Ezekiel Chapter Twenty-six
A prophecy against Tyre.
Commentary on Ezekiel 26:1-14
(Read Ezekiel 26:1-14)
To be secretly pleased with the death or decay of others, when we are likely to get by it; or with their fall, when we may thrive upon it, is a sin that easily besets us, yet is not thought so bad as really it is. But it comes from a selfish, covetous principle, and from that love of the world as our happiness, which the love of God expressly forbids. He often blasts the projects of those who would raise themselves on the ruin of others. The maxims most current in the trading world, are directly opposed to the law of God. But he will show himself against the money-loving, selfish traders, whose hearts, like those of Tyre, are hardened by the love of riches. Men have little cause to glory in things which stir up the envy and rapacity of others, and which are continually shifting from one to another; and in getting, keeping, and spending which, men provoke that God whose wrath turns joyous cities into ruinous heaps.
Commentary on Ezekiel 26:15-21
(Read Ezekiel 26:15-21)
See how high, how great Tyre had been. See how low Tyre is made. The fall of others should awaken us out of security. Every discovery of the fulfilment of a Scripture prophecy, is like a miracle to confirm our faith. All that is earthly is vanity and vexation. Those who now have the most established prosperity, will soon be out of sight and forgotten.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Ezekiel》
 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,
In the eleventh year — Of Jechoniah's captivity, the year wherein Jerusalem was taken.
The month — That month which followed the taking of Jerusalem.
 Son of man, because that Tyrus 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:
Because — Probably God revealed this to the prophet as soon as these insulting Tyrians spoke it.
The gates — The great mart of nations, people from all parts.
She is turned — The trading interest will turn to me.
 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.
Scrape — I will leave thee nothing; thou shalt be scraped, and swept, that not so much as dust shall remain in thee.
Like — As bare as was the rock on which thy city is built.
 And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Her daughters — The lesser cities.
In the field — On the firm land.
 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.
Garrisons — Bastions, or forts, or triumphal arches.
 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.
Shall lay — It had been a quicker way, to have burnt all; but the greedy soldier might dream of treasures hid in walls, or under the timber, and therefore take the pains to pull all down, and throw it into the sea.
 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.
No more — Tho' there was a city of that name built, yet it was built on the continent; and in propriety of speech, was another city.
 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?
The isles — Isles which are places freest from danger of invasions, will shake with fear, when they learn that Tyre is fallen.
 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.
The princes — Who were lords of the islands of that sea.
Come down — In token of condolence.
Trembling — They shall be afraid of their own concerns, and astonished in the midst of their fears.
 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.
In the sea — At a great distance, and farther from land.
Departure — Leaving thy ancient dwelling, to go into captivity.
 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;
The deep — Nebuchadnezzar's army.
Great waters — Great afflictions.
 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;
Bring thee down — When I shall slay thee, and throw thee into the grave.
With the people — Who are long since dead, and gone to eternity.
The low parts — Another description of the grave, from the situation and solitude of it.
Set glory — Then I will restore the beauty, strength, and wealth of Israel, and bring them back to Jerusalem.
In the land — In the land of Judea, called, land of the living, because a land, where God will bless, and give life by his word, ordinances, and spirit: thus different shall Tyre's captivity and Jerusalem's be.
 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.
A terror — To all that hear of thee.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel》
26 Chapter 26
Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar King of Babylon.
The prophecy against Tyre
I. What were the grounds of her judgment. She was judged for her sins.
1. She abused the privilege of civilisation. Tyre was the most cultivated state of antiquity, invented letters, weights and measures, money, arithmetic, the art of keeping accounts. She made her painting and sculpture and architecture and music and letters, all her skill and learning and refinement, instruments of corruption.
2. Tyre abused also the privilege of commerce. The Tyrians were a nation of merchants. But there are two classes of merchants. There are those who aim to develop new countries, to introduce new crops and arts and industries, to elevate races, to make commerce the servant of God. There are others who make everything bend to gain. A prince or an entire people may thus abuse the privilege of commerce. So Tyre abused her privilege.
3. She abused the privilege of her intimate connection with the Jewish people. In the enjoyment of this distinction she stood alone. Tyre was a bulwark of Israel, covering Zion as the wing of the cherub covered the altar. In the unscrupulousness of her lust of empire and gain she broke the “brotherly covenant,” and when Jerusalem fell she rejoiced in her overthrow. To her unscrupulousness nothing was too sacred to be turned to profit.
II. The delay of the judgment. The method of God, sometimes, is swift retribution, as with Sodom and Gomorrah, sometimes slow, as with Tyre. She was long in filling her measure of guilt. Over two hundred years before the siege of Nebuchadnezzar, Joel prophesied against her. A few years later Amos took up the prophecy, then Isaiah in 712 B.C., Ezekiel in 590, Zechariah in 487. Yet the judgment delayed. She suffered calamities, but always rose above them. The prophecies were not literally fulfilled. The Christian era came in. Tyre still stood; Shalmaneser had besieged it; Nebuchadnezzar had invested it by sea and land for thirteen years, and conquered it; Alexander the Great, in 332 B.C., after a frightful siege of six months, had stormed, captured, and destroyed it, massacring thousands of its inhabitants, and selling thirty thousand into slavery. But after each disaster it had arisen anew, In the days of Jerome, in the fifth century, it was still standing, e city powerful and opulent. It was still flourishing eight hundred years later, in the times of the Crusades. It was the seat of a Christian bishopric. It had stood over twenty-five hundred years. The prophecies against it were nearly two thousand years old. Was the Bible, then, which had proved true in prophecies against Egypt and Nineveh, and Edom and Judah, to be found at fault here?
III. The literal fulfilment of judgment. In the year 1291 the Sultan of Egypt laid siege to the strong city of Ptolemais or Acre. Terror spread through the crusaders’ kingdom. Tyre shared it. Capture meant massacre and slavery. Ptolemais fell on the very day on which the evil news reached Tyre. At vespers the people in mass forsook their city. In panic and haste they embarked upon their galleys, and went out never to return. The Mahometan came. He overthrew the city. He choked one of the matchless harbours with the ruins. He cast into the sea, statues and columns and the huge stones of warehouses and palaces. He set the last fire to her splendour. He scraped the rock. Standing amid the ruins we may see the dust and ashes of her conflagration, the broken marble columns beneath the sea and scattered upon the shore, the fishers’ nets spread upon the rock, and feel, with every traveller who thus stands, that the last prophecy concerning her must also prove true, “That shalt be built no more.”
1. The fate of Tyre is a warning to those engaged in traffic. Beware of the iniquity of traffic, of the pride, the luxury, the unscrupulousness, the atheism.
2. The fate of Tyre exalts the Word of God. If we look upon its ruins simply as a record of fulfilled prophecy, they force the conviction, This is the accomplishment of the Word of God, the one thing on earth amid the vast mutations of time, as passes unceasingly the glory of the world, which is unchangeable. (Sermons by Monday Club.)
And they shall make a spoil of thy riches.
Spoliation of treasure is a moral gain
Scholars and artists have mourned for ages over the almost universal destruction of the works of ancient genius. I suppose that many a second-rate city, in the time of Christ, possessed a collection of works of surpassing beauty, which could not be equalled by all the specimens now existing that have been discovered. The Alexandrian library is believed to have contained a greater treasure of intellectual riches than has ever since been hoarded in a single city. These, we know, have all vanished from the earth. The Apollo Belvidere and the Venus de Medicis stand in almost solitary grandeur to remind us of the perfection to which the plastic art of the ancients had attained. The Alexandrian library furnished fuel for years for the baths of illiterate Moslems. I used myself frequently to wonder why it had pleased God to blot out of existence these magnificent productions of ancient genres It seemed to me strange that the pail of oblivion should thus be thrown over all to which man, in the flower of his age, had given birth. But the solution of this mystery is found, I think, in the remains of Herculaneum and Pompeii. We discover that every work of man was so penetrated by corruption, every production of genius was so defiled with uncleanness, that God, in introducing a better dispensation, determined to cleanse the world from the pollution of preceding ages. As when all flesh had corrupted his way, He purified the world by the waters of the flood, so, when genius had covered the earth with images of sin, He overwhelmed the works of ancient civilisation with a deluge of barbarism. It was too bad to exist: and He swept it all away. (F. Wayland.)
And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease.
Sin silencing song
The classics tell of a lake called Avernus, which means “birdless.” A poisonous vapour arises from its foul waters. Birds attempting to fly across it fall stupefied into its bosom. The eagle’s wing becomes powerless, and gradually the proud bird sinks down, until its lifeless body floats upon the dark waters. The nightingale loses by degrees her power of song, and at length the sweet singer falls trembling into the waves of death. This may be a fiction; it is nevertheless a picture of life. There is a lake of sinful pleasure lying along our path. Heedless of it, many spread their wings of strength and beauty upon its outer shore. They think to go a little beyond its margin, and then return. But the spell is on them. Before they are aware the wing has lost its strength and the voice its charm. The momentum gained bears them onward and down until they sink in the dark and fatal flood. (Monday Club Sermons )
Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall?
Tyre’s fall awakens alarm in others
As when a great merchant breaks, all that he deals with are shocked by it, and begin to look about them. Or when they see one fail and become bankrupt, of a sudden, in debt a great deal more than he is worth, it makes them afraid for themselves, lest they should do so too. Thus the isles, which thought themselves safe in the embraces of the sea, when they see Tyrus fall, shall tremble and be troubled, saying, What will become of us?” And it is well, if they make this use of it, to take warning by it not to be secure, but to stand in awe of God and His judgments. (M. Henry.)
I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more.
The humiliation of Tyre
All prophecy is moral, is based on moral considerations. What the prophet aims his threats against is not the prosperity of Tyre, but its pride of heart, which was rebellion against Jehovah--God over all. The humiliation of Tyre was morally as good as its ruins, in so far as it showed that there were higher forces in the world than itself. (A. B. Davidson.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》