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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 28

 

 

Verses 1-10

The prophecy against the prince of Tyre. Throughout the east the majesty and glory of a people were collected in the person of their monarch, who in some nations was worshipped as a god. The prince is here the embodiment of the community. Their glory is his glory, their pride his pride. The doom of Tyre could not be complete without denunciation of the prince of Tyre. Idolatrous nations and idolatrous kings were, in the eyes of the prophet, antagonists to the true God. In them was embodied the principle of evil opposing itself to the divine government of the world. Hence, some of the fathers saw upon the throne, not simply a hostile monarch, but “the Prince of this world, spiritual wickedness (or wicked spirits) in high places.” Whenever evil in any way domineers over good, there is a “prince of Tyrus,” against whom God utters His voice. The “mystery of iniquity is ever working, and in that working we recognize the power of Satan whom God condemns and will destroy.

Ezekiel 28:2

Thou hast said, I am a god - Compare Ezekiel 29:3; Daniel 4:30; Acts 12:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

I sit in the seat of God - Words denoting the speaker‘s pride; but the situation of the island-city, full of beauty, in the midst of the blue water of the Mediterranean, gives force to the expression. Compare the words describing the lot of Tyre as having been in Eden Ezekiel 28:13.

Thou art a man - Rather, thou art man.

Ezekiel 28:3

Thou art wiser than Daniel - The passage is one of strong irony. Compare Ezekiel 14:14; Daniel 6:3.

Ezekiel 28:9

But thou shalt be a man - Rather, yet art thou man.

Ezekiel 28:10

The uncircumcised - The pagan idolaters as opposed to the covenant-people.

The prophecy against the prince of Tyre. Throughout the east the majesty and glory of a people were collected in the person of their monarch, who in some nations was worshipped as a god. The prince is here the embodiment of the community. Their glory is his glory, their pride his pride. The doom of Tyre could not be complete without denunciation of the prince of Tyre. Idolatrous nations and idolatrous kings were, in the eyes of the prophet, antagonists to the true God. In them was embodied the principle of evil opposing itself to the divine government of the world. Hence, some of the fathers saw upon the throne, not simply a hostile monarch, but “the Prince of this world, spiritual wickedness (or wicked spirits) in high places.” Whenever evil in any way domineers over good, there is a “prince of Tyrus,” against whom God utters His voice. The “mystery of iniquity is ever working, and in that working we recognize the power of Satan whom God condemns and will destroy.

Ezekiel 28:2

Thou hast said, I am a god - Compare Ezekiel 29:3; Daniel 4:30; Acts 12:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

I sit in the seat of God - Words denoting the speaker‘s pride; but the situation of the island-city, full of beauty, in the midst of the blue water of the Mediterranean, gives force to the expression. Compare the words describing the lot of Tyre as having been in Eden Ezekiel 28:13.

Thou art a man - Rather, thou art man.

Ezekiel 28:3

Thou art wiser than Daniel - The passage is one of strong irony. Compare Ezekiel 14:14; Daniel 6:3.

Ezekiel 28:9

But thou shalt be a man - Rather, yet art thou man.

Ezekiel 28:10

The uncircumcised - The pagan idolaters as opposed to the covenant-people.


Verses 11-19

The dirge of the prince of Tyre, answering to the dirge of the state. The passage is ironical; its main purpose is to depict all the glory, real or assumed, of “the prince of Tyrus,” in order to show how deplorable should be his ruin.

Ezekiel 28:12

To “seal the sum” is to make up the whole measure of perfection. Compare the Septuagint

Ezekiel 28:13

Thou hast been in Eden - “Thou” wast etc. The prince of Tyrus is ironically described as the first of creation; but at the same time the parallel is to be maintained in his fall from glory. Like Adam in the enjoyment of paradise, he shall be like Adam in his fall.

Every precious stone - All the stones here named are found in the High priest‘s breastplate Exodus 28:17-20, but their order is different, and three stones named in Exodus (the third row) are wanting. The prophet may purposely have varied the description because the number twelve (that of the tribes of Israel) had nothing to do with the prince of Tyrus, and he wished to portray, not a high priest, but a king, having in view a figure which was to a Jew, especially to a priest, the very type of magnificence.

Tabrets - (or, drums) and “pipes” were a common expression for festivity and triumph.

Ezekiel 28:14

Thou art - Better,” Thou” wert. “the anointed cherub that covereth” In the temple the cherubim and all holy things were consecrated and anointed with oil (Exodus 30:26 ff). The prince of Tyre was also anointed as a sovereign priest - covering or protecting the minor states, like the cherubim with outstretched wings covering the mercy-Seat.

Thou wast upon the holy mountain - As the cherub was in the temple on the holy mountain, so the prince of Tyre was presiding over the island-city, rising like a mountain from the deep.

Stones of fire - i. e., bright and shining. Decked with bright jewels, the prince walked among jewels in gorgeous splendor.

Ezekiel 28:15

The “perfection” was false, unsuspected until the “iniquity” which lay beneath was found out.


Verse 21

Prophecy against Zidon. Zidon (mod. Saida) was more ancient than Tyre and was the original metropolis of Phoenicia Genesis 10:19, but in the times of Phoenician greatness it ever played a subordinate part. Only once Judges 10:12 do we find the “Zidonians” in conflict with Israel. The evil which they did was the seducing them to idolatry (compare Ezekiel 28:24), as in the case of Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians 1 Kings 16:31. The capture of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar increased the importance of Zidon, which was a wealthy and flourishing town when Artaxerxes Ochus destroyed it. It has rallied from time to time, but has never attained to any great consequence, though not in such complete ruin as Tyre.


Verse 22

Be glorified … be sanctified - Or, “get Me glory … have shown Myself holy” (and in Ezekiel 28:25).


Verse 25-26

The contrast of the future of Israel with that of the surrounding nations. This prophecy reaches far beyond a mere temporal restoration. It points to times of more permanent security, when from all nations and kingdoms the Church of Christ, the Israel of God, shall be gathered in, when the power of the world shall be forever broken, and the kingdom of Christ shall be established forever.

This transition from the enemies to the people of God closes the portion of the prophecies against the nations in the immediate vicinity of the Israelites, before passing to the more distant Egypt.

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 28:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ezekiel-28.html. 1870.

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