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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 27



Verse 1

Ezekiel 27:1-36. Tyre‘s former greatness, suggesting a lamentation over her sad downfall.

Verse 2

lamentation — a funeral dirge, eulogizing her great attributes, to make the contrast the greater between her former and her latter state.

Verse 3

situate at the entry of the sea — literally, plural, “entrances,” that is, ports or havens; referring to the double port of Tyre, at which vessels entered round the north and south ends of the island, so that ships could find a ready entrance from whatever point the wind might blow (compare Ezekiel 28:2).

merchant of … people for many isles — that is, a mercantile emporium of the peoples of many seacoasts, both from the east and from the west (Isaiah 23:3), “a mart of nations.”

of perfect beauty — (Ezekiel 28:12).

Verse 4

Tyre, in consonance with her seagirt position, separated by a strait of half a mile from the mainland, is described as a ship built of the best material, and manned with the best mariners and skilful pilots, but at last wrecked in tempestuous seas (Ezekiel 27:26).

Verse 5
boards”; dual in Hebrew,double-boards,” namely, placed in a double order on the two sides of which the ship consisted [Vatablus]. Or, referring to the two sides or the two ends, the prow and the stern, which every ship has [Munster].

cedars — most suited for “masts,” from their height and durability.

Verse 6

Bashan — celebrated for its oaks, as Lebanon was for its cedars.

the company of … Ashurites — the most skilful workmen summoned from Assyria. Rather, as the Hebrew orthography requires, “They have made thy (rowing) benches of ivory inlaid in the daughter of cedars” [Maurer], or, the best boxwood. Fairbairn, with Bochart, reads the Hebrew two words as one: “Thy plankwork (deck: instead of ‹benches,‘ as the Hebrew is singular) they made ivory with boxes.English Version, with Maurer‘s correction, is simpler.

Chittim — Cyprus and Macedonia, from which, Pliny tells us, the best boxwood came [Grotius].

Verse 7

broidered … sail — The ancients embroidered their sails often at great expense, especially the Egyptians, whose linen, still preserved in mummies, is of the finest texture.

Elishah — Greece; so called from Elis, a large and ancient division of Peloponnesus. Pausanias says that the best of linen was produced in it, and in no other part of Greece; called by Homer, Alisium.

that which covered thee — thy awning.

Verse 8

Arvad — a small island and city near Phoenicia, now Ruad: its inhabitants are still noted for seafaring habits.

thy wise men, O Tyrus … thy pilots — While the men of Arvad, once thy equals (Genesis 10:18), and the Sidonians, once thy superiors, were employed by thee in subordinate positions as “mariners,” thou madest thine own skilled men alone to be commanders and pilots. Implying the political and mercantile superiority of Tyre.

Verse 9

Gebal — a Phoenician city and region between Beirut and Tripolis, famed for skilled workmen (1 Kings 5:18, Margin; Psalm 83:7).

calkersstoppers of chinks in a vessel: carrying on the metaphor as to Tyre.

occupy thy merchandise — that is, to exchange merchandise with thee.

Verse 10
Phut — warriors from the extreme east and west.

Lud — the Lydians of Asia Minor, near the Meander, famed for archery (Isaiah 66:19); rather than those of Ethiopia, as the Lydians of Asia Minor form a kind of intermediate step between Persia and Phut (the Libyans about Cyrene, shielded warriors, Jeremiah 46:9, descended from Phut, son of Ham).

hanged … shield … comeliness — Warriors hanged their accoutrements on the walls for ornament. Divested of the metaphor, it means that it was an honor to thee to have so many nations supplying thee with hired soldiers.

Verse 11

Gammadims — rather, as the Tyrians were Syro-Phoenicians, from a Syriac root, meaning daring, “men of daring” [Ludovicus De Dieu]. It is not likely the keeping of watch “in the towers” would have been entrusted to foreigners. Others take it from a Hebrew root, “a dagger,” or short sword (Judges 3:16), “short-swordsmen.”

Verse 12

Tarshish — Tartessus in Spain, a country famed for various metals, which were exported to Tyre. Much of the “tin” probably was conveyed by the Phoenicians from Cornwall to Tarshish.

traded in thy fairs — “did barter with thee” [Fairbairn]; from a root, “to leave,” something left in barter for something else.

Verse 13

Javan — the Ionians or Greeks: for the Ionians of Asia Minor were the first Greeks with whom the Asiatics came in contact.

Tubal … Meshech — the Tibareni and Moschi, in the mountain region between the Black and Caspian Seas.

persons of men — that is, as slaves. So the Turkish harems are supplied with female slaves from Circassia and Georgia.

vessels — all kinds of articles. Superior weapons are still manufactured in the Caucasus region.

Verse 14

Togarmah — Armenia: descended from Gomer (Genesis 10:3). Their mountainous region south of the Caucasus was celebrated for horses.

horsemen — rather, “riding-horses,” as distinct from “horses” for chariots [Fairbairn].

Verse 15

Dedan — near the Persian Sea: thus an avenue to the commerce of India. Not the Dedan in Arabia (Ezekiel 27:20), as the names in the context here prove, but the Dedan sprung from Cush [Bochart], (Genesis 10:7).

merchandise of thine hand — that is, were dependent on thee for trade [Fairbairn]; came to buy the produce of thy hands [Grotius].

a present — literally, “a reward in return”; a price paid for merchandise.

horns of ivory — Ivory is so termed from its resemblance to horns. The Hebrew word for “ivory” means “tooth”; so that they cannot have mistaken ivory as if coming from the horns of certain animals, instead of from the tusks of the elephant.

Verse 16

“Syria was thy mart for the multitude,” etc. For “Syria” the Septuagint reads “Edom.” But the Syrians were famed as merchants.

occupiedold English for “traded”; so in Luke 19:13.

agate — Others translate, “ruby,” “chalcedony,” or “pearls.”

Verse 17
Pannag — names of places in Israel famed for good wheat, wherewith Tyre was supplied (1 Kings 5:9, 1 Kings 5:11; Ezra 3:7; Acts 12:20); Minnith was formerly an Ammonite city (Judges 11:33). “Pannag” is identified by Grotius with “Phenice,” the Greek name for “Canaan.” “They traded … wheat,” that is, they supplied thy market with wheat.

balm — or, “balsam.”

Verse 18

Helbon — or Chalybon, in Syria, now Aleppo; famed for its wines; the Persian monarchs would drink no other.

Verse 19

Dan also — None of the other places enumerated commence with the copula (“also”; Hebrew, {(ve}). Moreover, the products specified, “cassia, calamus,” apply rather to places in Arabia. Therefore, Fairbairn translates, “Vedan”; perhaps the modern Aden, near the straits of Bab-el-man-deb. Grotius refers it to Dana, mentioned by Ptolemy.

Javan — not the Greeks of Europe or Asia Minor, but of a Greek settlement in Arabia.

going to and fro — rather, as Hebrew admits, “from Uzal.” This is added to “Javan,” to mark which Javan is meant (Genesis 10:27). The metropolis of Arabia Felix, or Yemen; called also Sanaa [Bochart]. English Version gives a good sense, thus: All peoples, whether near as the Israelite “Dan,” or far as the Greeks or “Javan,” who were wont to “go to and fro” from their love of traffic, frequented thy marts, bringing bright iron, etc., these products not being necessarily represented as those of Dan or Javan.


bright iron — Yemen is still famed for its sword blades.

calamus — aromatic cane.

Verse 20

Dedan — in Arabia; distinct from the Dedan in Ezekiel 27:15 (see on Ezekiel 27:15). Descended from Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:3) [Bochart].

precious clothes — splendid coverlets.

Verse 21

Arabia — the nomadic tribes of Arabia, among which Kedar was pre-eminent.

occupied with thee — literally, “of thy hand,” that is, they traded with thee for wares, the product of thy hand (see on Ezekiel 27:15, Ezekiel 27:16).

Verse 22
Raamah — in Arabia.

chief of … spices — that is, best spices (Deuteronomy 33:15). Obtained from India and conveyed in caravans to Tyre.

Verse 23

Haran — the dwelling-place of Abraham in Mesopotamia, after he moved from Ur (Genesis 11:31).

Canneh — Calneh, an Assyrian city on the Tigris; the Ctesiphon of the Greeks (Genesis 10:10).

Eden — probably a region in Babylonia (see Genesis 2:8).

Chilmad — a compound; the place designated by Ptolemy “Gaala of Media.” The Chaldee version interprets it of Media. Henderson refers it to Carmanda, which Xenophon describes as a large city beyond the Euphrates.

Verse 24

all sorts of thingsHebrew, “perfections”; exquisite articles of finery [Grotius].

clothes — rather, “mantles” or “cloaks”; literally, “wrappings.” For “blue,” Henderson translates, “purple.”

chests of rich apparel, bound with cords — treasures or repositories of damask stuffs, consisting of variegated threads woven together in figures [Henderson].

cedar — The “chests” were made of cedar, in order to last the longer; and it also keeps off decay and has a sweet odor.

Verse 25

sing of thee — personification; thy great merchant ships were palpable proofs of thy greatness. Others translate from a different Hebrew root, “were thy (mercantile) travelers.” Fairbairn translates, “Were thy walls.” But the parallelism to “thou wast glorious” favors English Version, “sing of thee.”

Verse 26

In contrast to her previous greatness, her downfall is here, by a sudden transition, depicted under the image of a vessel foundering at sea.

east wind — blowing from Lebanon, the most violent wind in the Mediterranean (Psalm 48:7). A Levanter, as it is called. Nebuchadnezzar is meant. The “sea” is the war with him which the “rowers,” or rulers of the state vessel, had “brought” it into, to its ruin.

Verse 27

The detailed enumeration implies the utter completeness of the ruin.

and in all thy company — “even with all thy collected multitude” [Henderson].

Verse 28

The suburbs — the buildings of Tyre on the adjoining continent.

Verse 29

So on the downfall of spiritual Babylon (Revelation 18:17, etc.).

shall stand upon … land — being cast out of their ships in which heretofore they prided themselves.

Verse 30

against thee — rather, “concerning thee.”

Verse 31

utterly bald — literally, “bald with baldness.” The Phoenician custom in mourning; which, as being connected with heathenish superstitions, was forbidden to Israel (Deuteronomy 14:1).

Verse 32

take up — lift up.

the destroyed — a destroyed one. Literally, (as opposed to its previous bustle of thronging merchants and mariners, Ezekiel 27:27), “one brought to death‘s stillness.”

in … midst of … sea — insular Tyre.

Verse 33

out of the seas — brought on shore out of the ships.

filledst — didst supply plentifully with wares.

enrich … kings — with the custom dues levied on the wares.

Verse 34

In the time when … shall … shallNow that thou art broken (wrecked) … thy merchandise … are fallen [Maurer].

Verse 35

isles — seacoasts.

Verse 36

hiss — with astonishment; as in 1 Kings 9:8.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 27:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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