Judgment on Tyre
1Now in the eleventh year, on the first [day] of the month [after the capture of King Jehoiachin], the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, because [a]Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! The gateway of the people is broken; she is open to me. I will be filled, now that she is a desolate waste,’ 3 therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea makes its waves crest. 4 They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her dust and debris from her and make her as bare as [the top of] a rock. 5 Her island in the midst of the sea will become a dry place to spread nets, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord God, ‘and she will become a prey and a spoil for the nations. 6 Also Tyre’s daughters (towns, villages) [b]on the mainland will be killed by the sword, and they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.’”
7 For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north [c]Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots and with horsemen and a great army. 8 He will kill your daughters on the mainland with the sword, and he shall make siege walls against you and build a siege ramp against you and raise [a roof of] large shields [as a defense] against you. 9 He will direct the [shocking] blow of his battering rams against your walls, and he will tear down your towers with his crowbars. 10 Because of the great number of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls [O Tyre] will shake from the noise of the horsemen and the wagons and the chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city that is breached. 11 With the hoofs of his horses Nebuchadnezzar will trample all your streets; with the sword he will kill your people, and your strong pillars (obelisks) will fall to the ground. 12 Also they will take your riches as spoil and plunder your merchandise, and tear down your walls and your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timber and the debris [from your city] out in the water. 13 So I will silence your songs, and the sound of your lyres will no longer be heard. 14 I will make you [Tyre] a [d]bare rock; you will be a dry place on which to spread nets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,” says the Lord God.
15 Thus says the Lord God to Tyre, “Shall not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall when the wounded groan, when the slaughter occurs in your midst? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will go down from their thrones and remove their robes and take off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground, tremble again and again, and be appalled at you. 17 They will take up a dirge (funeral poem to be sung) for you and say to you,
‘How you have perished and vanished, O renowned city,
From the seas, O renowned city,
Which was mighty on the sea,
She and her inhabitants,
Who imposed her terror
On all who lived there!
‘Now the coastlands will tremble
On the day of your fall;
Yes, the coastlands which are by the sea
Will be terrified at your departure.’”
19 For thus says the Lord God, “When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and great waters cover you, 20 then I will bring you down with those who descend into the pit (the place of the dead), to the people of old, and I will make you [Tyre] live in the depths of the earth, like the ancient ruins, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory and splendor in the land of the living. 21 I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more. Though you will be sought, yet you will never be found again,” says the Lord God.
- Ezekiel 26:2 Tyre, the Phoenician capital, was a major trading port established on the Mediterranean coast (Lebanon). An adjoining city was built on an island about a half mile off shore. Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre, without success, for fifteen years (586-571 b.c.). To prevent Nebuchadnezzar from getting their valuables, the people of Tyre moved to the island city. The conqueror destroyed the city on the mainland and left. More than two centuries later, Alexander the Great, in 332 b.c., used the ruins of the old city, even scraping up the dust, to make a causeway to the island (then home to about 30,000 people) during a seven-month siege. In the following decades sand, silt and debris collected over the causeway and the island was joined to the mainland. Its most famous export was the purple dye derived from the murex, a marine snail, found along its shores.
- Ezekiel 26:6 Lit in the field.
- Ezekiel 26:7 See note Jer 21:2.
- Ezekiel 26:14 According to Herodotus, Tyre’s recorded history began in 2750 b.c. It was a fortified city in Joshua’s time (Josh 19:29), and later became a great maritime commercial center (Is 23:8). Yet Jeremiah (Jer 27:2-7; 47:4) and Ezekiel (Ezek 26:3-21; 28:6-10) both foretold the destruction of ancient Tyre. Tyre was attacked repeatedly by various ancient powers including the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans.