Tyre, Gateway to the Sea
God’s Message came to me: “You, son of man, raise a funeral song over Tyre. Tell Tyre, gateway to the sea, merchant to the world, trader among the far-off islands, ‘This is what God, the Master, says:
“‘You boast, Tyre:
“I’m the perfect ship—stately, handsome.”
You ruled the high seas from
a real beauty, crafted to perfection.
Your planking came from
Mount Hermon junipers.
A Lebanon cedar
supplied your mast.
They made your oars
from sturdy Bashan oaks.
Cypress from Cyprus inlaid with ivory
was used for the decks.
Your sail and flag were of colorful
embroidered linen from Egypt.
Your purple deck awnings
also came from Cyprus.
Men of Sidon and Arvad pulled the oars.
Your seasoned seamen, O Tyre, were the crew.
were old salts from Byblos.
All the ships of the sea and their sailors
clustered around you to barter for your goods.
“‘Your army was composed of soldiers
from Paras, Lud, and Put,
Elite troops in uniformed splendor.
They put you on the map!
Your city police were imported from
Arvad, Helech, and Gammad.
They hung their shields from the city walls,
a final, perfect touch to your beauty.
“‘Tarshish carried on business with you because of your great wealth. They worked for you, trading in silver, iron, tin, and lead for your products.
“‘Greece, Tubal, and Meshech did business with you, trading slaves and bronze for your products.
“‘Beth-togarmah traded work horses, war horses, and mules for your products.
“‘The people of Rhodes did business with you. Many far-off islands traded with you in ivory and ebony.
“‘Edom did business with you because of all your goods. They traded for your products with agate, purple textiles, embroidered cloth, fine linen, coral, and rubies.
“‘Judah and Israel did business with you. They traded for your products with premium wheat, millet, honey, oil, and balm.
“‘Damascus, attracted by your vast array of products and well-stocked warehouses, carried on business with you, trading in wine from Helbon and wool from Zahar.
“‘Danites and Greeks from Uzal traded with you, using wrought iron, cinnamon, and spices.
“‘Dedan traded with you for saddle blankets.
“‘Arabia and all the Bedouin sheiks of Kedar traded lambs, rams, and goats with you.
“‘Traders from Sheba and Raamah in South Arabia carried on business with you in premium spices, precious stones, and gold.
“‘Haran, Canneh, and Eden from the east in Assyria and Media traded with you, bringing elegant clothes, dyed textiles, and elaborate carpets to your bazaars.
“‘The great Tarshish ships were your freighters, importing and exporting. Oh, it was big business for you, trafficking the seaways!
“‘Your sailors row mightily,
taking you into the high seas.
Then a storm out of the east
shatters your ship in the ocean deep.
Everything sinks—your rich goods and products,
sailors and crew, ship’s carpenters and soldiers,
Sink to the bottom of the sea.
The cries of your sailors
reverberate on shore.
Sailors everywhere abandon ship.
Veteran seamen swim for dry land.
They cry out in grief,
a choir of bitter lament over you.
They smear their faces with ashes,
shave their heads,
Wear rough burlap,
wildly keening their loss.
They raise their funeral song:
“Who on the high seas is like Tyre!”
“‘As you crisscrossed the seas with your products,
you satisfied many peoples.
Your worldwide trade
made earth’s kings rich.
And now you’re battered to bits by the waves,
sunk to the bottom of the sea,
And everything you’ve bought and sold
has sunk to the bottom with you.
Everyone on shore looks on in terror.
The hair of kings stands on end,
their faces drawn and haggard!
The buyers and sellers of the world
throw up their hands:
This horror can’t happen!
Oh, this has happened!’”