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23. Prophecy About Tyre

The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. 2Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. 3And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations. 4Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins. 5As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. 6Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. 7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. 8Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? 9The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth. 10Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength. 11He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the Lord hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof. 12And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest. 13Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, til the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin. 14Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste. 15And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. 16Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

17And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. 18And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.

7. Is this your exulting city? The Prophet mocks at Tyre, and ridicules her pride, because she boasted of the antiquity of her name. He likewise confirms what all would suppose to be incredible; for this prediction was undoubtedly laughed at, seeing that the power of Tyre was unshaken, and her wealth was like a wall of brass. So much the more confidently does Isaiah speak, and threaten that her ruin is certain, and that, though she be more ancient than other cities, and though she be universally applauded on that ground, still this will not prevent her from being destroyed. The origin of Tyre is traced in profane history from time almost out of mind, and is so obscure and intricate, that hardly anything can be ascertained; though they allege that it was founded by the Phenicians, as those who boast of the fame of antiquity call themselves natives of the soil. With this antiquity the Prophet contrasts banishment, intimating that, when God had determined to inflict punishment on that nation, her stability would be at an end.

Her feet shall carry her, to travel into a distant country. To follow wherever “the feet carry,” is nothing else than to have long wanderings. Yet he also means that they will be deprived of their wealth, and will be in want of all things during their banishment, so that they will not have a conveyance of any kind, or a beast to carry them. Banishment is a very hard condition, when poverty is added to it; for it may be more easily endured where there are the means of supporting life; but when men must dwell in unknown countries in the deepest poverty, the misery is extreme. He adds the finishing stroke to their miseries by saying, that they must “travel into a distant country;” for the greater the distance, the harder is the banishment.


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