Ezekiel 26 - Outline of Ezekiel (MENU page)
This section, concerning the LORD's judgment of the Gentile nations, has been moving rapidly, as it touched on four nations in the previous chapter. Here, the pace slows, to take a detailed look at the judgment of Tyre and Sidon, in ch. 26-28.
     These city nations occupied the Mediterranean coast (to the north of the Philistines), in the western region of the modern country of Lebanon. Sidon was about 20 miles north of Tyre.
 
1. And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first [day] of the month,
[that] the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, because that Tyrus
{ie., Tyre} hath said against Jerusalem,
Aha, she is broken [that was] the gates of the people:
she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, [now] she is laid waste:
3 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I [am] against thee, O Tyrus,
and will cause many nations to come up against thee,
as the sea causeth his waves to come up.
4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers:
I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.
5 It shall be [a place for] the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea:
for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD:
and it shall become a spoil to the nations.
6 And her daughters which [are] in the field shall be slain by the sword;
and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
...in the eleventh year...
Jerusalem had been under siege for more than a year. Four months remained before its fall (Jer 39:2). In Jerusalem, king Zedekiah had heard the LORD's counsel from the mouth of Jeremiah: The city would fall. Zedekiah would be captured. The fate of the city and the king would be better, if he would surrender (Jer 38:14-23). But the king, paralyzed with unbelief, refused to obey.
     Meanwhile, the surrounding nations saw clearly, that Jerusalem would soon be taken by Babylon.
...aha, she is broken... she is turned unto me... I shall be replenished...
Tyre was an ancient Phoenician city. Four hundred years prior to Ezekiel's day, Hiram, king of Tyre, had sold cedar logs to David and Solomon, for the building of the king's palace and the Temple in Jerusalem (2Sam 5:11; 1Kin 5:1). But the relationship had not always been amiable.
     In Ezekiel's day, Tyre was a center of commerce. Due to its seaport, and the experienced shipmen who harbored there, the city held dominance in seafaring trade. Jerusalem was both a trading partner and a competitor, for it was a hub of overland traffic. Observing that Jerusalem was about to go out of business, Tyre was eagerly expecting to gain from the rerouting of overland trade through their city.
     The LORD would judge them, for He knew the thoughts of their hearts.
...behold, I am against thee... and will cause many nations to come up against thee...
Babylon would be the first of these nations. But the judgment of Tyre would come in waves, extending over a period of hundreds of years, before it was completely fulfilled as described in v.3-6.
7 For thus saith the Lord GOD;
Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon,
a king of kings, from the north,
with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen,
and companies, and much people.
8 He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field:
and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee,
and lift up the buckler against thee.
9 And he shall set engines of war against thy walls,
and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.
10 By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee:
thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen,
and of the wheels, and of the chariots,
when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.
11 With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets:
he shall slay thy people by the sword,
and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.
12 And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise:
and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses:
and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.
13 And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease;
and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.
14 And I will make thee like the top of a rock:
thou shalt be [a place] to spread nets upon;
thou shalt be built no more:
for I the LORD have spoken [it], saith the Lord GOD.
...I will bring upon Tyrus {ie., Tyre}, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon...
...he shall slay thy daughters in the field...
This may refer to both (A) agricultural workers, who would be unsafe outside the city walls, and (B) small towns and villages (ie., 'daughter cities'), which formed the suburbs surrounding Tyre, and which would be overtaken before the city walls were breached.
...he shall set engines of war against thy walls... he shall break down thy towers...
Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city from 585 - 572 BC. Tyre withstood the attack for thirteen years, because its seaport provided access to supplies and reinforcements. (In comparison, Jerusalem had fallen following eighteen months of siege.) When the Babylonian forces eventually breached the walls, they took few captives and found little plunder, because the people and wealth of Tyre had departed by sea to the adjacent island or to other Phoenician colonies. (Subsequently, the lack of plunder would become a factor in Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Egypt. See Eze 29:18,19) However, the mainland city was left in ruins. The site was so covered with rubble that it was hardly suitable as a place to clean and repair fishing nets. Nebuchadnezzar only partially fulfilled the prophetic points given in v.3-6 and repeated in v.12-14. But the Babylonians were only the first wave of the many nations which would come against Tyre.
     The city was later rebuilt. But the builders, aware of the vulnerability of the mainland site, chose to rebuild on the island about a half mile from the coast. This city was fortified and completely enclosed within a wall around the entire island. However, in 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the island city. To do this, he built a causeway from the mainland. The debris and even the dust, of the previously destroyed city, supplied the material needed for the causeway, in literal fulfillment of v.12,14. In addition to the causeway, Alexander employed the navies of other seafaring peoples and cities which he had previously conquered (including that of Sidon), to blockade Tyre's harbors and to attack its wall at several points.
     Alexandar's causeway was about 60 meters wide and a half mile long. Its presence changed the flow of sea currents and caused natural sedimentation which greatly widened the causeway. The modern city occupies the peninsula formed by the island and Alexander's enlarged causeway. The city also extends onto the mainland, both north and south of the original city site. Today, that location is a World Heritage Site, which preserves the ruins, not of the old city of Tyre (for those ruins are buried under the causeway), but of the Tyre Hippodrome, which was built by the Romans in the second century A.D. The Hippodrome is a large track for racing chariots (about 480 meters long and 90 meters wide) which is partially surrounded by viewing stands constructed of stone. Although this site no longer is near the sea, its large flat surface would be very suitable for spreading fishing nets. Thus, even today, the old mainland city site remains uninhabited, and its present condition satisfies the prophecy completely.
     The name 'Tyre' {HB= tsor} means 'rock.' The city had stood strong and proud, until the LORD judged it for its pride, and reduced it to a 'rock' for fishnets. (The word 'rock' in v.4 and v.14 is HB=sela, 'lofty cliff, fortress.' This word was apparently chosen to be derogatory, of the final low estate of the self-exalting city.)
 
15. Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus;
Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall,
when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?
16 Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones,
and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments:
they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground,
and shall tremble at [every] moment, and be astonished at thee.
17 And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee,
How art thou destroyed, [that wast] inhabited of seafaring men,
the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea,
she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror [to be] on all that haunt it!
18 Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall;
yea, the isles that [are] in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.
19 For thus saith the Lord GOD;
When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited;
when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;
20 When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time,
and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth,
in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit,
that thou be not inhabited;
and I shall set glory in the land of the living;
21 I will make thee a terror, and thou [shalt be] no [more]:
though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.
The judgment of Tyre would be felt far beyond the fallen city.
All the distant places which had benefited from trading with Tyre would grieve her loss.
...they shall take up a lamentation for thee...
This lamentation is the first of three lamentations related to Tyre.
  1. The lamentation of the 'princes of the sea' (v.16-18) -
    These 'princes' {ie., rulers, governors, captains} oversaw various cities, countries, and also Phoenician colonies, in the 'isles' {ie., coastlands} of the Mediterranean Sea and regions beyond. Their people were employed in, and dependent upon, commerce with Tyre. Chapter 26 is concerned with the historic local judgment of Tyre, and its far ranging ripple effects.
  2. The lamentation for Tyre's sinking ship of state (ch. 27)
    The greatness of Tyre's wealth, power and worldwide influence is contrasted to the depth of her fall.
    This lamentation includes the lament of the merchant marine, for their financial losses (27:32-36).
    This passage, which expands upon Tyre's far reaching influence, foreshadows the fall of another great economic and military power, at the end of the age.
  3. The lamentation for the 'king of Tyre' (28:11-19)
    Ch. 28 opens with a rebuke of the 'prince of Tyre.' The lamentation is for the 'king' who has given the prince his power. The person described in the lamentation is far greater than any human leader. This section also looks beyond the historic fall of Tyre, to give a foreview of the time when the ruler of the Gentile world system will be the antichrist, who will be inspired and empowered by Satan.
...for thus saith the LORD... I will make thee a terror... thou shalt be no more... thou shalt never be found again...
Each of these lamentations ends with the 'terror' and permanence of the judgment (cp. v.21; 27:36; 28:19; cp. Rev 18:21).
The terror, of destruction under God's judgment, astonishes and alarms those who observe from afar (eg., v.16), and consumes those who are caught up in it (eg., Psa 73:19).
...I shall bring thee down... into the pit... and I shall set glory in the land of the living.
While the objects of judgment, in these lamentations, would be forever in the realm of the dead, the LORD is preparing something glorious for those who are in the land of the living. The 'glory' refers to the future Messianic Kingdom (eg., Isa 40:5; Jer 33:7-9; Zech 2:8-13), from which those, who have been banished to the pit, will be forever excluded.

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