Ezek. 27:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
Ezek. 27:2 Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;
Ezek. 27:3 And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.
Verse one indicates that this is another message from the LORD to Ezekiel concerning Tyre. The length of the message against Tyre is, I think, indicative of the significance of the message. A lamentation is a reference to a funeral dirge. Verse 3 is a reference to the pride of the people of Tyre. God had blessed them with a wonderful seaport and allowed them to become a, if not the dominant seaport merchant center in the world of that time. They assumed their success was due to their own efforts and abilities—which is the assumption of most successful countries, businesses, and individuals today. The fact that they have such abilities and such resources due to the provision of Almighty God is totally not considered, or even worse—rejected.
Ezek. 27:4 Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.
Ezek. 27:5 They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.
Ezek. 27:6 Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.
Ezek. 27:7 Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee.
These verses detail the wonderful resources that were available to the architects and builders of Tyre. They had wonderful pine wood available from Senir (the NIV Commentary connects this with Mount Hermon) and cedar wood from Lebanon to build their city and their ships. Oak from Bashan (east of the Jordan River) was used to make the oars, and ivory from Cyprus to inlay in the decking. Skilled workmen made use of all these resources. Their sails were made of beautiful embroidered linen from Egypt, and coverings for the sailors were died blue and purple with wonderful dyes from Elishah (somewhere in the Mediterranean region; JFB identifies it with Greece). The Hebrew for coverings could reference garments (i.e., uniforms) as well as awnings to protect from the sun.
Ezek. 27:8 The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots.
Ezek. 27:9 The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise.
Ezek. 27:10 They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.
Ezek. 27:11 The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect.
According to Easton’s Dictionary, Zidon was the mother city of Tyre and located to its north. Arvad was another coastal port city. Evidently, their seaman were among the best and were hired to work under the shipmasters from Tyre. Gebal was a mountain city (from the Hebrew) that supplied men who were skilled in calking to make the ship watertight. The port of Tyre was filled with ships from all the sea-faring merchant nations. It would seem that the armies of Tyre were staffed with people from Persia (Iran), Lud (Lydia near Izmir, Turkey), Phut (either Libya or Somalia—cf 38:5), Arvad, and the Gammadims.
The people of Lud were noted for their archery. The Hebrew for Gammadims references “a warrior (as grasping weapons),” and Easton’s defines them as short-swordsman. I would assume that those from other countries were drawn to staff the armies of Tyre because of their wealth; we would call these soldiers mercenaries.
Ezek. 27:12 Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.
Ezek. 27:13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.
Ezek. 27:14 They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.
Ezek. 27:15 The men of Dedan were thy merchants; many isles were the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for a present horns of ivory and ebony.
Ezek. 27:16 Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.
This section of verses details many of Tyre’s trading partners and the goods they traded.
Javan is associated with Greece; and Tubal and Meshech with Turkey.
Ezek. 27:17 Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.
The people of Israel also traded with Tyre. They traded wheat, honey, oil and balm (an aromatic, healing oil).
Ezek. 27:18 Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool.
Damascus, Syria, was singled out separately as one who traded in wine and wool. According to JFB, this wine was known as the best and “the Persian monarchs would drink no other.”
Ezek. 27:19 Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.
This verse is a bit confusing. Dan was a tribe of Israel located in the north and Javan appears to connect with a region of Arabia to the south of Israel. Maybe this just means that merchants traveled the length of the land of Israel in bringing their wares to trade in Tyrus—bright iron, cassia and calamus. “Bright iron” seems to be a reference to polished cutting instruments, i.e, swords. Cassia refers to a plant that has medicinal qualities for purging and is also associated with cinnamon. Calamus is an aromatic root that also has medicinal properties.
Ezek. 27:20 Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots.
Ezek. 27:21 Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.
Ezek. 27:22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.
Ezek. 27:23 Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.
Ezek. 27:24 These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.
The list of trading partners continues.
The Hebrew for precious references carpets; this ties in with the thought of saddle blankets that are referenced in some of the other translations.
Ezek. 27:25 The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
Ezek. 27:26 Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.
Ezek. 27:27 Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are in thee, and in all thy company which is in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.
I am reminded that Jonah jumped on a ship to Tarshish in trying to get as far away from Nineveh as he could when trying to escape God’s call. The point seems to be that Tyre was a world-renowned and valued trading partner of those times. The men who staffed the ships of Tyre were extremely skilled and knowledgeable in navigating the rough seas. In spite of all the skill of its people and its wealth, Tyre is going to be destroyed just like a ship that has been broken up by a great storm and swallowed up by the sea.
Ezek. 27:28 The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.
Ezek. 27:29 And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land;
Ezek. 27:30 And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes:
Ezek. 27:31 And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.
When the destruction of Tyre becomes known, its neighboring cities will be afraid. Why? Their economy will be seriously affected. Their families will be directly affected because their fathers and sons were in the employ of Tyre. Not only will Tyre’s neighbors be distraught, the news will cause all those that depended on trade with her to be distraught as well. They will go into bitter mourning at the news.
Ezek. 27:32 And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying, What city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
Ezek. 27:33 When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.
Ezek. 27:34 In the time when thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall.
Ezek. 27:35 All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.
In their mourning, they express doubt that anyone can replace Tyre as an economic force on the world economy. The ships of Tyre carried goods everywhere. Everyone that depended upon her trade will be concerned about how her destruction will affect “me.”
Ezek. 27:36 The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.
The word hiss is a bit confusing. It is usually associated with scorn and derision. Human nature can quickly turn from admiration to scorn once the proud have been humbled. The Hebrew also states, “to be shrill.” This connects in my mind to the terrible wailing and weeping that is associated with mourning in some lands. JFB made the connection to astonishment as used in connection with a verse in Kings.
1Kings 9:8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
All of these choices seem possible to me.
The key point—“thou shalt be...never any more.” This verse ties in directly to the last verse in chapter 26:
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.
Again, this part of the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
(9/06) I can’t help but make a connection with this description of the destruction of Tyre to the Revelator’s description of the destruction of Babylon. I believe it is a type of just that. Both are powerful kingdoms under the direct influence of Satan that will be destroyed by the mighty hand of God never to rise to power again.