniel 11:18), of the east and south coasts of
(ch.27:15). Looking to the extent of commerce described in ch.27., it probably
includes all the Mediterranean settlements of the Tyrians, possibly also those
the Indian Ocean and the
to spread far and wide.
16 “Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones,
and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they
shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the
ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at
thee.” The princes of the sea are not the kings of the isles, but the
merchant-princes of the city (Isaiah 23:8). They shall lay aside their
robes of state — Tyrian purple embroidered with gold and silver — and
shall put on the garments of mourners. Jonah 3:6 presents an
interesting parallel. The word thrones is used, as in I Samuel 4:13, for
any chair of state, as that of priest or judge (Proverbs 9:14; Esther 3:1),
as well as for the specifically kingly throne. For the, most part,
however, the later meaning is dominant.
17 “And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How
art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the
renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her
inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!”
Inhabited of seafaring, etc.; Hebrew, from the seas. The
sense is the same, but we lose the poetry of the original in the paraphrase.
Possibly, however, the phrase may represent the position of
out of the sea or as deriving its wealth from it.
18 “Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that
are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.” It is noticeable that the
commercial policy of
isles do not exult in their deliverance, but mourn over the captured city whose
commerce had contributed to their prosperity. The “terror” of v. 17 is rather
the impression of awe and wonder made on all who came to it.
19 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall make thee a desolate
city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the
deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;” When I shall bring up
the sea. The picture of desolation is completed. The sea washes over the bare
rock that was once covered with the palaces of the merchant-princes.
20 “When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit,
with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of
the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the
pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of
the living;” When I shall bring thee down, etc. The pit is sheol, Hades,
the unseen world of the dead. The image may have been suggested by
Isaiah 14:9, where it is used of
the mind of Ezekiel dwelt, and is reproduced in ch.32:17-32.
Here, apparently, the sinking in the depth of the waters (v. 19) is
thought of as leading to that world of the dead that lay beneath them. The
people of old time may possibly include the races of the old world that
were submerged in the waters of the Flood. The imagery of Psalm 88:3-7
seems to have been floating before the prophet’s mind. I shall set
glory; better, will set. The contrast drawn is that between the shadow-
world of the dead, and the earth with its living inhabitants. There Jehovah
would establish His glory, would, sooner or later, manifest His kingdom,
Conjectural readings and renderings have been suggested as follows:
21 I” will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou
be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.”
I will make thee a terror. Ewald translates, “To sudden death will I bring thee,”
which corresponds with the margin of the Revised Version, I will make thee
Glory Departed (vs. 15-21)
A more imaginative and pathetic picture than that painted in these words
will scarcely be found in revelation, or indeed in all literature. The
the prophet’s nature. And no wonder; for never was a contrast more
marked and more significant than that between:
The isles shake with the resounding crash of the city’s fall. The groans of the
wounded and the dying are heard afar. Princes exchange their splendor for
trembling and astonishment. The city strong in the sea has fallen weak and
helpless in the day of Divine judgment. And the seamen who were
glory and security are no more to be found. (In the end there will be
tsunamis – “the sea and the waves roaring” – Luke 21:25 - CY - 2014).
Terror and trembling are upon those who dwell in the islands of the deep.
upon the deserted rocks, and upon the ruins strewn in disorder by the
lonely shore. The waters engulf the merchants, the seafaring men, and all
those who minister to the pomp and pleasures of a wealthy and luxurious
THE CITY’S PROSPERITY AND GREATNESS, AND WHO LOSE
AND SUFFER BY ITS FALL.
Some survived the destruction of
cherish the memory of days of wealth and feasting, haughtiness and
boasting. Some escaped with life, but with the loss of all which to them
made life precious. And others, who had brought their merchandise to the
great Phoenician emporium, now found no market for the commodities
they produced. For all such material loss gave sincerity and even bitterness
to their mourning and woe.
one of the gods which she has espoused is MATERIALISM. A
characteristic of mankind, prior to Christ’s Second Coming, will be
accepting the “mark of the beast” – Revelation 13:16-18 – In my
opinion, the current wide acceptance of tattoos is a softening predecessor
of this! – CY – 2014)
WITNESSED THE CITY’S DESTRUCTION, AND WHO WERE
IMPRESSED AND APPALLED BY THE SPECTACLE. Ezekiel himself
was one of these. Even the conquerors could scarcely fail to feel the pathos
of the situation, and to cherish some sympathy for the city whose splendor
and power their arms had brought to an end. The ruin of
the nations of the world. (The nations are dealt with in ways in which they
fully understand! “They shall know that I am God” - I recommend
Ezekiel – God’s Use of the Word Know – this website – CY – 2014)
Embodying, as the city did, THE WORLD SPIRIT – (Dear Reader,
have you ever heard of the term “Global Economy?” - CY – 2014),
civic and commercial greatness, it must needs have awakened poignant
feelings of desolation in the hearts of many who had no personal,
material interest in Tyrian commerce. The lesson of the frailty and
perishableness of earthly greatness, even if its moral side was missed,
could not but impress the historical imagination.
INQUIRE FOR THE CITY WHOSE GREATNESS AND
SPLENDOR ARE RECORDED IN TRADITION AND IN HISTORY.
The traveler who, impelled by curiosity or by historical interest, seeks for
the site of
vanished. Some ruined, deserted cities, famous in story, leave behind them
some ruin, some memorial, to which imagination may attach the traditions
of the past. But for
beat upon the shore, from the rocks where the fishermen spread their nets.
“Though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, SAITH
THE LORD GOD.”
SUGGEST BY CONTRAST ETERNAL AND UNFADING GLORY.
Who can contemplate the ruin of
such a city as
reminded of “the city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is
God”? (Hebrews 11:10) which the glory of God illumines with nightless
splendor, and into which are brought the glory and honor of the nations?
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Vers. 15-21. —
National disaster becomes a public lesson.
The world of men is one, although nationalities are many. There is a thread
of unity on which the separate jewels of humanity are strung. What affects
one affects, in some measure, the whole.
I. THERE IS MUTUAL INTERDEPENDENCE OF NATIONS. Nations,
like individuals, have been incarnations of selfishness. They have tried to
aggrandize for self alone, but they have failed, and in most cases the failure
has been a disaster. In respect to material property obtained through
commerce, it is emphatically true that the prosperity must be shared by
others. God will not allow any nation to retain every particle of its riches
within itself. To be most prosperous, it must make others partakers of its
wealth. The real welfare of one nation may be the welfare of all. Stable
prosperity is diffusive.
II. MATERIAL PROSPERITY IS POWER. It brings position, honor, and
extensive influence. The isles and lands with which
high repute. Many of the traders in other parts grew rich, gained powerful
influence, became in their circles princes, and sat upon thrones. It is power,
less potent than knowledge — power of an inferior sort — yet it is a
perceptible power. It gives leisure for investigation and discovery. It can
purchase stores of good. It can be converted into various forms of utility.
III. MATERIAL PROSPERITY KS VERY INSECURE. It often
awakens the envy and the cupidity of others. It germinates pride in its
possessor, and not pride only, but also arrogance and oppressiveness. In
the natural course of things reaction appears. The oppressed classes
combine and rise. Offence given to another nation in a spirit of overbearing
arrogance awakens resentment, provokes vengeance. The wealthy nation is
over-confident in its security and in its natural defenses. But a little
shrewdness or contrivance undermines every natural defense, or else
confidence in men disappoints, and in an hour the fancied security is
IV. THE FALL OF ONE NATION IS A GRIEF TO MANY NATIONS.
“They shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say, How art thou
destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city!” Some
selfish peoples would rejoice that a rival and a menace was overthrown.
But others would be plunged into profound grief. Their traffic would be
diminished, perhaps destroyed. Still worse, if
overthrown, what security have we? The downfall of
shook the foundations of other empires, shook the hearts of many
thoughtful men. It was evident that every kind of material defense was a
V. TRUE LIFE IS THE ONLY TRUE GLORY. “I shall set glory in the
land of the living.” The only permanent life is a righteous life. Other life is
ephemeral. This abides, this is eternal. Righteousness not only “exalts a
nation,” it consolidates and establishes it also. The” land of the living” is
the empire of righteousness — the true holy land. The kingdom which is
built on righteous principles is the
has wood and hay and stubble intermixed with the gold and silver of
sterling goodness. So far as righteous life prevails in any land on earth, so
far will true and permanent glory abide there. All other foundations, all
other defense, can and will be shaken. — D