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An Oracle concerning Tyre


The oracle concerning Tyre.


Wail, O ships of Tarshish,

for your fortress is destroyed.

When they came in from Cyprus

they learned of it.


Be still, O inhabitants of the coast,

O merchants of Sidon,

your messengers crossed over the sea


and were on the mighty waters;

your revenue was the grain of Shihor,

the harvest of the Nile;

you were the merchant of the nations.


Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,

the fortress of the sea, saying:

“I have neither labored nor given birth,

I have neither reared young men

nor brought up young women.”


When the report comes to Egypt,

they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.


Cross over to Tarshish—

wail, O inhabitants of the coast!


Is this your exultant city

whose origin is from days of old,

whose feet carried her

to settle far away?


Who has planned this

against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,

whose merchants were princes,

whose traders were the honored of the earth?


The L ord of hosts has planned it—

to defile the pride of all glory,

to shame all the honored of the earth.


Cross over to your own land,

O ships of Tarshish;

this is a harbor no more.


He has stretched out his hand over the sea,

he has shaken the kingdoms;

the L ord has given command concerning Canaan

to destroy its fortresses.


He said:

You will exult no longer,

O oppressed virgin daughter Sidon;

rise, cross over to Cyprus—

even there you will have no rest.


13 Look at the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people; it was not Assyria. They destined Tyre for wild animals. They erected their siege towers, they tore down her palaces, they made her a ruin.


Wail, O ships of Tarshish,

for your fortress is destroyed.

15 From that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the lifetime of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song about the prostitute:


Take a harp,

go about the city,

you forgotten prostitute!

Make sweet melody,

sing many songs,

that you may be remembered.

17 At the end of seventy years, the L ord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her trade, and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18Her merchandise and her wages will be dedicated to the L ord; her profits will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who live in the presence of the L ord.


16. Take a harp. He compares Tyre to a harlot, who, after having spent the whole period of her youth in debauchery, has at length grown old, and on that account is forsaken and despised by all, and yet cannot forget her former gain and lewdness, but desires to grow young again and renew her loves, and, in order to attract men, goes about the city, delighting their ears by songs and musical instruments. Such prostitutes are seized with some kind of madness, when they perceive that they are disregarded on account of their old age; and we see that Horace mocks at Lydia on this account. 116116    {Bogus footnote} Thus Tyre, after having been ruined, and as it were buried in oblivion, will again put forth her efforts, and schemes, and contrivances, for recovering her former condition.

Make sweet melody. By the “harp” and “sweet melody,” he means the tricks, and frauds, and blandishments, and flatteries of merchants, by which they impose on men, and as it were drive them into their nets. In a word, he shews by what methods mercantile cities become rich, that is, by deceitful and unlawful methods; and therefore he says, that Tyre will regale their ears by pleasant melody.

Sing many songs. That is, Tyre will add fraud to fraud, and allurements to allurements, that at length she may attract all to her, may be again remembered by men, and recover her former celebrity. In short, as an old harlot contrives methods for regaining the favor of men, and allures them by painting, and ornaments, and dress, and songs, and musical instruments, so will Tyre recover her wealth and power by the same arts with which she formerly succeeded. And yet he does not on that account exhort Tyre to restore herself in this way, but proceeds with his prophecy.

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