Ezek. 26:1 And 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 message comes a little over a year after the message from chapter 24. Adam Clarke makes note that this is the same year that Jerusalem was taken.
Halfway through this chapter I realized I needed to back up and make note that the next three chapters are directed to Tyre and/or its king. This chapter seems to be sort of a summary and more detail is given in the coming two chapters. I think the study will also reveal that we are dealing with prophecy that applies to the near future of Tyre according to Ezekiel and reaches on into a future application to the city and its king.
Ezek. 26:2 Son 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:
This message is directed to the people of Tyre, an ancient Phoenician port city that was located in the country of Lebanon about 20 miles north of Acre in Israel. It is about 100 miles from Jerusalem and 35 miles from the Sea of Galilee.
I remember in my study of Isaiah 23 noting that Tyre had positioned itself as the Super Walmart of the nations. We know that the land of Israel is strategically centered as a trade route between Africa and Europe and between eastern countries and the Mediterranean. The people of Tyre rejoiced at the fall of Israel because it opened up the possibility of their obtaining more control of the trade routes in the region than they already possessed. The wording of the NLT stated it best:
“Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Ha! She who controlled the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir! Because she has been destroyed, I will become wealthy!’
Other interesting facts about Tyre:
Ezek. 26:3 Therefore 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.
Ezek. 26:4 And 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.
Ezek. 26:5 It 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.
Ezek. 26:6 And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
The prophecy from God was that Tyre would be attacked by many nations, which the prophet pictures as the continual waves that roll up on the seashore. Tyre was attacked by Egypt, Assyria, and the armies of Nebuchadnezzar; and that finally forced the people to relocate the city to an island offshore during a siege that lasted 13 years. The island city was eventually conquered by the armies of Alexander the Great by means of a mole, or huge ramp that they built from the mainland to the island city. They built the mole by taking the remains of the original city and tossing them into the sea until they formed a foundation for a bridge to the island city. This, in effect, scraped the dust off the original location of Tyre and made it a place fit only for fishermen to spread their nets to dry. Tyre was later conquered by the Romans, the Crusaders and the Ottoman Turks.
Ezek. 26:7 For 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.
Ezek. 26:8 He 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.
Ezek. 26:9 And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.
Ezek. 26:10 By 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.
Ezek. 26:11 With 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.
These verses refer directly to Nebuchadnezzar and the destruction wrought upon Tyre by his armies. Although the majority of the citizenry was able to relocate to the island location during his thirteen-year siege, many were killed during that time and the city they left behind was completely destroyed by his armies.
We learn in chapter 29 that Nebuchadnezzar never reaped a great reward from his siege of Tyre, so God gave him Egypt in payment for his services in destroying the mainland city of Tyre.
The following is an excerpt from my journal for Isaiah 23 referencing this area of scripture.
Is. 23:15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.
Is. 23:16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.
Is. 23:17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the
LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit
fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.
This seems to be a confirmation of the message of Jeremiah:
Jer. 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Jer. 25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
The one king being referenced is Nebuchadnezzar regarding his kingdom. Evidently, after the fall of the Babylonian empire, Tyre was safe to set up her business and advertise once again.
Ezek. 26:12 And 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.
Ezek. 26:13 And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.
Ezek. 26:14 And 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.
I didn’t pick up on it, but the NIV Commentary noted that the pronoun switches to “they” in reference to the nations instead of “he” in reference to Nebuchadnezzar in verse 12.
“they shall lay thy stones...midst of the water” – This is a reference to the mole that Alexander the Great and his armies built in order to conquer the island city.
These verses seem to be an emphasis to verse 4. Obviously, a city without people will have no sounds of music to fill the air. The fact that Tyre was going to be completely destroyed is pictured as “the top of a rock”—smooth and firm.
Ezek. 26:15 Thus 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?
Ezek. 26:16 Then 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.
Ezek. 26:17 And 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!
Ezek. 26:18 Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.
These verses are describing the response of other port cities that were trading partners with Tyre. It would be like the effect of the destruction of one of the major trading nations and/or great naval powers today on the economy of the world and/or the military balance of power. They are pictured as going into mourning. The effect on the economy of their nations would be significant.
I can’t help but make a comparison of the fall of Tyre to the fall of Babylon, the kingdom of Antichrist.
Rev. 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Rev. 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Rev. 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
I believe chapter 28 will show that the fall of the prince of Tyre foreshadows the fall of the Antichrist and in turn the fall of the power behind these evil rulers—Satan himself.
Ezek. 26:19 For 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;
Ezek. 26:20 When 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;
Ezek. 26:21 I 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.
These verses speak of a time of destruction for Tyre that results in her disappearance for good on the world scene—“shalt thou never be found again.” I don’t believe that has happened yet. Tyre is a thriving city in Lebanon today. The following information was taken from www.lebanonembassy.net:
“Three areas of ruins beckon the visitor. The first is located on what was the ancient walled island city. Colonnades, mosaic streets, Roman baths, and a rectangular arena occupy this seaside site. The ruins of a Crusader church dominate the second site. The third and most extensive area of ruins includes a Roman-Byzantine necropolis and the largest Roman hippodrome ever found. Uniquely built of stone, not brick, it hosted chariot races in its heyday.”
Tyre is also referenced as alive and well during the time of Jesus and was identified as a point of arrival for Paul during one of his journeys.
Mark 3:8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
Luke 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
Acts 21:3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.
And the following article is from Reuters at www.alertnet.org for September 2, 2006:
TYRE, Lebanon, Sept 2 (Reuters) - An advance contingent of an expanded U.N. force set up to keep the peace between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas landed in south Lebanon on Saturday.
Italian marines, with rifles and wearing blue U.N. berets, came ashore in Tyre in rubber dinghies and helicopters from the aircraft carrier Garibaldi, the flagship of the Italian fleet.
I believe this judgment will probably take place during the events of the tribulation period.