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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 26

 

 

Introduction

Oracles against Ammon (Ezekiel 25:1-7), Moab (Ezekiel 25:8-11) Edom (Ezekiel 25:12-14), Philistia (Ezekiel 25:17).—All of these petty powers were ancient hereditary enemies of Israel. Their enmity dated back to the days before the monarchy, and in the recent disasters and sorrows of Israel had expressed itself in violent and malicious ways. The Ammonites had instigated the treacherous murder of Gedaliah, the Jew whom the Babylonians had appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah 40:14). The Edomites had behaved with savage malice in the day of Jerusalem's distress (Psalms 137:7), as also had the Ammonites, who stamped and shouted for joy (Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6). The fate of them all is to be desolation and destruction—in the case of the Ammonites and Moabites at the hands of "the children of the east," i.e. the nomads of the Arabian desert; in the case of Edom, significantly enough at the hands of Israel herself: in the case of the Philistines the agent of the Divine vengeance is left vague. All these nations will thus be taught "that I am Yahweh," the mighty Yahweh, not the weak God they had taken Him to be, as they contemplated the fate of His people. The saying of Moab in Ezekiel 25:8 implies that Judah had claimed a certain pre-eminence (cf. Deuteronomy 4:32 ff.); in her noblest representatives she was beyond all question the spiritual superior of all her neighbours. (In Ezekiel 25:9 read "from the cities of its border to the glory of the land"; the three cities mentioned are all N. of the Amon. Ezekiel 25:13, Teman in north, Dedan in south of Edom. Ezekiel 25:16, Cherethites (p. 56), a Philistine tribe.)

Ezekiel 26-28. Oracle against Tyre.—From Israel's petty neighbours with their petty spite, Ezekiel turns to the great empires of Tyre (Ezekiel 26 ff.) and Egypt (Ezekiel 29 ff.). They too must go. In a passage of great literary power, which reveals the imaginative genius of Ezekiel, he describes the brilliance of Tyre, the range of her commerce, the pity and terror inspired by her (contemplated) fall.

Ezekiel 25-32. Oracles against the Foreign Nations. Ezekiel's denunciations (Ezekiel 1-24) are now over; with the news of the fall of Jerusalem his prophecies of restoration will begin (Ezekiel 33-48). But before Israel is restored, those who are opposed to her, and to the Divine purpose which is so mysteriously bound up with her, must be cleared out of the way. Appropriately therefore, at this point come the oracles against the foreign nations—first the near neighbours who had insulted and harassed her, then those more distant and powerful. These oracles, however, were not written between the beginning and the end of the siege; some of them clearly imply the fall of the city (cf. Ezekiel 25:3). But they are appropriately inserted here, as preliminary to the restoration.


Verses 1-21

Ezekiel 26. Siege and Destruction of Tyre.—Tyre is the incarnation of unrestrained commercialism; and, in the mind of Ezekiel her doom is justified by the malicious joy with which she hailed the fall of Jerusalem, whom, as "the gate of the peoples," she regarded as in some sort a rival, taxing, if not partially intercepting, the trade that passed between the south and Tyre (Ezekiel 26:1-6). The agent of Tyre's destruction is to be Nebuchadrezzar, against whom she had rebelled. At this point there is a realistic description of an ancient siege; and, when at length the island city is taken, it will ring with the unwonted sound of chariot wheels and horses' hoofs, and be reduced in the end to a bare rock (Ezekiel 26:7-14). (The "pillars" of Ezekiel 26:11 are probably those associated with the temple of Melkart, the god worshipped in Tyre. Even he could not save his city.)

Then the maritime states involved in the commerce of Tyre are finely imagined as moved by her fall to deep and genuine sorrow, which they express in a dirge (Ezekiel 26:15-18); and, as the city sinks beneath the waves, the prophet follows her with his imagination in her descent to the great primeval wastes of the nether world, from which she is to rise nevermore (Ezekiel 26:19-21). (In Ezekiel 26:20 instead of "and I will set glory" read something like "nor remain": cf. LXX.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 26:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-26.html. 1919.

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