Eze 26:1-21. The Judgment on
Tyre through Nebuchadnezzar (TWENTY-SIXTH THROUGH Twenty-eighth Chapters).
In the twenty-sixth chapter, Ezekiel sets
forth:—(1) Tyre's sin; (2) its doom; (3) the instruments
executing it; (4) the effects produced on other nations by her
downfall. In the twenty-seventh chapter, a lamentation over the fall of
such earthly splendor. In the twenty-eighth chapter, an elegy addressed
to the king, on the humiliation of his sacrilegious pride. Ezekiel, in
his prophecies as to the heathen, exhibits the dark side only;
because he views them simply in their hostility to the people of God,
who shall outlive them all. Isaiah (Isa 23:1-18), on the other hand, at the close of
judgments, holds out the prospect of blessing, when Tyre should turn to
1. The specification of the date, which had
been omitted in the case of the four preceding objects of judgment,
marks the greater weight attached to the fall of Tyre.
eleventh year—namely, after the
carrying away of Jehoiachin, the year of the fall of Jerusalem. The
number of the month is, however, omitted, and the day only given. As
the month of the taking of Jerusalem was regarded as one of
particular note, namely, the fourth month, also the
fifth, on which it was actually destroyed (Jer 52:6, 12,
13), Rabbi David reasonably supposes that Tyre uttered
her taunt at the close of the fourth month, as her nearness to
Jerusalem enabled her to hear of its fall very soon, and that Ezekiel
met it with his threat against herself on "the first day" of the
2. Tyre—(Jos 19:29; 2Sa 24:7), literally, meaning "the rock-city,"
Zor; a name applying to the island Tyre, called New Tyre, rather
than Old Tyre on the mainland. They were half a mile
apart. "New Tyre," a century and a half before the fall of Jerusalem,
had successfully resisted Shalmaneser of Assyria, for five years
besieging it (Menander, from the Tyrian
archives, quoted by Josephus,
Antiquities, 9.14. 2). It was the stronger and more important of
the two cities, and is the one chiefly, though not exclusively, here
meant. Tyre was originally a colony of Zidon. Nebuchadnezzar's siege of
it lasted thirteen years (Eze 29:18; Isa 23:1-18). Though no profane author mentions his
having succeeded in the siege, Jerome
states he read the fact in Assyrian histories.
Aha!—exultation over a fallen rival
she … that was the gates—that
is, the single gate composed of two folding doors. Hence the verb is
singular. "Gates" were the place of resort for traffic and
public business: so here it expresses a mart of commerce
frequented by merchants. Tyre regards Jerusalem not as an open enemy,
for her territory being the narrow, long strip of land north of
Philistia, between Mount Lebanon and the sea, her interest was to
cultivate friendly relations with the Jews, on whom she was dependent
for corn (Eze 27:17; 1Ki 5:9; Ac 12:20). But Jerusalem had intercepted some of
the inland traffic which she wished to monopolize to herself; so, in
her intensely selfish worldly-mindedness, she exulted heartlessly over
the fall of Jerusalem as her own gain. Hence she incurred the wrath of
God as pre-eminently the world's representative in its ambition,
selfishness, and pride, in defiance of the will of God (Isa 23:9).
she is turned unto me—that is, the
mart of corn, wine, oil, balsam, &c., which she once was, is
transferred to me. The caravans from Palmyra, Petra, and the East will
no longer be intercepted by the market ("the gates") of Jerusalem, but
will come to me.
3, 4. nations … as the sea …
waves—In striking contrast to the boasting of Tyre, God
threatens to bring against her Babylon's army levied from "many
nations," even as the Mediterranean waves that dashed against her
rock-founded city on all sides.
scrape her dust … make her … top of
… rock—or, "a bare rock" [Grotius]. The soil which the Tyrians had brought
together upon the rock on which they built their city, I will scrape so
clean away as to leave no dust, but only the bare rock as it was. An
awful contrast to her expectation of filling herself with all
the wealth of the East now that Jerusalem has fallen.
5. in the midst of the sea—plainly
referring to New Tyre (Eze 27:32).
6. her daughters … in the
field—The surrounding villages, dependent on her in the open
country, shall share the fate of the mother city.
7. from the north—the original locality
of the Chaldeans; also, the direction by which they entered Palestine,
taking the route of Riblah and Hamath on the Orontes, in preference to
that across the desert between Babylon and Judea.
king of kings—so called because of the
many kings who owned allegiance to him (2Ki 18:28). God had delegated to him the universal
earth-empire which is His (Da 2:47). The
Son of God alone has the right and title inherently, and shall assume
it when the world kings shall have been fully proved as abusers of the
trust (1Ti 6:15; Re 17:12-14; 19:15, 16). Ezekiel's prophecy was not based
on conjecture from the past, for Shalmaneser, with all the might of the
Assyrian empire, had failed in his siege of Tyre. Yet Nebuchadnezzar
was to succeed. Josephus tells us that
Nebuchadnezzar began the siege in the seventh year of Ithobal's reign,
king of Tyre.
9. engines of war—literally, "an
apparatus for striking." "He shall apply the stroke of
the battering-ram against thy walls." Havernick translates, "His enginery of
destruction"; literally, the "destruction (not merely
the stroke) of his enginery."
10. dust—So thick shall be the "dust"
stirred up by the immense numbers of "horses," that it shall "cover"
the whole city as a cloud.
horses … chariots—As in Eze 26:3-5, New Tyre on the insular
rock in the sea (compare Isa 23:2, 4, 6) is referred to; so here, in Eze
26:9-11, Old Tyre on
the mainland. Both are included in the prophecies under one
wheels—Fairbairn thinks that here, and in Eze 23:24, as "the wheels" are distinct from the
"chariots," some wheelwork for riding on, or for the operations of the
siege, are meant.
11. thy strong garrisons—literally, "the
statutes of thy strength"; so the forts which are "monuments of
thy strength." Maurer understands, in
stricter agreement with the literal meaning, "the statues" or "obelisks
erected in honor of the idols, the tutelary gods of Tyre," as
Melecarte, answering to the Grecian Hercules, whose temple stood in Old
Tyre (compare Jer 43:13,
12. lay thy stones … timber … in
… midst of … water—referring to the insular New
Tyre (Eze 26:3, 5; Eze 27:4, 25, 26). When its lofty buildings and towers
fall, surrounded as it was with the sea which entered its double harbor
and washed its ramparts, the "stones … timbers … and dust"
appropriately are described as thrown down "in the midst of the water."
Though Ezekiel attributes the capture of Tyre to Nebuchadnezzar (see on
Eze 29:18), yet it does not follow that the
final destruction of it described is attributed by him to the
same monarch. The overthrow of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar was the first
link in the long chain of evil—the first deadly blow which
prepared for, and was the earnest of, the final doom. The change in
this verse from the individual conqueror "he," to the general "they,"
marks that what he did was not the whole, but only paved the way for
others to complete the work begun by him. It was to be a progressive
work until she was utterly destroyed. Thus the words here answer
exactly to what Alexander did. With the "stones, timber," and rubbish
of Old Tyre, he built a causeway in seven months to New Tyre on the
island and so took it [Curtius, 4, 2],
13. Instead of the joyousness of thy
prosperity, a death-like silence shall reign (Isa 24:8; Jer
14. He concludes in nearly the same words as
he began (Eze 26:4, 5).
built no more—fulfilled as to the
mainland Tyre, under Nebuchadnezzar. The insular Tyre recovered partly,
after seventy years (Isa 23:17, 18), but again suffered under Alexander,
then under Antigonus, then under the Saracens at the beginning of the
fourteenth century. Now its harbors are choked with sand, precluding
all hope of future restoration, "not one entire house is left, and only
a few fishermen take shelter in the vaults" [Maundrell]. So accurately has God's word come to
15-21. The impression which the overthrow of
Tyre produced on other maritime nations and upon her own colonies, for
example, Utica, Carthage, and Tartessus or Tarshish in Spain.
isles—maritime lands. Even mighty
Carthage used to send a yearly offering to the temple of Hercules at
Tyre: and the mother city gave high priests to her colonies. Hence the
consternation at her fall felt in the widely scattered dependencies
with which she was so closely connected by the ties of religion, as
well as commercial intercourse.
shake—metaphorically: "be agitated"
16. come down from their thrones … upon the
ground—"the throne of the mourners" (Job 2:13; Jon
princes of the sea—are the merchant
rulers of Carthage and other colonies of Tyre, who had made themselves
rich and powerful by trading on the sea (Isa 23:8).
clothe … with
trembling—Hebrew, "tremblings." Compare Eze 7:27, "clothed with desolation"; Ps 132:18. In a public calamity the garment was
changed for a mourning garb.
17. inhabited of seafaring men—that is,
which was frequented by merchants of various sea-bordering lands [Grotius]. Fairbairn translates with Peschito, "Thou inhabitant
of the seas" (the Hebrew literal meaning). Tyre rose as it were
out of the seas as if she got thence her inhabitants, being
peopled so closely down to the waters. So Venice was called "the bride
of the sea."
strong in the sea—through her insular
cause their terror to be on all that haunt
it—namely, the sea. The Hebrew is rather, "they put
their terror upon all her (the city's) inhabitants," that is,
they make the name of every Tyrian to be feared [Fairbairn].
18. thy departure—Isa 23:6, 12 predicts that the Tyrians, in
consequence of the siege, should pass over the Mediterranean to the
lands bordering on it ("Chittim," "Tarshish," &c.). So Ezekiel
here. Accordingly Jerome says that he
read in Assyrian histories that, "when the Tyrians saw no hope of
escaping, they fled to Carthage or some islands of the Ionian
and Ægean Seas" [Bishop Newton].
(See on Eze 29:18). Grotius explains "departure," that is, "in the day
when hostages shall be carried away from thee to Babylon." The
parallelism to "thy fall" makes me think "departure" must mean
"thy end" in general, but with an included allusion to the
"departure" of most of her people to her colonies at the fall of
19. great waters—appropriate metaphor of
the Babylonian hosts, which literally, by breaking down insular Tyre's
ramparts, caused the sea to "cover" part of her.
20. the pit—Tyre's disappearance is
compared to that of the dead placed in their sepulchres and no
more seen among the living (compare Eze 32:18, 23; Isa
14:11, 15, 19).
I shall set glory in the land—In
contrast to Tyre consigned to the "pit" of death, I shall set
glory (that is, My presence symbolized by the Shekinah cloud, the
antitype to which shall be Messiah, "the glory as of the
only-begotten of the Father," Joh 1:14; Isa 4:2, 5;
Zec 6:13) in Judah.
of the living—as opposed to Tyre
consigned to the "pit" of death. Judea is to be the land of national
and spiritual life, being restored after its captivity (Eze 47:9). Fairbairn loses the antithesis by applying the
negative to both clauses, "and that thou be not set as a glory
in the land of the living."
21. terror—an example of judgment
calculated to terrify all evildoers.
thou shall be no more—Not that there
was to be no more a Tyre, but she was no more to be the Tyre
that once was: her glory and name were to be no more. As, to Old Tyre,
the prophecy was literally fulfilled, not a vestige of it being