Lament for Tyre
Describes the beauty and wealth of Tyre. Ezekiel 27:1-9.
Tyre’s army was made up of many nations. Ezekiel 27:10-11.
The splendour of Tyre’s commerce. Ezekiel 27:12-25.
The time is coming when all who praised her will despise her. Ezekiel 27:26-36.
‘The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre. Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You say, Tyre, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ Your domain was on the high seas; your builders brought your beauty to perfection. They made all your timbers of juniper from Senir; they took a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you. Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars; of cypress wood from the coasts of Cyprus they made your deck, adorned with ivory. Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail and served as your banner; your awnings were of blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah. Men of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen; your skilled men, Tyre, were aboard as your sailors. Veteran craftsmen of Byblos were on board as shipwrights to caulk your seams. All the ships of the sea and their sailors came alongside to trade for your wares. ‘Men of Persia, Lydia and Put served as soldiers in your army. They hung their shields and helmets on your walls, bringing you splendour. Men of Arvad and Helek guarded your walls on every side; men of Gammad were in your towers. They hung their shields around your walls; they brought your beauty to perfection. ‘Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of goods; they exchanged silver, iron, tin and lead for your merchandise. ‘Greece, Tubal and Meshek did business with you; they traded human beings and articles of bronze for your wares. ‘Men of Beth Togarmah exchanged chariot horses, cavalry horses and mules for your merchandise. ‘The men of Rhodes traded with you, and many coastlands were your customers; they paid you with ivory tusks and ebony. ‘Aram did business with you because of your many products; they exchanged turquoise, purple fabric, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies for your merchandise. ‘Judah and Israel traded with you; they exchanged wheat from Minnith and confections, honey, olive oil and balm for your wares. ‘Damascus did business with you because of your many products and great wealth of goods. They offered wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar and casks of wine from Izal in exchange for your wares: wrought iron, cassia and calamus. ‘Dedan traded in saddle blankets with you. ‘Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your customers; they did business with you in lambs, rams and goats. ‘The merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; for your merchandise they exchanged the finest of all kinds of spices and precious stones, and gold. ‘Harran, Kanneh and Eden and merchants of Sheba, Ashur and Kilmad traded with you. In your marketplace they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multi-coloured rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted. ‘The ships of Tarshish serve as carriers for your wares. You are filled with heavy cargo as you sail the sea. Your oarsmen take you out to the high seas. But the east wind will break you to pieces far out at sea. Your wealth, merchandise and wares, your mariners, sailors and shipwrights, your merchants and all your soldiers, and everyone else on board will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck. The shore lands will quake when your sailors cry out. All who handle the oars will abandon their ships; the mariners and all the sailors will stand on the shore. They will raise their voice and cry bitterly over you; they will sprinkle dust on their heads and roll in ashes. They will shave their heads because of you and will put on sackcloth. They will weep over you with anguish of soul and with bitter mourning. As they wail and mourn over you, they will take up a lament concerning you: ‘Who was ever silenced like Tyre, surrounded by the sea?’ When your merchandise went out on the seas, you satisfied many nations; with your great wealth and your wares you enriched the kings of the earth. Now you are shattered by the sea in the depths of the waters; your wares and all your company have gone down with you. All who live in the coastlands are appalled at you; their kings shudder with horror and their faces are distorted with fear. The merchants among the nations scoff at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’ Ezekiel 27:1-36
Judgment upon Tyre was an indirect judgment upon all those nations who traded through her ports. Her trading partners extended even to the ports of Spain and all of northern Africa. The Near East trade that went through the port city of Tyre is often ignored when dealing with the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel.
When Israel came out of Egyptian captivity, God gave to the Israelites all the territory that extended into the land of the Hittites to the north, modern-day Turkey, to the border with Egypt to the south. He even gave them the territory to the east of the Jordan River when they defeated the Ammonites. The territory that He gave them was the heart of all the Near East trade.
If they would have remained faithful to Him, they would have developed into one of the most glorious empires of the world with the opportunity to influence the world for God. One wonders what the world would have been like today if they had remained faithful to God. They had the opportunity, but they foolishly turned their back on God.
The emphasis on the greatness of Tyre in this chapter manifests just a portion of the international trade and opportunity that Israel could have had if she would have conquered all the land that God gave her, and then remained faithful to Him. Just having this one city within her border would have given her the opportunity to preach the name of God throughout all nations of the world.
As Bible historians, therefore, we see in the words of this prophecy concerning the fall of Tyre the fall of a great opportunity for Israel that they could have had if they would have controlled their rebellious attitude and stiff-necked behaviour.
There is thus more to the words of this prophecy against Tyre than a condemnation of the city. We must not forget that the city and port could have belonged to the people of God, who in turn could have had a great impact on the world through their monotheistic beliefs.
Go To Ezekiel 28