Ezekiel Chapter 28:1-5, 11-19 Antique Commentary Quotes

Pulpit Commentary

From the city the prophet passes to its ruler, who concentrated in himself whatever was most arrogant and boastful in the temper of his people. He is described here as a” prince,” in Eze_28:12 as “king,” and the combination of the two words points probably to some peculiarity of the Tyrian constitution. “Prince” it will be remembered, is constantly used by Ezekiel of Zedekiah (Eze_7:27; Eze_12:20, el al.). The King of Tyro at the time was Ithobal or Ethbaal III. (Josephus, ‘Contra Apion,’ Eze_1:21), who had taken part with Pharaoh-Hophra and Zedekiah in the league against Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel’s description of what one may call his self-apotheosis may probably have rested on a personal knowledge of the man or of official documents.

Daniel Whedon
Ezekiel 28:2

2.Tyrus — Tyre (rock), now at the height of its glory, having been already in existence over two thousand years. This island fortress was very proud and very beautiful, and seemed an impregnable Gibraltar. Its lack of drinking water was originally its greatest weakness, as is seen from a record of an Egyptian traveler in the fourteenth century B.C. and from a Tel-el-Amarna tablet, where Abimilki, the governor, appeals for help to the Pharaoh, saying that Zimrida the Sidonian had cut off his supplies of wood and water. But evidently this defect had been remedied before the Nebuchadnezzar campaign, which Josephus says lasted thirteen years (Antiquities of the Jews, Eze_10:11). The inscriptions mentioned above prove that even then Tyre was celebrated for her vast wealth, as in Isaiah’s time she was the city “that giveth crowns” (Isa_23:8). For history and commerce of Tyre see Jeremias’s Tyrus, Movers’s Phoenicia, and notes Eze_26:2; Ezekiel 27.

I am a god — So boasted the king of Babylon (Isa_14:13-14; Dan_4:30). The inscriptions prove this statement of the prophet to be a literal truth. (Compare self-deification of the Roman emperors, Act_12:21-23.)


1. Physical Features:

The most noted of the Phoenician cities situated on the coast, lat. 33ø 17 minutes, about 20 miles South of Sidon and about 35 North of Carmel. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but it was later than that of Sidon. It is mentioned in the travels of the Egyptian Mohar, dating probably from the 14th century BC, and in the Tell el-Amarna Letters of about the same period. Herodotus describes the temple of Hercules at Tyre and says it was built 2,300 years before his time, which would carry back the beginning of the city to more than 2700 BC. It was a double city, one part on an island, a short distance from the shore, and the other on the mainland opposite. The island city had two harbors, connected by a canal, one looking North and the other South. The island was rocky and the city was fortitled on the land side by a wall 150 ft. high, the wall being of less elevation on the other sides. It was an exceedingly strong position, and is referred to in the Bible as the “strong” or “fortitled” city (Jos_19:29). The space within the walls was crowded with buildings, and is said to have contained 40,000 inhabitants. The town on the mainland was situated in a plain extending from the Ras el-‛Abyaḍ, on the South to Sarepta on the North, a distance of about 20 miles. It was fertile and well watered, the river Leontes (Litany) passing through it to the sea, about 5 miles N. of Tyre, and the copious fountain of Ras el-‛Ain, 3 miles to the South, furnishing an abundant supply both for the city and the gardens.

2. History:

(1) Tyre was for centuries subordinate to Sidon, but when the Philistines subdued the latter city, probably in the 12th century. (see SIDON), Tyre received an accession of inhabitants from the fugitives which gave it the pre-eminence. From this time dates its great commercial and colonial activity. Its mariners pushed boldly out to the West and founded colonies in Spain and North Africa, some of which, like Gades, Abdera and Carthage, became famous. They extended their commerce more widely than Sidon had ever done and ventured into the Atlantic and reached the coasts of Britain and West Africa. They reached out to the East also, and had their ships in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and their land routes threaded all Western Asia (see PHOENICIA). Tyre, like all the Phoenician cities, became subject to Egypt under Thothmes III in the first half of the 15th century BC, and remained so for some 300 years, but it enjoyed practical autonomy under native kings, being only subject to tribute and to furnishing contingents of ships when the Egyptian kings made their expeditions to the North. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters, dating from the first half of the 14th century, we find a certain Abi-melek (or Abi-milki) writing from Tyre to the king of Egypt asking for aid against the Amorite leader, Aziru, and the king of Sidon, who had joined the rebels. The name is Phoenician, and we know that it was the policy of the Egyptian kings to leave the native dynasts on the throne.

(2) After the decline of Egypt, Tyre regained her independence and exercised the hegemony over most of the Phoenician towns, at least as far North as Gebal (Byblus), as appears in the control that Hiram had over the Lebanon forests in the time of David and Solomon. Hiram was evidently desirous of an alliance with Israel, since he sent messengers to David and furnished cedar and workmen to build him a house, apparently without solicitation. The friendly connection between the two kingdoms was advantageous to both, since David and Solomon needed the timber and the skilled artisans that Hiram could furnish, and Hiram needed the food products of the land of Israel (1 Ki 5). Tyre was at this time noted for the skill of its artificers, and its manufactured products were famous throughout the world (see PHOENICIA, 4.). The purple dye and works in bronze were especially famous, and Hiram, the Tyrian artisan, was engaged by Solomon to cast the bronzes required for the temple (1Ki_7:13 ff). Hiram, the king, enlarged and beautified his capital. He united the two small islands on which the city was built by filling up the space between, where he made an open square and built a splendid temple to Melkarth and Astarte. He engaged in commercial enterprises with Solomon (1Ki_9:26-28; 1Ki_10:22), both in pursuance of the friendly alliance and also for the advantage of having the use of the port of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. His brilliant reign lasted 43 years.

(3) The list of kings who succeeded him contains the names of Baal-azar, Abd-ashtoreth, murdered by his brothers, the eldest of whom succeeded him, followed by Astartus and Aserymus murdered by his brother, Pheles, who was overthrown by the high priest Eth-baal, showing how disturbed the period was. Eth-baal, or Ithobal, was the king who made an alliance with Ahab and gave him Jezebel, his daughter, in marriage, which proved most disastrous both to her and the country because of the introduction of the Baal-worship into Israel. Eth-baal was an energetic monarch, and is said to have rounded Botrys (Batrun). He reigned 32 years, and was followed by Badezor and Mattan, who gave his daughter, Elissa (Dido), in marriage to her uncle Sicharbas and transferred the throne to them; but they were set aside by an uprising of the people, and Pygmalion, son of Mattan, was placed on the throne, and Sicharbas put to death. Elissa fled with a party of nobles, by sea, to Africa and founded the city of Carthage. This happened about the middle of the 9th century BC, Josephus putting it at 860 BC.

(4) In the first half of this century Tyre became subject to Assyria, and her hegemony in Phoenicia came to an end, but her prosperity was not seriously checked as we may infer from Isa_23:8, which was written a century or so later. Assyria was satisfied with the payment of tribute until the time of Tiglath-pileser III (745-727), who laid a heavier hand upon her, and this led Elulaeus, king of Tyre, to form a confederacy of the Phoenician cities against Assyria. Shalmaneser IV subdued all except Tyre, which he distressed by cutting off her water-supply. But the people dug wells and obtained enough to subsist upon for five years, when Shalmaneser was killed and Elulaeus recovered control of his territory. He was not molested by Sargon, but Sennacherib advanced against him with 200,000 men, and Elulaeus fled to Cyprus. The citizens made a successful resistance and Sennacherib did not take Tyre, but it submitted to Esar-haddon, and its king, Baal, obtained the special favor of the Assyrian king, who made him ruler of all the coast cities from Dor to Gebal, and the Lebanon was placed under his control (680-673 BC). It is rather surprising that Baal refused to assist him in his attack upon Egypt and that Esar-haddon did not punish him, probably because he was too much occupied with Egypt. Ashur-banipal, however, did compel him to submit and to give him his daughter, and those of his brothers, as secondary wives, but left him as king of Tyre.

(5) On the decline of Assyria, Tyre regained its independence, and its greatness is indicated by the fact that it resisted Nebuchadnezzar 13 years (598-585); it is uncertain whether the island city was taken, but it evidently came to terms with the king of Babylon (compare Eze_27:26; Josephus, Ant., X, xi, 1 and see The Expository Times, 1899, pp. 378, 430, 475, 520). After this siege Sidon took the lead and Tyre was in a disturbed state: the monarchy was overthrown and suffetes, or judges, took its place for six years, when the old order was restored. The decline of Babylon enabled Tyre to regain her independence for a short period until its submission to the Persians about 525 BC, and thenceforth it was a vassal state during the continuance of the Persian empire.

(6) It was by no means hindered in its commercial prosperity, and its great strength is seen in the brave and energetic resistance it made to Alexander the Great. All Phoenicia submitted to him without resistance, and Tyre was willing to admit his suzerainty, but declined to receive him into the city. This so angered Alexander that he at once commenced a siege that proved the most difficult undertaking in all his wars. He had no fleet and was obliged to build a mole (causeway) from the mainland to the island, but before he could finish it the Tyrians destroyed it and beat back their assailants handily. Alexander had to do the work all over again, and since he was convinced that without a fleet he would not be able to take the city, he procured ships from the Phoenician towns that had submitted, and with the aid of these was able to blockade the port and prevent the besieged from issuing forth to destroy the new causeway. This was at length pushed up to the very wall of the city, which was finally breached, and the troops of Alexander forced their way in. But even then the defenders would not yield, and the king himself had to lead the assault upon them with his bodyguard and put them all to the sword. Those who died with arms in their hands were 8,000, and the survivors, women, children and slaves, to the number of 30,000, were sold in the open market. He placed over the ruined city, into which he introduced some colonists, a certain Abd-elonim, and left it after having spent about seven months in subduing it.

(7) After the death of Alexander, Tyre passed into the hands of Ptolemy Lagi, and when Antigonus, in 314 BC, took Phoenicia from him, Tyre resisted, and he had to blockade it 15 months before it would yield, showing how quickly it had recovered from its previous disaster. It became a part of the Seleucid kingdom when Antiochus III drove the Ptolemies from Syria (198 BC), and the Seleucid kings regarded it of importance and gave it the right of asylum, and it was allowed the status of a free city by the Romans, Antony recognizing the magistrates and council of Tyre as allies. When the Parthians attacked and took Syria, in 40 BC, Tyre would not submit and was left untouched, being too strong for them. Augustus deprived it of its freedom, but it was given the status of a “metropolis” by Hadrian, and this title appears on its coins.

(8) Tyre is mentioned in the New Testament several times: Christ visited its territory (Mat_15:21; Mar_7:24), and people from there came to hear Him (Luk_6:17). Herod Agrippa I had trouble with Tyre, and a deputation came to visit him at Caesarea (Act_12:20). Paul visited Tyre on his journey from Asia to Jerusalem (Act_21:6-7).

Christianity was accepted by the people of Tyre, so that the 2nd century AD saw a bishopric established there, and in the 4th a council was held there to consider charges against Athanasius, by the party of Arius; he was condemned, a decision which brought the Tyrian church into disrepute. Tyre was already obnoxious to Christians because the anti-Christian philosopher Porphyry was from there. Tyre continued a commercial center, and Jerome says that it was the noblest and most beautiful of the Phoenician cities and an emporium of commerce for almost the whole world (Commentary on Ezekiel). It was of considerable importance in the Crusades and continued so until toward the end of the 13th century, when its trade declined, and it has now dwindled to a town of some 5,000 inhabitants. For “literature” see PHOENICIA.

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:1-10

1–10. The sin of the prince of Tyre (Eze_28:1-5), and his destruction (Eze_28:6-10)

The prince of Tyre of the time was probably Ithobaal III. It is not, however, any individual prince that the prophet threatens, but the ruler of Tyre, who is the embodiment of the spirit of the proud commercial city. The sin with which the prophet charges the prince is pride of heart and self-deification. The prince—who is but the impersonation of the spirit of the community—was very wise, wiser than Daniel (Eze_28:3). His wisdom expressed itself and found scope in his commerce and manufactures and in his arts. These produced wealth and splendour, which led to ungodly arrogance (Eze_28:4-5): the prince said, I am God, I dwell in the abode of God (Eze_28:2). For this deifying of himself in his own mind he shall be brought down. Strangers, the most terrible of the nations, shall assail him, and he shall die the death of the uncircumcised—those whose bodies are unburied or unhonoured in their burial.

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:12-19

12–19. Lament over the fall of the prince of Tyre

The passage is of extreme difficulty partly from the obscurity of several expressions in it, which do not occur again, and partly from allusions not now intelligible. The general drift of the passage is plain. (1) Eze_28:12-15. The prince of Tyre is represented as a glorious being placed in Eden the garden of God. He was the perfection of beauty, was set on the mountain of God, and was perfect in his ways from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him. (2) Eze_28:16-19. He fell from his high place through pride because of the multitude of his riches, and was therefore expelled from the garden of God.—Towards the end of the passage the allegory of a being in paradise is departed from and the actual circumstances of the prince and his city are more literally referred to. The text of LXX. diverges in important particulars from the Heb.

Particular difficulties, however, are numerous. 1. The expression “sealest up the sum,” Eze_28:12 is very obscure. For the participle “sealest” the ancient versions read signet or ring. That there is reference to a ring seems plain from Eze_28:13. 2. Again the cherub is referred to. There can be no doubt that the prophet has in his mind the story of Paradise (Genesis 2, 3). The cherub naturally belongs to the Paradise of God. In the Heb. text, as at present pointed (though the pointing is very anomalous) the prince is compared to the cherub, or said to be or have been the cherub. The text, however, permits the reading with or beside the cherub (v, 14, so LXX.). The prince sinned and was expelled from the garden of God where he was placed. The idea of the prophet is that pride and self-deification was the sin of the prince and caused his expulsion. This, however, in Ezek. is the sin of all the foreign princes or nations, Egypt no less than Tyre, and cannot be held part of a tradition of the Fall, or of paradise. That the prophet does refer to a fall and expulsion from paradise or destruction of the transgressor seems plain (Eze_28:16-17). But any fall of the cherub is not hinted at anywhere in the Old Test.; on the contrary the cherubs are represented as watchers and protectors of the garden of God against men (Gen_3:24). There are references in the Old Test. to the sin of higher beings (e.g. Gen_6:1; Isa_24:21), but the prophet’s allusions to the cherubs in other places make it very improbable that he should think of them as sinning. 3. It is probable, therefore, that it is the history of the first man that floats before his mind. The term “created” applied to the prince would hardly be used of the cherub. It is not unlikely, however, that Ezek. is in possession of traditions regarding Paradise more ample than those in Gen. or different from them. At the same time the divergences may be due to his own tendency to idealize. The prince of Tyre is represented as wiser than all men, even than Daniel; and in Job_15:7-8 the first man born is spoken of as possessing supernatural wisdom. The prophet might have before his mind that Wisdom which was the first of God’s works of old (Proverbs 8), and his architect in creation, and who realized herself in the symmetry of the universe.

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:12

12. king of Tyrus] The prophet appears to use the terms king and prince (nagîd, or nasî) indifferently. LXX. of Ezek. reserves the term “king” for the rulers of Babylon and Egypt, except in general expressions like “kings of the earth,” or, of the nations (Eze_27:33; Eze_27:35, Eze_32:10).

sealest up the sum] The term “sum” only again ch. Eze_43:10 of the construction or idea of the temple, there rendered “pattern.” The verb is used of the work of God in ordering creation by weight and measure, Job_28:25; Isa_40:12-13. The phrase “thou sealest” is pointed as part. art the sealer of, but some MSS. and the ancient Versions read art the sealring of. To “seal” has always the natural sense, or means to close up, fasten up; it seems nowhere to mean to round off, complete or consummate. LXX. omits “full of wisdom,” and the first words are in parallelism to “the perfection of beauty.” This would suggest that the first words describe what the prince is or was, not what he did. The term rendered “sum” may mean symmetry (perfection), and the whole: thou wast the sealring of symmetry (perfection), and the perfection of beauty. In this case the prince is compared to a sealring of exquisite workmanship. On the other hand if part. be read, “thou wast the sealer of symmetry,” the conception of something impressing symmetry (upon all things) seems expressed. There might then be an allusion to the Wisdom; cf. the comparison of light to a seal Job_38:14.

Pulpit Commentary


Thou hast been in Eden, etc. The words are suggestive, as showing that Ezekiel was familiar with the history of Gen_2:1-25 and Gen_3:1-24. (compare the mention of Noah, in Eze_15:1-8 :14, 20). To him the King of Tyre seemed to claim a position like that of Adam before his fall, perfect in beauty and in wisdom, the lord of the creation. And in that fancied Eden he stood, so he thought, not like Adam, “naked and ashamed,” but like one of the cherubim that guarded the gates of the primeval Paradise (Gen_3:24), covered with all imaginable splendor. Ezekiel returns to the phrase in Eze_31:8, Eze_31:16, Eze_31:18 and Eze_36:35. Other instances meet us in Joe_2:3 and Isa_51:3. Every precious stone. All the stones named are found in the list of the gems on the high priest’s breastplate (Exo_28:17-20; Exo_39:8-14). Three, however, of those gems are wanting—those in the third row of the breastplate—which are not named elsewhere; and the order is not the same. The LXX. makes the two lists identical, apparently correcting Ezekiel by Exodus. St. John (Rev_21:19) reproduces his imagery in his vision of the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, but naturally returns to the fullness of the symbolic number—twelve. Possibly the description of gold and bdellium and onyx (or beryl), as in Gen_2:11, Gen_2:12, may have suggested the thought that Eden was a land of jewels. The workmanship of thy tabret and pipes; better, the service. The Authorized Version and Revised Version follow Luther. Keil agrees as to “tabret” (so Gen_31:27; Isa_5:12; elsewhere, as in Exo_15:20 and Job_21:12, the Authorized Version gives “timbrels”), but takes the latter word (not found elsewhere) as identical with its feminine form, and meaning “female.” He sees in the clause, accordingly, a picture of the pomp of the Tyrian king, surrounded by the odalisques of the harem, who, with their timbrels, danced to his honor as their lord and king (camp. Isa_23:16; Exo_15:20; 1Sa_18:6). Havernick, who agrees with Keil, calls attention to a passage in Athenaeus, in which Strafe, a Sidonian king, is said to have prepared for a great festival by bringing girls who played on the flute and harp from all parts of Greece. Others, however (Smend), find in both the words articles of jewelry, pearls perforated or set in gold (as in Exo_28:20), and so see in them the conclusion of the description of the gorgeous apparel of the king. Furst takes the words as meaning musical instruments that were of gold set with jewels. Ewald, following out the Urim and Thummim idea, takes the gems as the subject of the sentence, and translates, “they were for the work of thine oracles and divining.” On the whole, the interpretation given above seems preferable. In the day that thou wast created. The words point to the time of the king’s enthronement or coronation. It was then that he appeared in all his supreme magnificence. Had Ezekiel been a witness of that ceremony?

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:14

14. Thou art the anointed] The word “thou” is pointed here anomalously as Num_11:15; Deu_5:24. It may more naturally be read with or beside. The terms rendered “anointed” and “that covereth” are wanting in LXX. (also in Eze_28:16). No meaning can be attached to anointed cherub, probably: cherub with spreading wings. The other phrase “that covereth” is used to describe the cherubim over the mercy-seat whose wings covered it and (at least in the temple of Solomon) extended from wall to wall of the most holy place (Exo_25:20; Exo_37:9; 1Ch_28:18). In these passages LXX. renders the word rightly “overshadowing.”

I have set thee] I set thee.

holy mountain of God] Different representations of the abode of God were current; it was sometimes spoken of as a mountain and sometimes as a garden. The mountain here is the same as the garden of Eze_28:13, cf. Eze_28:16. It is the abode of God, where the cherub was and where the prince was placed on the day when he was created. The allusion to the mount of assembly in Isa_14:13 is obscure. The combinations of Del. (Parad.) and Jeremias (Bab. Assyr. Vorstellungen vom Leben nach dem Tode) are controverted by Jensen, who makes it probable that Arâlu, the “mountain of the countries,” is not a special mountain on the earth, but the earth itself conceived as a mountain, under which lay the primary ocean. Neither is there the slightest foundation for the supposition that the prophet compares the prince of Tyre to a Gryph guarding treasure upon the mountain of God.

hast walked up and down] didst walk in the midst of (the) stones of fire. The “stones of fire” might be flashing precious stones (Assyr. aban ishâti, precious stone, Frd. Del., Par. p. 118); more probably there is some reference to the phenomena attending the divine presence and manifestation, ch. Eze_1:13, Eze_10:6, cf. Isa_6:6; Psa_18:14. Among the Muhammedans the shooting stars are held to be thunderbolts hurled at the eavesdropping demons who pry into the divine secrets.

Pulpit Commentary


Thou wast perfect in thy ways. The glory of the King of Tyre was, the prophet goes on to say, conditional. He began his reign in righteousness, but afterwards iniquity was found in him. And the root of that iniquity was the pride of wealth engendered by the greatness of his commerce (Eze_28:16). He was no longer like the cherub who guarded the Paradise of God, but like Adam when he was east out from it. Wealth and pride had tempted him to violence and to wrong, and he was no longer an “anointed” or consecrated, but a profaned and desecrated, king. The, “stones of fire,” the thunders and lightnings of the Divine Majesty, should no longer protect him.

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:16

16. By the multitude] Or, in the multitude.

they have filled] Or, thy midst (heart) was filled with wrong, and thou didst sin. LXX., thou didst fill.

therefore I will cast] therefore have I cast. The destruction of the prince is described as completed, lit. therefore have I profaned thee (casting thee) out of the mountain.

and I will destroy thee] More probably: and the (covering) cherub hath destroyed thee (driving thee) from the midst of the stones of fire. The construction as 1st pers. I have destroyed is possible, but quite improbable. The cherub is rather regarded as active in the expulsion from Paradise; in Gen_3:24, he is represented as barring the return of those whom God had expelled.

Pulpit Commentary


Thine heart was lifted up, etc. In yet another point Ezekiel sees the fall of Adam reproduced in that of the Tyrian king. He had forfeited his beauty and his wisdom through the pride which sought for a yet greater glory by a false and counterfeit wisdom (Gen_3:6). I will cast thee, etc. The words are better taken, as in the Revised Version, in the past tense, I have cast thee … I have laid thee before kings. Pride was to have its fall, as in Isa_23:9. The very sanctuaries, the temples which made Tyre the “holy island,” were defiled by the iniquities through which the wealth that adorned them had been gained. The “fire,” instead of being a rampart of protection, should burst forth as from the center of the sanctuary to destroy him. Is there an implied allusion to the fiery judgment that fell on Nadab and Abihu (Le Isa_10:2) and on Korah and his company (Num_16:35)? The doom of Sic transit gloria mundi was already passed on her.

Cambridge Bible Driver

Ezekiel 28:18

18. defiled thy sanctuaries] profaned. The phrase occurs ch. Eze_7:24; here, however, where the prince is spoken of, “sanctity” or personal sacredness rather than “sanctuary” seems the sense required. It is doubtful if the word can bear this meaning. LXX. reads: because of the multitude of thine iniquities in the wrong of thy traffic I have profaned thy sanctuaries, and I have brought forth a fire. The tenses are all in the perfect of threatening, and the threats here pass away from the prince and apply more to the city. On “fire” cf. ch. Eze_19:14.

bring thee to ashes] have brought, perf. of threatening. Any reference to the Phenix, consumed in a self-kindled fire, has little probability. The idea of the city, of the spirit and activity of which the king is the embodiment, tends more and more to take the place of the idea of the king. This is evident from the closing words Eze_28:19, which are identical with those referring to the city, ch. Eze_27:36. For people read peoples as usual.

Pulpit Commentary


Thou shalt be a terror, etc. The knell of doom, as heard in Eze_27:36, rings out again. The same judgment falls alike on the city and on its king. The question when and in what manner the prediction received its fulfillment has been much discussed. Josephus (‘Ant.,’ 10.11. 1; ‘Contra Apion,’ 1.19) states that Nebuchadnezzar besieged the island Tyre and Ithobal (Ethbaal III.) for thirteen years; that, on his father’s death, leaving his Phoenician and other captives to be brought by slower stages, he himself hastened to Babylon, and that afterwards he conquered the whole of Syria and Phoenicia; but he does not say, with all the Tyrian records before him, that the city was actually captured by him. It has been inferred, indeed, from Eze_29:18, that Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre ended in, at least, partial failure, that he and his army had no “wages” for their work, i.e. that the spoil of the city was meager and disappointing. Possibly the merchant-princes of the city had contrived to carry off part of their treasures in their ships. On the other hand, it may be noted

(1) that the national historians of the ancient world (perhaps not of that only) willingly minimized the disasters of their country; and

(2) that the Phoenician fragment quoted by Josephus (‘Contra Apion,’ 1.21) simply for synchronistic purposes, shows a significant change of government following on the siege. Ithobal was “king” during the thirteen years, but afterwards “judges” were appointed, and these ruled for periods of two, or three, or ten months. All this indicates a period of confusion and anarchy, the consequence of some great catastrophe. As a whole, too, we have to remember that it was with Tyre, as with Babylon and with other nations. The prophecies against them had “springing and germinant accomplishments.” What the prophet saw in vision, as wrought out in a moment of time, was actually the outcome of the slow decay of centuries, and of catastrophes separated from each other by long intervals of a dwindling history. The main facts of that history may be briefly stated. There was, as implied in Isa_23:17, a revival of commerce under the Persian monarchy, and of this we have traces in Neh_13:16. Two hundred and fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar, Tyre was still so strongly fortified that Alexander the Great did not take it till after a seven years’ siege (Died. Sic; 17.20; Arrian; 2.17; Q. Curtius, 4.2-4). It rose again into wealth and power under the Selencidare, and the Romans made it the capital of their province of Phoenicia. It appears as a flourishing town in Mat_15:21; Act_12:20; Act_21:37, and is described by Strabo (16.2, 23), as having two harbors and lofty houses. From A.D. 636 to 1125 it was in the hands of the Saracens. Saladin attacked it without success in A.D. 1189. In A.D. 1291, after Acre had been taken by storm by El-Ashraf, Sultan of Egypt, Tyro passed into his hands without a struggle. When it again passed into the power of the Saracens, its fortifications were demolished, and from that time it sank gradually into its present obscurity. The present Sur is a small town of narrow, crooked, and dirty streets, and the ruins of the old Phoenician city cover the suburbs to the extent of half a league round. The harbor is choked up with sand, and with remains of the old palaces and walls and temples, and is available for small boats only. The sea has swallowed up its grandeur. The soft on which the traveler stands is a mass of debris, in which marble, porphyry, and granite mingle with coarser stones. So it has come to pass that it is little more than “a place for the spreading of nets” and that the sentence, “Thou shalt never be any more,” seems to be receiving its fulfillment. There was for it no prospect of an earthly restoration, still less that of a transfigured and glorified existence like that which, in the prophet’s visions, was connected with Jerusalem.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s