Ezekiel

Ezekiel - Lesson 26-27

Chapter 26; 27:1-24

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  • Let’s continue through the oracles against the enemies of Israel

    • This is the third major section of Ezekiel and runs through Chapter 32

      • In this section, the Lord explains to captive Israel how He plans to judge the nation’s long-time enemies

      • Israel was suffering under its own judgment for their sins

      • So it was important for the Lord to explain how Israel’s enemies would be judged as well

      • So that the nation would not suppose that the Lord was dealing unfairly with them

    • In his prophecies, Ezekiel addresses seven of Israel’s eleven historical enemies

      • Most of these prophecies are fulfilled in Ezekiel’s time as these nations suffered destruction at the hands of the Babylonians

      • So the same army that captured Judah also conquered many of Israel’s surrounding neighbors

    • But some of these prophecies relate to events of the future

      • Specifically, some countries aren’t fully judged until they enter into the Kingdom

      • In that future day, they will see the full measure of what the Lord has planned for them

      • So that a testimony of what happens to those who oppose God’s people will persist into the Kingdom period

      • And as we saw last week, these future judgments also include Israel’s ultimate enemy, Satan 

  • In Chapter 25 last week, we studied the prophecies for four of the seven enemies: Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia

    • This week, we move to the fifth of these enemies, Tyre

Ezek. 26:1  Now in the eleventh year, on the first of the month, the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 26:2 “Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, ‘Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste,’
  • Ezekiel says this prophecy came to him in the eleventh month of the eleventh year

    • Which means this oracle came to Ezekiel two years into Nebuchadnezzar’s three-year siege of Jerusalem around 587-586 BC

    • It consists of seven prophecies altogether, including four in this chapter

    • Together, they promise a coming judgment for the people of Tyre because they rejoiced at Jerusalem’s fall 

  • In v.2 the Lord says the city saw Jerusalem’s fall as opportunity, as all ruthless business-minded people would

    • The ruin of Judah meant increased opportunity for Tyre, as if a competitor had gone out of business

    • Tyre was the undisputed trading power over sea, but Judah controlled valuable land trading routes to the East and Arabia

    • But now the Babylonians had “opened the gateway” for Tyre to trade with the East without competition  

    • The prophets Amos and Joel also record that the Tyrians profited from selling Jewish slaves to Greeks and Edomites

  • So what follows are a series of prophecies against the Tyrians, including a few interesting characters in coming chapters

    • The name Tyre means rock and it was the most impressive city of the Phoenician peoples 

      • We don’t talk much about the city today, but it was all the talk in Ezekiel’s day

      • In fact, Tyre’s prophecies run three chapters, reflecting its importance in the ancient world

    • Tyre possessed unique geography which is reflected in the oracle

      • It was located on the coast of present-day Lebanon just north of the Israeli border and about 35 miles from the Sea of Galilee

      • Part of the city was on the Mediterranean coast and was known as “Old Tyre”

      • But the main part of the city – the most impressive part – was located one kilometer offshore on a rocky outcropping in the Mediterranean

      • The island had two excellent harbors, including perhaps the best harbor in all the Mediterranean

    • As a result, Tyre was the center of a great commercial and colonial empire

      • From their port, the city oversaw the movement of trade throughout the ancient world and facilitated the conquest of many peoples

      • Nations could purchase almost any imaginable commodity from Tyre, including raw materials, basic commodities, luxury goods and even mercenary armies

      • Ironically, the remnant of Israel that returns from Persia under Zerubbabel bought cedar from Tyre to rebuild the temple

Ezra 3:7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and food, drink and oil to the Sidonians and to the Tyrians, to bring cedar wood from Lebanon to the sea at Joppa, according to the permission they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
  • Naturally, the city was very wealthy

    • It had stunning architecture, a wealthy business class 

    • And it sat in the perfect location from which to profit from the movement of goods

    • In modern terms, it was like New York City, Singapore or Hong Kong

  • The island was also heavily fortified making it nearly impenetrable

    • As a result, the Israelites never conquered Tyre

      • Throughout the centuries that followed, the Tyrians were a thorn in Israel’s side but more so as competitors than enemies 

      • The Tyrians sought to profit at Israel’s expense by dominating trade and making it difficult for Israel to buy goods

  • In Ezekiel’s day, Tyre remained independent but Babylon, the reigning super power, was intent on world domination, and Tyre was too desirable to ignore

    • So the Lord says Nebuchadnezzar will set his sights on defeating the island stronghold

Ezek. 26:3 therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.
Ezek. 26:4 ‘They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock.
Ezek. 26:5 ‘She will be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘and she will become spoil for the nations.
Ezek. 26:6 ‘Also her daughters who are on the mainland will be slain by the sword, and they will know that I am the LORD.’”
  • The Lord promises to bring “many nations” against Tyre in “waves” drawing upon the image of the ocean to mock the Tyrian’s dominance of the sea

    • Various world powers would conquer the island one after another like waves rolling in

      • Each power would hold the island for a while until its power began to wane and then Tyre would reassert its independence

      • Until the next power would rise and reconquer the island

      • First came the Babylonians followed by the Persians, Greeks, Romans and the Ottomans who finally put an end to Tyre

    • Alexander the great was the first to breach the defenses of the island itself

      • When Alexander’s army arrived in 332 BC, they faced walls rising 150 ft straight out of the sea

      • There was literally no way to breach them, so Alexander’s army blockaded the island for seven months

      • And during that time, his army built a 1km earthen causeway in an attempt to connect the island to the mainland  

      • In the end, he couldn’t complete the causeway due to deep water and the city’s counter attacks

    • So Alexander positioned his artillery at the end of the causeway, which was now close enough to bombard the city and weaken its defenses

      • Meanwhile, his vast naval fleet came against the city walls with floating battering rams testing the walls

      • Once he breached the wall, his army took the city easily

      • Because of the length and difficulty of the siege, Alexander took out his revenge on the people of Tyre

      • Over 6,000 soldiers died in the city, 2,000 Tyrians were crucified on the beach and 30,000 were sold as slaves

    • During the centuries that followed, the causeway grew

      • Ocean tides deposited silt along the southern side of the causeway filling the harbor of one of its ports

      • Eventually the silting process connected the island to the mainland

      • Today the island is just a feature of the Lebanese coast line!

  • In v.4 the Lord promises this would happen: He says He will bring down Tyre’s walls and defensive towers

    • And He will scrape the city clean making her as barren as a rock

      • Of course, He’s describing Alexander’s invasion and subsequent destruction of the city

      • Remembering the name of the city means “rock”, we see the Lord is using more irony to mock the city

    • In v.5 He says in contrast to its illustrious past, Tyre would become known for little more than as a place to lay out fishing nets

      • Fisherman would ground their boats on the shore and dry their nets on what was left of Tyre

      • The city will have become spoil for other nations rather than a place that profited from distributing the world’s spoil

      • Furthermore the daughters of Tyre, the mainland towns that depended on her, would be attacked as well

    • That was merely the overview of what’s coming, so now we get a detailed description of the first wave by Babylon

Ezek. 26:7  For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, chariots, cavalry and a great army.
Ezek. 26:8 “He will slay your daughters on the mainland with the sword; and he will make siege walls against you, cast up a ramp against you and raise up a large shield against you.
Ezek. 26:9 “The blow of his battering rams he will direct against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.
Ezek. 26:10 “Because of the multitude of his horses, the dust raised by them will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of cavalry and wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city that is breached.
Ezek. 26:11 “With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. He will slay your people with the sword; and your strong pillars will come down to the ground.
Ezek. 26:12 “Also they will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise, break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses, and throw your stones and your timbers and your debris into the water.
Ezek. 26:13 “So I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.
Ezek. 26:14 “I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place for the spreading of nets. You will be built no more, for I the LORD have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD.
  • The first wave would be Babylon, which happened immediately after the final siege of Jerusalem

    • Remember, this oracle came one year before that siege ended, so within a very short time the prophet’s accuracy was verified

      • In the same year, 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar’s great army  approached the coastal city of Old Tyre and began to attack

      • As the Lord says, Nebuchadnezzar made siege walls and ramps and breeched the walls, destroying the defensive towers

    • His huge number of horses will kick up so much dust that it coats the city and people

      • The walls shake at the sound of so many cavalry

      • They will trample down the city and people

      • And all the city’s riches would be hauled off and their ability to conduct commerce ruined 

    • Notice in v.12 the Lord says that after the city’s destruction, the rubble would be thrown into the sea

      • That’s a very labor-intensive process

      • So under most circumstances, an invading army wouldn’t take the time to do something so useless

      • Unless there was a good purpose in doing so

      • The Lord fulfilled this promise through Alexander the Great, who used that rubble to help construct his causeway

    • But also notice back in v.6 that all this destruction would be against Tyre’s “daughters” on the mainland 

      • Nebuchadnezzar never breached the walls of the island city

      • Instead, he blockaded it for13 years, putting a stop to the city’s commerce, and eventually forcing the city to sue for peace

      • In 573 BC, the island surrendered and became a vassal of Babylon paying tribute taxes to Nebuchadnezzar

    • Finally, the Lord says the coastal towns will never again be built

      • The statement in Hebrew could be better translated “will not be built-up again” as in built to the same level of prominence

      • And that is historically accurate

      • All the settlements that followed were small and insignificant compared to the original towns  

  • Then the Lord explains how this destruction will impact Tyre’s customers

Ezek. 26:15  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?
Ezek. 26:16 “Then all the princes of the sea will go down from their thrones, remove their robes and strip off their embroidered garments. They will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground, tremble every moment and be appalled at you.
Ezek. 26:17  “They will take up a lamentation over you and say to you, 
‘How you have perished, O inhabited one, 
From the seas, O renowned city, 
Which was mighty on the sea, 
She and her inhabitants, 
Who imposed her terror 
On all her inhabitants!
Ezek. 26:18  ‘Now the coastlands will tremble 
On the day of your fall; 
Yes, the coastlands which are by the sea 
Will be terrified at your passing.’”
  • So much of the ancient world depended on the materials that flowed through Tyre

    • So to see this trading center destroyed was too much to bear

    • Also, many other settlements around the Mediterranean region were vassals of Tyre and depended on Tyre for protection

    • The Tyrians had been the first to explore the Mediterranean by sea, reaching to Spain and beyond

  • So seeing this commercial center brought low shook every region of the known world

    • If Tyre could be defeated, then no one was safe

    • Moreover, Tyre’s trade upon which the world’s rich and powerful depended was also at risk

    • Babylon’s rise to dominance was a groundbreaking change in ancient times

  • So Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Tyre was proof that the world was changing, and in vs.17-18 they sing a lament over Tyre

    • It begins by remembering her greatness, which led the world to assume she was unassailable

    • And then it ends with the astonishment of her fall

      • All this is ironic since it was Tyre’s gloating over Jerusalem’s fall that brought about this judgment

  • It’s also ironic in another, prophetic way

    • In a future day during the Tribulation, a similar set of circumstances take place, only in reverse

      • Babylon will be the victim of God’s judgment, and yet the world will react in the same way

Rev. 18:1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.
Rev. 18:2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
Rev. 18:7 “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.’
Rev. 18:8 “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
Rev. 18:9  “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,
Rev. 18:10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
Rev. 18:11  “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more —
Rev. 18:12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble,
Rev. 18:13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives.
Rev. 18:14 “The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them.
Rev. 18:15 “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning,
Rev. 18:16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;
Rev. 18:17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance,
Rev. 18:18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’
Rev. 18:19 “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’
Rev. 18:20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
  • Notice how the world’s rich again lament the loss of their riches and way of life

  • But equally, they mourn the notion that all they depended upon could be taken from them so quickly

  • That’s the more fundamental aspect in this judgment

    • The world places its trust in riches, in the rewards that this world offers

      • Every human being can find enjoyment in the things of this world, including believers, and that’s not a problem

      • But the unbelieving world places its trust in the economy of the world

      • Such that all purpose and meaning in life, along with security and stability, depends on the continuation of that system 

      • And no one contemplates the end of it

      • The world even mocks the idea of an “end” so when it does finally come…even on a small scale…they are left without an anchor

    • Remember when the twin towers fell in New York, and for a time, many people felt like it was the end of normal life

      • People were speechless and couldn’t understand where to go next

      • As dramatic as the event was, it was just two buildings in one city

      • Imagine the scene when a major city is completely gone and when the world itself begins to fall apart in Tribulation

      • It reveals to the humanity that all they’ve depended upon is a facade that can crumble easily

    • But when you’ve placed your trust on eternal things found in Christ, the crumbling of the world isn’t a cause for alarm…it’s a cause for joy

      • Because the closer the world gets to total destruction, the closer we are to the Kingdom

      • And we know that nothing that comes upon the world will disturb our future

      • That eternal perspective is priceless, and it becomes even more invaluable as you see the world growing more panicked

  • Speaking of eternal, notice how the Lord ends this part of His judgment against the city

Ezek. 26:19 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 the great waters cover you,
Ezek. 26:20 then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lower parts of the earth, like the ancient waste places, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set glory in the land of the living.
Ezek. 26:21 “I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again,” declares the Lord GOD.
  • The Lord speaks of the city’s demise in language that connects the city’s end with the final destiny of its inhabitants

    • The Lord connects two images: the metaphor of a city sinking into the sea with the reality of its people descending into Sheol

    • He says the city will be desolate and will be covered over by the sea

    • In reality the city was never covered by the sea in this way, at least not permanently

    • But metaphorically, we can say the city was wiped clean as if the sea had covered it

  • Then in v.20 the Lord says the people of the city will likewise go down in to the pit

    • The pit is one of several names the Bible uses to describe a literal place located in the depths of the earth

    • The name of the pit is Sheol, and prior to Christ it was the holding place for the souls of every person who died

  • As Jesus explains in Luke 16, Sheol consists of two sides: Hades and Abraham’s Bosom

    • Hades is the place we commonly call Hell

    • It’s a temporary holding place for the souls of unbelievers

    • As Jesus described, Hades is an incredibly hot place of torment, and there is no relief for those who wait there

    • One day, they are brought up from this place to receive their final judgment, which is to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire

  • The other side called Abraham’s Bosom is currently empty, but prior to Christ it held the souls of those who died in faith

    • Those souls couldn’t rise directly to God because the sacrifice for sin had not yet been made on the cross

    • So like the living world, they awaited the Messiah, and when He came, they were set free, Paul says in Ephesians

    • Having been set free, they accompanied Jesus into the Heavenly Throne room after the resurrection

    • Since that time, believers who die go directly into the presence of Christ 

  • So today, Sheol consists only of Hades, and it’s that side of Sheol that this passage describes as the pit

    • Notice in v.20 the description of this place fits the description I summarized from Luke 16

      • A place down in the lower parts of the earth, a place for people “of old,” a place of terrors where people are never seen again

      • So the reality for those who place their trust in the best of this world is they receive the worst of it in the end

    • This passage is a classic example of how the Lord uses the sea as a picture of the resting place of the dead

      • In the Bible the sea pictures the dark, bottomless deep of Sheol

      • Which is why the sea exists on this earth but does not exist in the New Heavens and Earth

      • God has placed the sea on earth now, in part, to serve as a metaphor for eternal judgment, which you see Him using here

      • In the New Heavens and Earth, there is no sin and therefore no death or judgment

      • Therefore, there is no need for a metaphor of such things, and so we’re told the New Heavens and Earth do not have a sea

  • We now move into Chapter 27, though we aren’t going to complete it tonight

    • This chapter is a mix of prose and poetry coming together as a lamentation or song sung for the dead

      • It consists of remarkably precise imagery of the city and those who lived in it and profited from it

      • The details in this chapter are so unique that it’s unparalleled in the history of ancient literature 

      • It’s gives the most detailed and accurate description of any ancient city 

    • To understand it properly we must consult the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and the prophecies of Isaiah 13-14 and Revelation 18, which I read earlier

      • The first 24 verses, which we cover tonight, recount how Tyre gained its splendor and distinction

      • The final 10 verses are a description of the destruction of this splendor

      • But it’s the detail in these descriptions that makes the chapter so unique

Ezek. 27:1  Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Ezek. 27:2 “And you, son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre;
Ezek. 27:3  and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, 
“O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
Ezek. 27:4  “Your borders are in the heart of the seas; 
Your builders have perfected your beauty.
Ezek. 27:5  “They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; 
They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you.
Ezek. 27:6  “Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars; 
With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus.
Ezek. 27:7  “Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt 
So that it became your distinguishing mark; 
Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah.
Ezek. 27:8  “The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers; 
Your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots.
Ezek. 27:9  “The elders of Gebal and her wise men were with you repairing your seams; 
All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise.
  • In effect, the Lord has directed Ezekiel to eulogize Tyre, which is what this lament is

    • Remember, Ezekiel writes these things at least a year before the events begin and almost 15 years before they conclude

      • The eulogy is directed to those in Tyre who dwelled in the city

      • So the audience for this lamentation were the present-day inhabitants who were soon to experience God’s wrath

      • Therefore, the eulogy serves as a warning as well

    • It begins where all sin begins: with pride

      • The city was prideful of its accomplishments

      • It said to itself that it was perfect in beauty 

      • Those high walls that descended into the sea gave it great confidence 

      • It said its builders made it beautiful

    • So its first mistake was crediting itself with its strength and accomplishments

      • Or as Paul might say, they worshipped the creature rather than the Creator

      • Their builders were their gods and their security was their walls

  • In v.4 the Lord begins to describe the city as if it were a ship on the high seas

    • The city saw itself as a tall stately ship with a tall mast

      • The Phoenicians were world-class ship builders

      • Their largest trade ships had a crew of 200 and up to three banks of oars on each side of the ship

    • They made the ships from the best materials, fir from Senir, which is Mt. Hermon

      • The sides of the ship used cedar from Lebanon, some of the best wood in the world

      • Oaks of Bashaw served as oars

      • Ivory and boxwood from Cyprus for the decking

      • The sails were finely embroidered linen from Egypt, which was so  extravagant it had become the mark of the realm 

    • Moreover, the Tyrians had the money to hire the best crew in the world, men from Sidon and Arvad

      • Sidonians and men of Arvad were fellow Phoenicians

      • Phoenicians were unequalled in their seamanship, producing the best sailors and strongest rowers in the world

      • Their pilots were trained to navigate any water

      • They also sailed with artisans who could repair any part of the ship while at sea 

  • This is a description of a world power at its height displaying conspicuous wealth 

    • It’s an indication of how special Tyre was in the world

      • It was like the United States at the height of its power, unchallenged and unrivaled

      • Wealth that the rest of the world could only dream about

      • Perhaps a better example today would be the Arab oil countries of business and trade centers like Singapore or Hong Kong or Dubai

    • Regardless of your example, it’s the same prideful arrogance

      • The wealth of Tyre deceived its residents into thinking they were the cause of their own success

      • They explained their circumstances as the natural result of their superior nature

      • From God’s point of view, this was offensive because it amounted to taking credit for God’s goodness and mercy

    • The Tyrians were merely the beneficiaries of the life God decided to give them in His plan for history

      • Much like we benefit from being placed in this country at this time of history, they had their time and place

      • Had we been born under different circumstances, even with the same intellect, we would not have achieved the same things

      • So all we have is testimony to the Lord

  • To make this point, the Lord begins to remind Tyre of how their success was connected with the other peoples of the earth

    • Immediately, those connections will draw our attention back to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10

      • And in doing so, we’re reminded of God’s scattering of all peoples according to His purpose and desire

      • Which negates Tyre’s pride in what they obtained in their place

    • Let’s look at these peoples briefly one at a time to understand their contribution  

Ezek. 27:10 “Persia and Lud and Put were in your army, your men of war. They hung shield and helmet in you; they set forth your splendor.
Ezek. 27:11 “The sons of Arvad and your army were on your walls, all around, and the Gammadim were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they perfected your beauty.
  • Tyre didn’t keep a standing army, and soldiers weren’t included in the city’s elite and powerful

  • So to protect itself, Tyre hired a mercenary army

  • Tyre could attract fighting men from all around because they could pay well and the city had good defenses

  • In v.10 it says they had men from as far away as Persia, Lud (eastern Turkey) and Put (could be Libya or another African people)

    • Likewise sons of Arvad and Gammadim guarded the city walls

    • The great distances these men traveled from indicates how selective Tyre could be in hiring their soldiers…only the best

    • But it also illustrated that Tyre’s success and beauty depended heavily on those who were not Tyrians

    • Notice in v.11 the Lord says these men “perfected” Tyre’s beauty

  • Then the Lord turns to those who made Tyre rich, beginning with those who bought from Tyre

Ezek. 27:12 “Tarshish was your customer because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth; with silver, iron, tin and lead they paid for your wares.
Ezek. 27:13 “Javan, Tubal and Meshech, they were your traders; with the lives of men and vessels of bronze they paid for your merchandise.
Ezek. 27:14 “Those from Beth-togarmah gave horses and war horses and mules for your wares.
Ezek. 27:15 “The sons of Dedan were your traders. Many coastlands were your market; ivory tusks and ebony they brought as your payment.
Ezek. 27:16 “Aram was your customer because of the abundance of your goods; they paid for your wares with emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies.
Ezek. 27:17 “Judah and the land of Israel, they were your traders; with the wheat of Minnith, cakes, honey, oil and balm they paid for your merchandise.
Ezek. 27:18 “Damascus was your customer because of the abundance of your goods, because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth, because of the wine of Helbon and white wool.
Ezek. 27:19 “Vedan and Javan paid for your wares from Uzal; wrought iron, cassia and sweet cane were among your merchandise.
Ezek. 27:20 “Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding.
Ezek. 27:21 “Arabia and all the princes of Kedar, they were your customers for lambs, rams and goats; for these they were your customers.
Ezek. 27:22 “The traders of Sheba and Raamah, they traded with you; they paid for your wares with the best of all kinds of spices, and with all kinds of precious stones and gold.
Ezek. 27:23 “Haran, Canneh, Eden, the traders of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad traded with you.
Ezek. 27:24 “They traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of many colors and tightly wound cords, which were among your merchandise.
  • All these various people groups traded with Tyre, and the list reminds us of how people spread out after God confused language

    • Tarshish refers to modern-day Spain, which paid for Tyre’s goods with silver and other valuable metals

      • Javan (Greece), Tubal and Meshech (both eastern Turkey) bought from Tyre with human slaves and bronze

      • This wealth was tangible and durable, therefore it increased the wealth of the city overall for centuries to come

    • And the people of Beth-togarmah, modern-day Armenia, paid with mules and donkeys

      • That included war horses, which were larger breeds trained for battle

      • The reference to Dedan in v.15 should probably be translated Rhodes, and these people paid with ivory and ebony

      • Aram is Syria, and they used precious stones to buy goods

    • Judah traded with crops and valuable food products 

      • Damascus used wine as currency along with wool

      • Vedan and Javan (Greeks) paid using items obtained from Uzal, modern Yemen, including iron and spices  

      • Dedan (Greece) traded in leather while Arabia paid in livestock

      • Sheba and Raamah, also in Arabia, brought a variety of valuable items including gold

    • Even beyond these, Tyre traded with regions like Mesopotamia, Haran, Assyria and beyond

      • Carpets, garments, raw materials, and every imaginable consumer good flooded into the city

      • All of these descriptions only served to remind the people of the great luxury they had by means of the rest of the world

  • So who made the city beautiful?

    • Could Tyre be Tyre without all those other people?

      • Could Tyre even exist?

      • And who placed those people in their respective locations and defined their borders, including Tyre itself?

Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
Acts 17:27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
  • The Lord made every nation, and determined both the place and time of each person’s habitation

    • He did so in the expectation that each would seek for God, in recognition that an omnipotent hand was responsible for these outcomes

    • Instead, Tyre took its blessing for granted and even credited itself

  • In doing so, they conveniently overlooked the obvious dependence that Tyre had on the rest of the world

    • That dependence argued against their view of themselves as inherently beautiful and powerful

    • In reality they were merely the product of a merciful God Who had appointed them to this end 

    • And at the same time they were dependent on the rest of the world to support their lifestyle

  • So therefore, when that illusion came crashing down, they were without hope or strength

    • This is the chief conceit of the unbelieving world

    • They live in a bubble of self-deceit that allows them to sleep at night

    • Yet it’s so fragile that at any moment, the Lord can bring it all to an end

    • And for Tyre, He did

  • Next time we finish this chapter, where the Lord describes the sinking of this metaphoric ship

    • And then we move into Chapter 28, which is a fascinating look at two characters who stand over all history

      • It’s one of the most interesting and important chapters of the Old Testament 

      • And I guarantee you, it will surprise you some things you learn