EZEKIEL CHAPTER 28.
Against the Ruler of Tyre.
GOD’S JUDGMENT UPON THE PRINCE OF TYRE. — V. 1. The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, the ruler of the great commercial capital arid metropolis, Thus saith the Lord God, He who holds in his hand the fate of empires as well as of individuals, Because thine heart is lifted up, in sinful, blasphemous pride, and thou hast said, I am a God, a claim advanced by many heathen rulers who demanded for themselves divine veneration, I sit in the seat of God, on the throne of the one heavenly Ruler Himself, in the midst of the seas, considering the stronghold of his capital impregnable as far as men and the forces of nature were concerned; yet thou art a man, merely a lowly and mortal human being, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God, not only imagining himself to hold the position of God, but also thinking of himself as possessing, and able to use, the almighty power of God; v. 3. behold, thou art wiser than Daniel, that is, the Tyrian ruler held this opinion concerning himself, he placed his knowledge and understanding above that of the wisest man of his time; there is no secret that they can hide from thee, this assertion on the part of the heathen prince again placing him on the level of Daniel with his revelations concerning the future; v. 4. with thy wisdom and with thine understanding, particularly his business acumen, thou hast gotten thee riches, his business sagacity having brought its own reward, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures, so that the wealth of this commercial metropolis of the world, as later that of Venice, was almost unbelievably great; v.5. by thy great wisdom, with which he credited himself, and by thy traffic, the trade which had been established in the course of the centuries, hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches, this being the effect which the possession of wealth has in the majority of cases: v. 6. therefore thus saith the Lord God, taking up the thought of verse 2 once more, for the intervening statements are intended, of course, only as an ironical concession, picturing the empty boastfulness of the heathen ruler, in his overwhelming opinion of himself, Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God, ascribing an honor to himself which only the one true God possesses: V. 7. behold, therefore I wil1 bring strangers upon thee, invaders from foreign lands, the terrible of the nations, for the Chaldeans were known for the fierceness of their natures; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, for the showiness of the trade and commerce of Tyre was the offspring of the business acumen with which the king prided himself, and they shall defile thy brightness, literally, “profane thy shining beauty,” treating it with mocking disrespect, destroying it with rough ruthlessness. V. 8. They shall bring thee, namely, the ruler himself, down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas, the expression denoting that the prince, as it were, died the death of every inhabitant of Tyre who was slain, his fate overtaking him as in a mighty shipwreck. V. 9. Wilt thou yet say before Him that slayeth thee, I am God? Would the Tyrian prince, after the sentence of God had gone into effect, still make such extravagant claims for himself and his power anti wisdom? But thou shalt be a man and no God, that is, he would be given proof positive to that effect, in the hand of Him that slayeth thee, namely, completely at the mercy of the one and only Ruler of the universe. V. 10. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised, such as the godless heathen deserve by their blasphemous pride, by the hand of strangers, in further humiliation upon him and in just retribution upon him who had probably often scoffed at the Jews; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. Though the unbelievers jeer at the fact, yet it remains true that the Lord resents every insult offered his saints and will in due time take his revenge upon his enemies.
LAMENTATION OVER THE KING OF TYRE. — V. 11. Moreover, the word of the Lord, of Jehovah, the Lord of the covenant, came unto me, saying, v. 12. Son of man, take up a lamentation, raising a mournful song, upon the king of Tyrus and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God, Thou sealest up the sum, literally, “Thou sealer-up of the measure of perfection.” full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. The prince of Tyre had erected the building of Tyre’s wealth and beauty in perfection of symmetry and exactness of detail and, as it were, placed his seal upon the finished product, which was certainly wonderful in the eyes of men. V. 13. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God, the outward aspect of Tyre being that of ideal loveliness, of the greatest earthly advantages, as a garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, all possible magnificence was exhibited in the adornment of the city and particularly of the king’s person, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, or chrysolite, the onyx and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, or the chrysoprase, and the carbuncle, stones of varying degrees of hardness and of the most beautiful colors, and gold, for it was this metal in which the precious stones were set; the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created, literally, “the service of thy kettledrums and of thy women was ready for thee on the day of thy creation,” that is, the prince of Tyre was born to the luxury of music and costly amusements, or he entered upon them on the day of his accession, he was accustomed to them from his earliest days. V. 14. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth, because he, as an anointed king, had the duty of protecting a nation of people, like a sanctuary in God’s care; and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God, for he was God’s representative in governing the Tyrian state; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire, which, like a fiery wall erected by God, protected the king in his office. Note that the pictures throughout are taken from the true Temple-worship and from the functions of kings of Judah, with which Ezekiel was familiar. V. 15. Thou wast perfect in thy ways, and therefore, in outer civic righteousness, acceptable to the Lord, from the day that thou wast created, which most likely means the day of his accession to the throne, till iniquity was found in thee, namely, when he made himself unworthy of his position on account of rebelliousness and perverseness. V. 16. By the multitude of thy merchandise, that is, on account of the fact that the commerce of Tyre gave the state great power among the nations, they have filled the midst of thee with violence, the unrighteous mammon held in the city having this influence upon those in power, that it caused them to violate the rights of the poor and needy, and thou hast sinned, the prince with his people; therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God, deposing him from his position as leader of the people; and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Cp. v. 14. V. 17. Thine heart was lifted up, in blasphemous self-elation, because of thy beauty, of which the ruler of Tyre was so inordinately proud, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness, thinking that Tyre’s splendor would serve as an excuse for every form of sin and guilt; I will cast thee to the ground, dashing him to utter destruction, I will lay thee before kings that they may behold thee, as an example of God’s wrath upon such as are lifted up in sinful pride. V. 18. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries, the special holy privileges which are given by the Lord to governments, by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity, the deep corruptness, of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, the prince’s iniquity itself becoming such a consuming fire; it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth, thus completely consumed, in the sight of all them that behold thee, the surrounding nations being witnesses of Tyre’s complete overthrow. V. 19. All they that know thee among the people, being acquainted with Tyre’s former position and wealth, shall be astonished at thee; thou shalt be a terror, an object of horror to others, and never shalt thou be any more. This prophecy, together with the entire cycle of prophecies, was fulfilled partly in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, but still more completely at the time of Alexander the Great. If rightly interpreted and on the basis of all available data, secular history invariably supports the historical descriptions given in the Bible.
PROPHECY AGAINST ZIDON. — V. 20. Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, v. 21. Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, the other large city of Phoenicia, and formerly its capital, and prophesy against it v. 22. and say, Thus saith the Lord God, whose powerful rule extends over all the earth, Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee, namely, by carrying out this sentence of judgment upon her; and they shall know that I am the Lord, the one true God, when I shall have executed judgments in her and shall be sanctified in her, her overthrow redounding to the setting forth of His holiness. V. 23. For I will send into her pestilence and blood into her streets, two of the three great scourges of war; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her, the slain falling everywhere, by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the Lord. V. 24. And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, namely, by the continual temptation and offense which the people of Zidon gave to the Jews, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, all the surrounding heathen nations, cp. Josh. 23, 13, that despised them, for it was on account of this contempt that the heathen first ensnared Israel in sin and then became the instrument of punishing them; and they shall know that I am the Lord God. V. 25. Thus saith the Lord God, in rounding out this section of His prophecy, When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, in the Babylonian captivity, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, namely, by their repentant return to the true worship, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to My servant Jacob. V. 26. And they shall dwell safely therein, in peace and security, and shall build houses and plant vineyards, as in times of perfect peace; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, in firm trust in the God of their salvation, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them, by taking every advantage of them; and they shall know that I am the Lord, their God. The Messianic era was prepared, in a measure, by the return of the repentant Jews to the home of their fathers, and the Lord had His congregation in their midst from that time on; but the full realization of the tenor of these words did not come until the kingdom of the Messiah was established by the preaching of the Gospel of God’s mercy by Jesus and by His apostles.