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Lamentation over Tyre

27

The word of the Lord came to me: 2Now you, mortal, raise a lamentation over Tyre, 3and say to Tyre, which sits at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands, Thus says the Lord God:

O Tyre, you have said,

“I am perfect in beauty.”

4

Your borders are in the heart of the seas;

your builders made perfect your beauty.

5

They made all your planks

of fir trees from Senir;

they took a cedar from Lebanon

to make a mast for you.

6

From oaks of Bashan

they made your oars;

they made your deck of pines

from the coasts of Cyprus,

inlaid with ivory.

7

Of fine embroidered linen from Egypt

was your sail,

serving as your ensign;

blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah

was your awning.

8

The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad

were your rowers;

skilled men of Zemer were within you,

they were your pilots.

9

The elders of Gebal and its artisans were within you,

caulking your seams;

all the ships of the sea with their mariners were within you,

to barter for your wares.

10

Paras and Lud and Put

were in your army,

your mighty warriors;

they hung shield and helmet in you;

they gave you splendor.

11

Men of Arvad and Helech

were on your walls all around;

men of Gamad were at your towers.

They hung their quivers all around your walls;

they made perfect your beauty.

12 Tarshish did business with you out of the abundance of your great wealth; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares. 13Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. 14Beth-togarmah exchanged for your wares horses, war horses, and mules. 15The Rhodians traded with you; many coastlands were your own special markets; they brought you in payment ivory tusks and ebony. 16Edom did business with you because of your abundant goods; they exchanged for your wares turquoise, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and rubies. 17Judah and the land of Israel traded with you; they exchanged for your merchandise wheat from Minnith, millet, honey, oil, and balm. 18Damascus traded with you for your abundant goods—because of your great wealth of every kind—wine of Helbon, and white wool. 19Vedan and Javan from Uzal entered into trade for your wares; wrought iron, cassia, and sweet cane were bartered for your merchandise. 20Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. 21Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your favored dealers in lambs, rams, and goats; in these they did business with you. 22The merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; they exchanged for your wares the best of all kinds of spices, and all precious stones, and gold. 23Haran, Canneh, Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad traded with you. 24These traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of colored material, bound with cords and made secure; in these they traded with you. 25The ships of Tarshish traveled for you in your trade.

So you were filled and heavily laden

in the heart of the seas.

26

Your rowers have brought you

into the high seas.

The east wind has wrecked you

in the heart of the seas.

27

Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,

your mariners and your pilots,

your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,

and all your warriors within you,

with all the company

that is with you,

sink into the heart of the seas

on the day of your ruin.

28

At the sound of the cry of your pilots

the countryside shakes,

29

and down from their ships

come all that handle the oar.

The mariners and all the pilots of the sea

stand on the shore

30

and wail aloud over you,

and cry bitterly.

They throw dust on their heads

and wallow in ashes;

31

they make themselves bald for you,

and put on sackcloth,

and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,

with bitter mourning.

32

In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you,

and lament over you:

“Who was ever destroyed like Tyre

in the midst of the sea?

33

When your wares came from the seas,

you satisfied many peoples;

with your abundant wealth and merchandise

you enriched the kings of the earth.

34

Now you are wrecked by the seas,

in the depths of the waters;

your merchandise and all your crew

have sunk with you.

35

All the inhabitants of the coastlands

are appalled at you;

and their kings are horribly afraid,

their faces are convulsed.

36

The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;

you have come to a dreadful end

and shall be no more forever.”


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Eze 27:1-36. Tyre's Former Greatness, Suggesting a Lamentation over Her Sad Downfall.

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

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 Eze 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 (Isa 23:3), "a mart of nations."

of perfect beauty—(Eze 28:12).

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 (Eze 27:26).

5. Senir—the Amorite name of Hermon, or the southern height of Anti-libanus (De 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].

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

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].

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.

8. Arvad—a small island and city near Phœnicia, 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 (Ge 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.

9. Gebal—a Phœnician city and region between Beirut and Tripolis, famed for skilled workmen (1Ki 5:18, Margin; Ps 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.

10. Persia … Phut—warriors from the extreme east and west.

Lud—the Lydians of Asia Minor, near the Meander, famed for archery (Isa 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, Jer 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.

11. Gammadims—rather, as the Tyrians were Syro-Phœnicians, 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 (Jud 3:16), "short-swordsmen."

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 Phœnicians 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.

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.

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

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

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

16. "Syria was thy mart for the multitude," &c. For "Syria" the Septuagint reads "Edom." But the Syrians were famed as merchants.

occupiedold English for "traded"; so in Lu 19:13.

agate—Others translate, "ruby," "chalcedony," or "pearls."

17. Minnith … Pannag—names of places in Israel famed for good wheat, wherewith Tyre was supplied (1Ki 5:9, 11; Ezr 3:7; Ac 12:20); Minnith was formerly an Ammonite city (Jud 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."

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

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 (Ge 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, &c., 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.

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

precious clothes—splendid coverlets.

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 Eze 27:15, 16).

22. Sheba … Raamah—in Arabia.

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

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

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

Eden—probably a region in Babylonia (see Ge 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.

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.

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) travellers." Fairbairn translates, "Were thy walls." But the parallelism to "thou wast glorious" favors English Version, "sing of thee."

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 (Ps 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.

27. The detailed enumeration implies the utter completeness of the ruin.

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

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

29. So on the downfall of spiritual Babylon (Re 18:17, &c.).

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

30. against thee—rather, "concerning thee."

31. utterly bald—literally, "bald with baldness." The Phœnician custom in mourning; which, as being connected with heathenish superstitions, was forbidden to Israel (De 14:1).

32. take up—lift up.

the destroyed—a destroyed one. Literally, (as opposed to its previous bustle of thronging merchants and mariners, Eze 27:27), "one brought to death's stillness."

in … midst of … sea—insular Tyre.

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.

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

35. isles—seacoasts.

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




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