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Eze 26:1-21. THE JUDGMENT ON TYRE THROUGH NEBUCHADNEZZAR (TWENTY-SIXTH THROUGH TWENTY-EIGHTH CHAPTERS).
In the twenty-sixth chapter, Ezekiel sets forth:--(1) Tyre's sin; (2) its doom; (3) the instruments executing it; (4) the effects produced on other nations by her downfall. In the twenty-seventh chapter, a lamentation over the fall of such earthly splendor. In the twenty-eighth chapter, an elegy addressed to the king, on the humiliation of his sacrilegious pride. Ezekiel, in his prophecies as to the heathen, exhibits the dark side only; because he views them simply in their hostility to the people of God, who shall outlive them all. Isaiah (Isa 23:1-18), on the other hand, at the close of judgments, holds out the prospect of blessing, when Tyre should turn to the Lord.
1. The specification of the date, which had been omitted in the case
of the four preceding objects of judgment, marks the greater weight
attached to the fall of Tyre.
literally, meaning "the rock-city," Zor; a name applying to the
island Tyre, called New Tyre, rather than Old Tyre on the
mainland. They were half a mile apart. "New Tyre," a century and
a half before the fall of Jerusalem, had successfully resisted
Shalmaneser of Assyria, for five years besieging it (MENANDER, from the Tyrian archives, quoted by JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 9.14. 2). It was the
stronger and more important of the two cities, and is the one chiefly,
though not exclusively, here meant. Tyre was originally a colony of
Zidon. Nebuchadnezzar's siege of it lasted thirteen years
Though no profane author mentions his having succeeded in the siege,
JEROME states he read the fact in Assyrian
3, 4. nations . . . as the sea . . . waves--In striking contrast to the
boasting of Tyre, God threatens to bring against her Babylon's army
levied from "many nations," even as the Mediterranean waves that dashed
against her rock-founded city on all sides.
5. in the midst of the sea--plainly referring to New Tyre (Eze 27:32).
7. from the north--the original locality of the Chaldeans; also, the
direction by which they entered Palestine, taking the route of Riblah
and Hamath on the Orontes, in preference to that across the desert
between Babylon and Judea.
9. engines of war--literally, "an apparatus for striking." "He
shall apply the stroke of the battering-ram against thy walls."
HAVERNICK translates, "His enginery of destruction"; literally, the
"destruction (not merely the stroke) of his enginery."
10. dust--So thick shall be the "dust" stirred up by the immense
numbers of "horses," that it shall "cover" the whole city as a cloud.
11. thy strong garrisons--literally, "the statutes of thy strength"; so the forts which are "monuments of thy strength." MAURER understands, in stricter agreement with the literal meaning, "the statues" or "obelisks erected in honor of the idols, the tutelary gods of Tyre," as Melecarte, answering to the Grecian Hercules, whose temple stood in Old Tyre (compare Jer 43:13, Margin).
12. lay thy stones . . . timber . . . in . . . midst of . . . water--referring to the insular New Tyre (Eze 26:3, 5; Eze 27:4, 25, 26). When its lofty buildings and towers fall, surrounded as it was with the sea which entered its double harbor and washed its ramparts, the "stones . . . timbers . . . and dust" appropriately are described as thrown down "in the midst of the water." Though Ezekiel attributes the capture of Tyre to Nebuchadnezzar (see on Eze 29:18), yet it does not follow that the final destruction of it described is attributed by him to the same monarch. The overthrow of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar was the first link in the long chain of evil--the first deadly blow which prepared for, and was the earnest of, the final doom. The change in this verse from the individual conqueror "he," to the general "they," marks that what he did was not the whole, but only paved the way for others to complete the work begun by him. It was to be a progressive work until she was utterly destroyed. Thus the words here answer exactly to what Alexander did. With the "stones, timber," and rubbish of Old Tyre, he built a causeway in seven months to New Tyre on the island and so took it [CURTIUS, 4, 2], 322 B.C.
13. Instead of the joyousness of thy prosperity, a death-like silence shall reign (Isa 24:8; Jer 7:34).
14. He concludes in nearly the same words as he began
(Eze 26:4, 5).
15-21. The impression which the overthrow of Tyre produced on other
maritime nations and upon her own colonies, for example, Utica,
Carthage, and Tartessus or Tarshish in Spain.
16. come down from their thrones . . . upon the ground--"the throne
of the mourners"
17. inhabited of seafaring men--that is, which was frequented by
merchants of various sea-bordering lands
with Peschito, "Thou inhabitant of the seas" (the Hebrew literal
meaning). Tyre rose as it were out of the seas as if she got thence
her inhabitants, being peopled so closely down to the waters. So Venice
was called "the bride of the sea."
18. thy departure-- Isa 23:6, 12 predicts that the Tyrians, in consequence of the siege, should pass over the Mediterranean to the lands bordering on it ("Chittim," "Tarshish," &c.). So Ezekiel here. Accordingly JEROME says that he read in Assyrian histories that, "when the Tyrians saw no hope of escaping, they fled to Carthage or some islands of the Ionian and Ægean Seas" [BISHOP NEWTON]. (See on Eze 29:18). GROTIUS explains "departure," that is, "in the day when hostages shall be carried away from thee to Babylon." The parallelism to "thy fall" makes me think "departure" must mean "thy end" in general, but with an included allusion to the "departure" of most of her people to her colonies at the fall of the city.
19. great waters--appropriate metaphor of the Babylonian hosts, which literally, by breaking down insular Tyre's ramparts, caused the sea to "cover" part of her.
20. the pit--Tyre's disappearance is compared to that of
the dead placed in their sepulchres and no more seen among the living
Eze 32:18, 23;
Isa 14:11, 15, 19).
21. terror--an example of judgment calculated to terrify all evildoers.