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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books

Ezekiel 26

 

 

Verses 1-21

Chapter Twenty-six

God’s Judgment On Tyre

The city of Tyre at the time of Jerusalem’s siege was still a great and prominent commercial metropolis. Its ships visited every port of the then known world, carrying goods of all kinds from western Asia, and returning with raw materials such as could be used in Phoenicia. It was renowned as a city of pleasure-lovers who lived in independence of God and vaunted themselves in their security against their foes because of their insular position, but judgment must fall on Tyre as well as on the other peoples surrounding Israel, because of their wickedness and corruption.

“And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, because that Tyre hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gate of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste: therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I am against thee, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her a bare rock. She shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah; and she shall become a spoil to the nations. And her daughters that are in the field shall be slain with the sword: and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 1-6.

This prophecy was given about two years after the one we have just been considering, as recorded in the previous chapter. Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy against Tyre because she had rejoiced in the grief and sorrow that had come upon Jerusalem. He pictures her as exulting in the misfortunes of her neighbor, and counting that the troubles that had befallen Jerusalem would work out for the further upbuilding of Tyre herself. Because of her heartless attitude, Jehovah declared Himself to be against her, and announced that He would cause many nations to come up and besiege her, so that it would seem that the sea itself were hurling its waves upon the doomed city. The walls of Tyre should be destroyed; her towers broken down; the very dust of her foundations scraped away so that it would appear as but a bare rock in the midst of the water. So literally has this prophecy been fulfilled that even at this very day the rocky island on which Tyre once stood is now in exactly the same condition as foretold here. It is still a place for the spreading of the nets of fishermen, and has been the astonishment of many who have beheld it throughout the centuries. The outlying villages were to be destroyed with the mother city, and this, too, came to pass in due time.

The means whereby this destruction was wrought is predicted in the next section.

“For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, from the north, “with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and a company, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field; and he shall make forts against thee, and cast up a mound against thee, and raise up the buckler against thee. And he shall set his battering engines against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. 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 wagons, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets; he shall slay thy people with the sword; and the pillars of thy strength shall go down to the ground. 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 waters. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee a bare rock; thou shalt be a place for the spreading of nets; thou shalt be built no more: for I Jehovah have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah”-vers. 7-14.

Nebuchadrezzar-note the spelling here, for the “R” in place of the “N,” in the second to the last syllable, is found upon the bricks that composed a part of the wall of the city of Babylon; evidently Nebuchadrezzar was the Chaldean form of this monarch’s name; whereas the Jews called him Nebuchadnezzar. He little realized, when fired with ambition to be monarch of all the world, leading his armies against nation after nation, that he was really the instrument in God’s hand for punishing the peoples who had turned away from the truth of God and followed after their idols. It was because of this that no power was strong enough to stand against the Chaldeans. Every engine of war then known was put into action by them and used for the breaking down of the walls and towers of the cities that they besieged; their vast cohorts of cavalry, their wagons filled with instruments to use in the siege and chariots whereby to attack their foes, made them a fearful power to be reckoned with. As we read these verses we have little difficulty visualizing the triumphant dash of the vanguard of Nebuchadnezzar’s hosts as they trod down the people in the streets of the cities that they sought to destroy: none were able to resist them, nor to save their wealth from being carried away. The riches of all the subdued nations were taken as a spoil by the Babylonians and carried into the land of Shinar. All joy and gladness disappeared from the conquered city so that not even the sound of a harp was heard again among them-and all this because of the pride and folly that led Tyre to exalt itself above the people of Jehovah’s choice. Again He says He will make them a bare rock and a place for the spreading of nets; furthermore, the declaration was given that Tyre would never be built again. Millenniums have gone by since these words were uttered and the fulfilment began to take place, but Tyre of the ancients is still as though it had never been. It is true that on the mainland another city bearing the same name has risen up, but it is poor and squalid indeed, as compared with the great seafaring city that was built upon the island at some distance from the shore.

“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to Tyre: Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded groan, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee? Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay aside their robes, and strip off their broidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble every moment, and be astonished at thee. And they shall take up a lamentation over thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited by seafaring men, the renowned city, that was strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, that caused their terror to be on all that dwelt there! Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be dismayed at thy departure”-vers. 15-18.

The many cities and nations in distant parts of the world with which the merchants of Tyre had done business would be filled with fear and dread when they heard of the fall of this great commercial center. The description here given is very much like that which we have in the book of the Revelation concerning the downfall of Babylon the Great. All hope of rehabilitation would be at an end, and with this would go all possibility of restoring the traffic in goods of every kind which had worked to the advantage of the merchantmen in distant places, who would lament with great grief and crying, exclaiming, “How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited by seafaring men, the renowned city, that was strong in the sea!” The people of the isles-a term, by the way, that includes not only actual islands surrounded by water but also cities built upon the seashore-would tremble in the day of the fall of Tyre, not knowing what the future might have for them.

Further description of the desolation that was to come upon Tyre is given in verses 19 to 21.

“For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: 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 the great waters shall cover thee; then will I bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, to the people of old time, and will make thee to dwell in the nether parts of the earth, in the places that are desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I will set glory in the land of the living. I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt no more have any being; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord Jehovah”-vers. 19-21.

She was to be so utterly destroyed that the great water would cover her foundation, and her people would be brought down into the pit: that is, into Sheol to dwell with the people of old-time who were found there in the nether parts of the earth; that is, in the lower or infernal regions. In other words, the eternal doom of the inhabitants of Tyre is linked with the temporal destruction that would come upon the city when God, in His indignation, would manifest His glory in the land of the living by the defeat of these people who had ridiculed and despised Israel-the na- tion He had chosen for Himself. They should become a terror and be rooted out of the earth, so that, although they were sought for, they would never be found again. This is in accord with the verse in the Psalms that declares, “The wicked shall be turned into hell” (that is, into Sheol), “and all the nations that forget God” (Psalms 9:17). Tyre had forgotten God, therefore the desolation that was to come upon her with the eternal doom of her people by casting them into the outer darkness in the depths of Sheol.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 26:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/ezekiel-26.html. 1914.

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