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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Ezekiel 27

 

 

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 1-36

Ezekiel 27. The Dirge over Tyre.—The interest of the brilliant poem that follows is greatly enhanced by the description of the commerce of Tyre in a passage (Ezekiel 27:9 b - Ezekiel 27:25 a) remarkable alike for its textual difficulty and for its importance as a source for our knowledge of the trade of the ancient world. Tyre is compared to a gallant ship, of finished beauty, with equipments the finest and costliest, manned and piloted by the most skilful of sailors (Ezekiel 27:1-9). In Ezekiel 27:5, Senir = Herman. In Ezekiel 27:6, Kittim = Cyprus. In Ezekiel 27:7, Elishah possibly= Italy or Sicily. In Ezekiel 27:8, Zidon, N. of Tyre: Arvad, N. of Zidon: Gebal, between Zidon and Arvad.

Then follows (Ezekiel 27:9 b - Ezekiel 27:25 a) a gorgeous account of the commerce of Tyre, the varied commodities which were brought to her (as mistress of the seas), and the distant lands from which they came. In the description of the lands a certain order is observable: (a) the Mediterranean shores, (b) Eastern lands in three parallel lines drawn from south to north. Two verses (Ezekiel 27:10 f.) describe the mercenaries of Tyre. (By Lud and Put, if not also Persia in Ezekiel 27:10, are probably meant African peoples. Gammadim (Ezekiel 27:11) is quite obscure. Tarshish (Ezekiel 27:12) in S. Spain: Javan=Ionia or Greece: Tubal and Meshech (Psalms 120:5*), S. and S.E. of the Black Sea. Togarmah (Ezekiel 27:14)= Armenia. For Syria (Ezekiel 27:16) read Edom. Note the products of Judah and Israel in Ezekiel 27:17. Minnith, an Ammonite town. Pannag, unknown, should perhaps be donag = wax. Helbon (Ezekiel 27:18), slightly N. of Damascus. The first sentence of Ezekiel 27:19 should probably read, "From Uzal"—in S. Arabia—"came well-wrought iron." Dedan (Ezekiel 27:20), S. of Edom. Kedar (Ezekiel 27:21), N. of Arabia. Sheba (Ezekiel 27:22), in S. Arabia. Raamah, possibly near Persian Gulf. Haran (Ezekiel 27:23), in Mesopotamia, associated with Abraham. Canneh, site unknown. Eden on middle of Euphrates. Chilmad (Ezekiel 27:23) unknown.)

With wares from all these far-off lands the gallant ship (i.e. Tyre) is laden, and rowed out to the high seas, where she is wrecked by a mighty east wind (symbolic of Nebuchadrezzar). Very graphic is the description of the ship, her wares and company, engulfed in the heart of the sea (Ezekiel 27:26-28). (In Ezekiel 27:28, "suburbs" perhaps = surrounding regions). Then the other sea peoples with whom Tyre traded, and who are themselves involved in her ruin, utter a dirge in expression of their amazement and sorrow (Ezekiel 27:29-36).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezekiel 27:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezekiel-27.html. 1919.

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