I have posted chapters 26-28 as a single unit because that is how they are written.
Ezekiel 26 Edit
1And 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,
This is the year Zedekiah and Jerusalem fall to Babylon, the eleventh year of Coniah's captivity.
This begins a three-chapter look into the city-states Tyre (Tyrus), Sidon (Zidon), and Tarshish. It is important to keep in mind that these prophecies were written and spoken to the Jews, mostly in exile. They are lessons to be learned by the Jews and types that God sets up for them (and us) to refer to when the time comes for the final fall of God’s chosen people under the Mosaical Law. For more on this perspective of other nations lifted up as types pointing to the Jews see the commentary on Isaiah. Tyre, Sidon, and Tarshish are specifically covered in Isaiah 23.
One note, however, where Isaiah looks at each nation as a metaphor for Jerusalem, Ezekiel is more direct in prophesying against the individual nation as an example to Jerusalem rather than a metaphor of Jerusalem. He does eventually parallel Isaiah's metaphor in chapter 28.
This section will also show how important the role of commerce played in the apocalyptic setting of prophecy in the Bible.
2Son 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:
Tyre sees the fall of Jerusalem and rejoices. This phrase “she is broken that was the gates of the people” is a very important phrase for us to consider as a description of Jerusalem. This idea of gates or gateways of the peoples (plural) shows that Jerusalem was considered the city through which the majority of land-bound commerce traveled. We see this image again of the symbol of the harlot sitting on many waters in Rev. 17:1.
Tyre rejoices because she believes that now she will once again take up a position central to the trade of the region.
3Therefore 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. 4And 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. 5It 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. 6And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7For 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. 8He 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. 9And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. 10By 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. 11With 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. 12And 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. 13And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. 14And 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.
God essentially tells Tyre that her joy is too soon. Nebuchadnezzar will come and wage war and destroy the island city thoroughly.
15Thus 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? 16Then 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. 17And 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! 18Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.
A quick reference here, the isles here are not literal but again a reference to the Gentile nations. When Tyre, who was to take up the mantel as the center for trade, fell to Nebuchadnezzar, it shook the surrounding nations economically and politically.
19For 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; 20When 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; 21I 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.
This is also an important image here with arrows pointing forward to Revelation. Tyre will be made empty (desolate), uninhabited. The deep, the great waters brought up against Tyre are the symbolic flood of Nebuchadnezzar’s army.
We also see the image of a pit here. Many refer to this abyss as literal “Gehenna” but it is not even a metaphor for the place of eternal damnation for two reasons. One, this passage is a reference to Tyre collectively, not to individual souls. It therefore cannot apply in any literal sense to any actual location. Second, the pit can be returned from (Rev. 11:7; 17:8; Rev. 20:1-3, 7). “Gehenna” will not have that opportunity for the only other place to go once people are cast there (at the end of time) will be Heaven.
Throughout the Old Testament we see “pit” referred to as a kind of trap, usually for beast. Joseph was trapped in a pit by his brothers (Gen. 37). There were laws if oxen were to fall in a pit (accidentally) in Ex. 21:33-34. In Numbers 16:30-33 a pit opened up beneath Korah and his followers as a kind of trap for the rebellious and swallowed them up. Benaiah slew a lion trapped in a pit (2 Sam. 23:20). Job referred to a pit as a trap (Job 6:27). See the pit as a trap in Psa. 9:15; 35:7; 40:2; 55:23; 57:6; Prov. 22:14; 23:27; 28:10 and in the books of prophecy here: Isa. 24:17-18, 22; Jer. 18:20-22; 48:43-44; Ezek. 19:4, 8.
This pit or trap or deep hole that Tyre will be cast into will hold her and keep her from becoming the economic power she desires to be.
Ezekiel 27 Edit
1The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 2Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus; 3And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.
Again Tyre is pictured as poised among many nations (isles) as a center for commerce, specifically as a port city. Yet Ezekiel is to take up a lamentation for her.
4Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. 5They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee. 6Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim. 7Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee. 8The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots. 9The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise. 10They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness. 11The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect. 12Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. 13Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market. 14They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules. 15The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony. 16Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.17Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm. 18Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool. 19Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market. 20Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots. 21Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants. 22The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold. 23Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants. 24These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise. 25The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
Tyre was a city of great commercial power set in the midst of all of these nations, even when Judah and Israel existed out of captivity. With Jerusalem gone, Tyre could have been the central market of the world in her place.
26Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas. 27Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, and in all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin. 28The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots. 29And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land; 30And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes: 31And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing. 32And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea? 33When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise. 34In the time when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall. 35All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance. 36The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.
Yet here the nations of the world are said to mourn when Tyre, this great city of commerce, is destroyed. This is reflected in Revelation 18 when Jerusalem, who is once again a central city of commerce after being restored by God (Ezra, Nehemiah), is destroyed by the Romans as prophesied.
Ezekiel 28 Edit
1The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 2Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: 3Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: 4With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: 5By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: 6Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; 7Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. 8They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. 9Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. 10Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. 11Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Here the metaphor more akin to Isaiah 23 is written by Ezekiel. As a metaphor for Jerusalem, the king is condemned to die the death of the uncircumcised (which is no biggee if we are talking about a true Gentile king). This is a thinly veiled reference to Zedekiah. Jerusalem was the anointed warrior angel of God, set upon the holy mountain of God (which does not apply to the island city of Tyre), and faced battle after battle with the evil surrounding nations.
15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
A quick note, that while this references Jerusalem, the city, it can be applied in principle to individuals and as such a powerful argument against inherited sin akin to that found in Ezekiel 18.
16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
So the warning against Tyre is turned into a warning for Jerusalem who was soon to fall.
20Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 21Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, 22And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her. 23For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD. 24And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 25Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. 26And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
The metaphor continues with reference now to Sidon just as Isaiah 23. Jesus then appeals to this comparison in Matt. 11:21-22; and Luke 10:13-14.
Then the promise of redemption and resurrection for the Jews who will return out of captivity and again inhabit the land of Judah as before and there will be many less enemies round about them as they will have been wiped out by the Babylonians.
In Truth and Love.