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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Ezekiel 27

 

 

Verse 1

The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 2

Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;

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


Verse 3

And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.

O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea - literally, plural, 'entrances,' i:e., 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 (cf. Ezekiel 28:2).

A merchant of the people for many isles - i:e., a mercantile emporium of the peoples of many sea coasts, both from the east and from the west (Isaiah 23:3, "A mart of nations").

Thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty - (Ezekiel 28:12).


Verse 4

Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.

Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. Tyre, in consonance with her sea-girt 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 skillful pilots but at last in tempestuous seas wrecked (Ezekiel 27:26).


Verse 5

They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.

They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir - or 'Shenir,' the Amorite name of Hermon, or the southern height of Antilibanus (Deuteronomy 3:9); the Sidonian name was Sirion. "All thy ... 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).

They have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee - "cedars," most suited for "masts," from their height and durability.


Verse 6

Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.

Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars. Bashan was celebrated for its oaks, as Lebanon was for its cedars.

The company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory - the most skill 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 beat boxwood [ bat (Hebrew #1323) 'ashuriym (Hebrew #839)]. Fairbairn, with the Chaldee, and one of DeRossi's manuscripts and Bochart, reads the Hebrew two words as one [bit


Verse 7

Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee.

Fine linen, with broidered work from Egypt, was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail. The ancients embroidered their sails often at great expense, especially the Egyptians, whose linen, still preserved in mummies, is of the finest texture.

Blue and purple from the isles of Elishah - Greece; so called from Elis, a large and ancient division of Peloponese. Pausanias says that the best of linen was produced in it, and in no other part of Greece; called by Homer 'Alisium.'

Was that which covered thee - thy awning.


Verse 8

The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots.

The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners - Arvad, a small island and city near Phoenicia, now Ruad: its inhabitants are still noted for seafaring habits.

Thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were 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 be commanders and pilots. Implying the political and mercantile superiority of Tyre.


Verse 9

The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise.

The ancients of Gebal - a Phoenician city and region between Beirut and Tripolis, famed for skilled workmen (margin, 1 Kings 5:18, 'the Giblites;' Psalms 83:7).

Were in thee thy calkers - stoppers of chinks in a vessel: carrying on the metaphor as to Tyre.

All the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise - i:e., to exchange merchandise with thee.


Verse 10

They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.

They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut - warriors from the extreme east and west.

Lud - the Lydians of Asia Minor, near the Meander, famed for archery (Isaiah 66:19. "Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow"); 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, "the Libyans (Phut), that handle the shield:" descended from Phut, son of Ham).

They hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness. Warriors hanged their accoutrements on the walls for ornament. Divested of the metaphor, it means, it was an honour to thee to have so many nations supplying thee with hired soldiers.


Verse 11

The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect.

The Gammadims were in thy towers - rather, as the Tyrians were Syro-Phoenicians, from a Syriac root meaning daring, 'men of daring' (Ludovicus de Dieu). There was probably a root [gaamad], daring, akin to the Syriac. 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 danger,' or short sword such as Ehud used, with two edges and of a cubit length, in killing Eglon (Judges 3:16), 'short-swordsmen.' Thus, the name comes from [ gomed (Hebrew #1574)] a cubit: or, in the former interpretation, an arm, 'men powerful in arm.'


Verse 12

Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.

Tarshish - Tartessus in Spain, a country famed for various metals, which were exported to Tyre.

With silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. Much of the "tin" [ b


Verse 13

Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.

Javan - the Ionians or Greeks; because the Ionians of Asia Minor were the first Greeks whom the Asiatics came in contact with.

Tubal and Meshech - the Tibareni and Moschi in the mountain-region between the Black and Caspian seas.

They traded the persons of men - i:e, as slaves. So the Turkish harems are supplied with female slaves from Circassia and Georgia.

And vessels of brass - all kinds of articles or implements of copper. Superior weapons are still manufactured in the Caucasus region.


Verse 14

They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.

They of the house of Togarmah - Armenia: descended from Gomer (Genesis 10:3). The mountainous region south of the Caucasus was celebrated for horses.

Horsemen - rather, 'riding-horses,' as distinct from 'horses' for chariots (Fairbairn).


Verse 15

The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony.

The men of 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.) Many isles were the merchandise of thine hand - i:e., were dependent on thee for trade (Fairbairn); came to buy the produce of thy hands (Grotius).

They brought thee for a present horns of ivory - ivory is so termed from its resemblance to horns. The Hebrew word for "ivory" [ sheen (Hebrew #8127)] 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.

A present - literally, a reward in return; a price paid for merchandise.


Verse 16

Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.

Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making - `Syria was thy mart for the multitude of wares' (not manufactured in Tyre, but) conveyed to Tyre for traffic. For Syria [ 'Araam (Hebrew #758)], the Septuagint reads Edom [ 'Edom (Hebrew #123)]. But the Syrians were famed as merchants. Henderson urges in favour of "Edom" that it is not likely that Idumea and its capital, Petra, famed for traffic, should be left unnoticed, whereas "Syria" may be viewed as included under "Damascus" (Ezekiel 27:18). "Edom" is supported also by 15 manuscripts. and the Hexapla, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

They occupied in thy fairs - old English for 'traded;' so in Luke 19:13, "Occupy until I come."

With ... agate - others translate, 'ruby,' 'chalcedony,' or 'pearls.'


Verse 17

Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.

Judah, and the land of Israel ... were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and 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 12:2); Minnith was formerly an Ammonite city (Judges 11:33). "Pannag" is identified by Grotius with 'Phenice,' the Greek name for Canaan. "They traded ... wheat" - i:e., they supplied thy market with wheat.

Balm - or, 'balsam.'


Verse 18

Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool.

Damascus was thy merchant ... in the wine of Helbon - or Chalybon, in Syria, now Aleppo: famed for its wines; the Persian monarchs would drink no other.


Verse 19

Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.

Dan also. None of the other places enumerated commence with the copula (also; Hebrew, w


Verse 20

Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots.

Dedan - in Arabia; distinct from the Dedan in Ezekiel 27:15 (see note). Descended from Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:3). (Bochart.)

Was thy merchant in precious clothes - splendid coverlets.


Verse 21

Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.

Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar - the nomadic tribes of Arabia, among which Kedar was preeminent.

They occupied with thee - literally, as margin, 'they were the merchants of thy hand' - i:e., they traded with thee for wares, the product of thy hand; or wares with which thou hadst to do in the way of business (notes, see Ezekiel 27:15-16).


Verse 22

The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

The merchants of Sheba and Raamah - (see my note on Joel 3:8. Raamah was on the Persian Gulf, and was the seat of the Hamite Sabeans, descended from Sheba the son of Raamah, the son of Cush. Whereas the Shemite Sabeans, descended from Sheba, the tenth son of Joktan, dwelt in the southwest of Arabia, from the Red Sea to the Straits of Babel-mandeb. So that Ezekiel recites the two channels of merchandise-Raamah on the Persian Gulf, Sheba on the Red Sea, in Arabia).

They occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold - obtained from India and conveyed in caravans to Tyre.

Chief of ... spices - i:e., best spices (Deuteronomy 33:15).


Verse 23

Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.

Haran - the dwelling-place of Abraham in Mesopotamia after he moved from Ur (Genesis 11:31) 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; Genesis 2:14).

Chilmad - a compound; the place designated by Ptolemy Gaala of Media. The Chaldaic version interprets it of Media. Henderson refers it to Carmanda, which Xenophon describe as a large city beyond the Euphrates.


Verse 24

These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.

These were thy merchants in all sorts of things - Hebrew, 'perfections;' exquisite articles of finery (Grotius).

Blue clothes - rather, 'dark purple mantle,' or 'cloaks;' literally, wrappings [ g


Verse 25

The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.

The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee - personification; thy great merchant ships were palpable proofs of thy greatness. [ shaarowtayik (Hebrew #7788) Maurer translates, from a different Hebrew root, shaaraah, from shuwr (Hebrew #7788), to go about, 'were thy, (mercantile) travelers.'] Fairbairn translates, 'were thy walls.' So the ships of war used to be called 'the wooden walls of England.' The parallelism to "thou wast ... made very glorious," favours the English version, "sing of thee" [from shuwr, or shaar, to sing].


Verse 26

Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.

Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee. In contrast to her previous greatness, her downfall is here, by a sudden transition, depicted under the image of a vessel foundering at sea.

The east wind - blowing from Lebanon, the most violent wind in the Mediterranean (Psalms 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

Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, and in all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.

Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise ... shall fall into the midst of the seas. 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 shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.

The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots - the buildings of Tyre on the adjoining continent.


Verse 29

And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land;

The mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships. So on the downfall of spiritual Babylon, (Revelation 18:17, etc.)

Shall stand upon the land - being cast out of their ships, in which heretofore they prided themselves.


Verse 30

And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes:

And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee - rather, 'concerning thee.'


Verse 31

And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.

They shall make themselves utterly bald - literally, bald with baldness. The Phoenician custom in mourning, which, as being connected with paganish superstitions, was forbidden to Israel ( Deuteronomy 14:1).


Verse 32

And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?

They shall take up a lamentation for thee - lift up.

What city is like Tyrus, like 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' [ dumaah (Hebrew #1822), from daamaah (Hebrew #1820)].

In the midst of the sea - insular Tyre.


Verse 33

When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.

When thy wares went forth out of the seas - brought on shore out of the ships.

Thou filledst many people - didst supply plentifully with wares.

Thou didst enrich the kings of the earth - with the custom dues levied on the wares.


Verse 34

In the time when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall.

In the time when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters, thy merchandise, and all thy company ... shall fall - rather, as this is part of the lamentation of the mourners over Tyre, translate, 'Now that thou art broken (wrecked) by the seas, thy merchandise, etc., are fallen' (Maurer).


Verse 35

All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.

All the inhabitants of the isles - i:e., the inhabitants of the sea coasts.


Verse 36

The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.

The merchants among the people shall hiss - with astonishment, as in 1 Kings 9:8. The merchants among the people shall hiss - with astonishment, as in 1 Kings 9:8.

Remarks:

(1) The mercantile greatness and the beauty of Tyre as to situation (Ezekiel 27:3) only make her disastrous and utter downfall in the end the more awful by contrast. Sooner or hater there is a termination to all the riches, honour, and beauty of the world; like a ship which has been built of the most costly materials, manned with the best mariners, and decked with snow-white sails and flaunting and gay pennants, but which, encountering agitated seas, is broken in pieces by the waves and tempests (Ezekiel 27:4-9; Ezekiel 27:26). Such was maritime Tyre; and such shall every people be at last whose greatness rests not on the strength of Yahweh.

(2) It was not owing to any lack of troops and arms (Ezekiel 27:9-10) that Tyre fell; nor yet was it because her commercial stability rested on an unreal basis, in a worldly point of view. Tyre had all these sources of material wealth, permanence, and security, apparently as much as any nation ever had them (Ezekiel 27:12-25). It might have seemed that it would be against the interest of any nation to go to war with her, inasmuch as she was wholly occupied with the peaceable pursuits of merchandise, and acted as a common center of commerce to all, without the inclination to make a hostile assault on any. But "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain" (Psalms 127:1). Tyre, with all her worldly advantages, and even spiritual privileges through her nearness to and alliance with Israel, had not sought the favour of the God to whom she owed her all; therefore all her apparent sources of wealth and stability failed to save her; but these, together with herself, "fell into the midst of the seas in the day of her ruin" (Ezekiel 27:27). Let our great mercantile nation, which boasts of her ships of war as constituting her impregnable 'walls' (note, Ezekiel 27:25), take heed that she rests her security, not on her material resources, nor even on the industry, commercial enterprise, and bravery of her sons, but on the favour of the Lord. Let each of us use the means and opportunities for missionary effort afforded by England's extensive empire, to the best of our ability; so shall we, as far as in us lies, lay a sure foundation for our country's safety in that "righteousness" which "exalteth a nation."

(3) The case of Tyre intimates that God's eye is upon men, not only when they are in the house of God praying and hearing, but also when they are in the shop and in the market buying and selling. God sanctions the lawful pursuits of trade, because He hath so constituted countries that some abound in commodities which others have not, serviceable to the needs, comforts, and elegancies of life. But God would have men to remember Him in all their ways, and neither to violate the laws of justice and love to their fellow-man in their commercial dealings, nor to allow their hearts to be engrossed with earthly gain and business, so as to cease to make His glory, and their own and their neighbours' salvation, their chief aim.

(4) The men of the world shall mourn at last when all that they esteemed great, glorious, and permanent, shall, contrary to their expectations, have come to a complete end; just as the various persons connected with Tyre mourned over her downfall (Ezekiel 27:29-32). How vain a confidence is theirs who put their trust in any power of man! There is no solid and lasting help in any son of man, seeing that "his breath goeth forth" and "he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish" (Psalms 146:4). He alone is "happy that hath the God of Jacob for his help, and whose hope is in the Lord his God." Resting by faith on the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall not be, like Tyre, founded on an earthly rock (Ezekiel 26:4), but shall be secure forever from the waves of destruction.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ezekiel 27:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ezekiel-27.html. 1871-8.

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