Ezek. 28:1 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
Ezek. 28:2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
In this chapter Ezekiel receives more messages concerning Tyre, the first pertaining to its “prince,” the second to its “king.” I will say up front that in my mind, the prince of Tyre would be a reference to its human ruler as possessed or directly influenced by its spiritual ruler, and the king of Tyre addresses its spiritual ruler—Satan.
The prince of Tyre (whom we would reference as its King) held such a position of power and wealth that he was totally lifted up in pride. Verse 2 indicates that he felt he was invincible, on par with the “gods”—especially regarding the strength and power of his navy. The last half of the verse emphasizes that he is just a man, and as a man he is vulnerable to defeat—just as any other man. Obviously, he held no regard for the true, living God Almighty.
I thought this comment from JFB was quite interesting: “This feeling of superhuman elevation in the king of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called “the holy island” [SANCONIATHON], being sacred to Hercules, so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre as the mother city of their religion, as well as of their political existence.”
Ezek. 28:3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
Ezek. 28:4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:
Ezek. 28:5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
Some of the translations are worded such that this seems to be the opinion that the ruler of Tyre had of himself. The NIV words it as a sarcastic question from the prophet.
Ezek. 28:3 Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you?
Although I can’t read the original Hebrew, this understanding makes sense to me. We know that God wouldn’t seriously identify this ruler as wiser than Daniel; Daniel publicly attributed his wisdom and abilities to God. It reminds me of Nebuchadnezzar as he looked over his kingdom and attributed it in pride to his own power.
Dan. 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
I believe this is the mindset of many who are rich and powerful today—It is “my” wisdom and expertise that has resulted in my wealth. They acknowledge none of their gifts and abilities as God-given because they don’t acknowledge God.
The reference to Daniel is interesting since it indicates that Daniel’s reputation as a wise man was well known throughout that region by this time.
Ezek. 28:6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
This verse gives the reason that God is going to destroy the prince of Tyre—because of his pride, because he considered himself equal to God.
Ezek. 28:7 Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.
Ezek. 28:8 They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.
I have no problem in agreeing with most of the commentaries that this would be a reference to Tyre’s ruler at the time (even though they don’t agree as to who it is). The “beauty of thy wisdom” would seem to reference all the ruler thought he possessed as a result of his own wisdom. The display of his wealth of possessions would be what defined “his brightness,” his fame.
The prophet is declaring God’s intent to destroy the ruler of Tyre by the swords of strangers from a powerful, violent oppressor of the nations. Most commentaries identify this destroyer as Nebuchadnezzar, who, although he never conquered the island city, evidently was able to remove the ruler of Tyre from his throne and install his own puppet ruler. That is the most I can find from my research. All I know is that God’s word is true, so he met his end as predicted.
Ezek. 28:9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.
Ezek. 28:10 Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
The prophet seems to be posing a question to the ruler of Tyre in light of God’s message to him, “Are you still going to claim that you are God?” Evidently, there was no repentance, because the judgment is firm—This ruler will die a shameful death at the hand of a foreign power as declared by Almighty God.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary states, “The Phoenicians practiced circumcision…to ‘die the deaths of the uncircumcised’ meant to die in shame.”
It also stood out to me that the word deaths is plural; this would seem to include not only the prince, but his people. I will not discount Burton Coffman’s comment, however, “The plural was for emphasis, meaning a death so painful as to be the equivalent of dying many times.”
Ezek. 28:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezek. 28:12a Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
Now the Lord gives a message to the “king” of Tyre through Ezekiel. I think his identity becomes unquestionable as one continues to read through God’s description of him.
…Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
Ezek. 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
The first thing that jumps out at me is that this “king” was in Eden, the garden of God. The scripture only identifies three rational, vocal created beings as present in Eden—Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Once Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden, God set a guard of angels around it.
Gen. 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
It wasn’t the snake that deceived Eve, it was Satan in possession of that snake.
Rev. 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan is the evil source of power and influence at work on earth—his stolen kingdom.
2Cor. 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…
Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…
The sad thing is to see how far he has fallen from where he was first created. God describes him as a being complete and perfect, the consummation of wisdom and beauty. I think Webster helps one get a clearer picture than the Hebrew.
Wisdom = The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity; skill; dexterity.
Beauty = An assemblage of graces or properties pleasing to the eye, the ear, the intellect, the ĺsthetic faculty, or the moral sense.
In other words, this being lacked nothing. Not only was he wise and beautiful, he was adorned with jewelry of gold and the most precious stones.
“tabrets” = contracted; a tambourine—from the root: to drum, i.e. play (as) on the tambourine
“pipes” = a bezel (for a gem):—pipe
“bezel” = The rim which encompasses and fastens a jewel or other object, as the crystal of a watch, in the cavity in which it is set.
“pipe” = A wind instrument of music, consisting of a tube or tubes of straw, reed, wood, or metal; any tube which produces musical sounds
I decided to put all these definitions in from the Hebrew and the supplemental definitions (bezel and pipe) from Webster’s to try and get a better understanding. Frankly, all my life I have been taught that this was a reference to this being’s singing ability. It may reference musical ability on the tambourine, and it may include his voice, but I don’t think you can be dogmatic. That it ties in directly to his wisdom, beauty and adornment as something wonderful is clear from the context.
Ezek. 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
“anointed cherub that covereth” – This phrase immediately takes my mind back to the description of the cherubim associated with the throne of God and the pattern of the ark of the covenant. The fact that the reference is to “the anointed cherub” indicates that he was set apart from the other cherubim. The fact that he was “anointed” indicates that he was consecrated or set apart for a particular purpose. It would seem he had the special honor of providing a cover for the throne of God.
He is described as being “upon the holy mountain of God.” I think the best understanding for this phrase is to take it as representing the presence of God. Scripture always describes God’s dwelling/throne as on high.
Psa. 93:4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters…
Psa. 113:5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high…
Heb. 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
“the stones of fire” – This phrase again takes me back to Ezekiel’s encounter with God and the cherubim. Under the throne are burning coals of fire that are used to purify.
Ezek. 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
It seems that most of the commentaries want to apply this section to the human ruler of Tyre, but I just don’t agree. No man since Adam (other than Jesus) has been perfect in his ways for any amount of time from the time of his creation. We know that the angels were created perfect as well, and until Lucifer decided to rebel there was no iniquity (moral evil, wickedness, unrighteousness) in God’s creation. The prophet Isaiah gives us his name before he became “the serpent, called the Devil and Satan.” It was Lucifer. He also describes his fall from perfection.
Is. 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Is. 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Is. 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Ezek. 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Ezek. 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
As the prophets often do, the message in this verse has two different but similar applications. The first half of verse 16 references the human prince/king of Tyre. His wealth and possessions led to his pride and in turn led to his downfall. The last half of the verse and verse 17 reference Lucifer who because of his wisdom and beauty also fell into pride and ended up being evicted from his position and will eventually be destroyed in the lake of fire along with all his followers.
“I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God” – This would seem to have direct reference to Revelation 12 where Satan is cast out of the presence of God in heaven forever.
Rev. 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Rev. 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Rev. 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
“I will destroy thee” and “I will cast thee to the ground….” – This part of the verse could have double reference. It reminds me of another section in Isaiah.
Is. 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Is. 14:16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
Is. 14:17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
In context, I believe that these verses in Isaiah reference another man that will be a willing vessel of Satan’s use—the Antichrist. The truth is that Satan and every evil ruler he has ever influenced or will influence has been or will be brought down by Almighty God and will be judged publicly for their sin. In their pride they chose the pleasures of sin for a season in rejection of Almighty God. They will be made to acknowledge God as LORD and will suffer the eternal consequences of their sin.
Satan will also be judged publicly; he will be cast into the lake of fire after his final attempt to overthrow Jesus at the end of His 1,000 year reign. Amazingly (beyond my total comprehension after the righteous reign of Christ on His throne), he will be able to gather together a great army from all over the world and will again be joined by the spirit demon Gog (cf comments @ 38:1-2) whose region of influence is the land of Magog (cf notes at 38:2). The scene is described in Revelation 20.
Rev. 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
Rev. 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Rev. 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Rev. 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Ezek. 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
My first thought was that these remarks seem to refer back to the prince of Tyre, the earthly king, since it refers to defiling sanctuaries and evil trade practices. Frankly, I can see it having double reference—to the prince of Tyre and the king of Tyre. Prophecy often makes it hard to distinguish when it applies to more than one point in time on planet earth.
I don’t know how the prince of Tyre defiled (polluted, made impure) his sanctuaries, since he worshipped false gods to begin with. Satan definitely defiled the “kingdoms of this world,” his earthly sanctuaries, with which he tempted Jesus.
Matt. 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Matt. 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Matt. 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
The fact that he was able to tempt Jesus with his offer legitimizes his claim of possession. The fact that he defiled them with deceit and evil is obvious because of the proliferation of wickedness on planet earth.
It is much easier to understand how the prince of Tyre would have been involved in evil trade practices. History shows that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as historian Lord Acton so astutely observed. I think you can also say that Satan’s marketing of his influence is only successful because of his cunning use of deceit and manipulation of the truth, which is evil to its very core.
“fire from the midst of thee” – This seems to be a reference to the burning desire from within the human heart produced from pride. That pride will always result in destruction.
Prov. 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Ezek. 28:19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
I would say that this has direct reference to the prince of Tyre, but also has application to the king of Tyre. The earthly prince being referenced was obviously destroyed along with his kingdom and the peoples on earth who traded with him were astonished at his fall from power. But isn’t that always the case when the mighty are brought down. I can’t help but think in recent history of the fall of Sadaam Hussein, or even of the mighty corporate chiefs who have lost their empires through deception and wrongdoing (i.e., Enron), or of the fall from power of President Richard Nixon, etc. It is going to be that way again in the future on the grandest scale ever with the fall of Antichrist and the binding of Satan. Every evil person that Satan influences only has power for a limited time, and Satan’s influence and power will be brought to an end once and for all when he is cast into the lake of fire. He will never be a terror again.
Ezek. 28:20 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezek. 28:21 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it,
Ezek. 28:22 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.
The Lord now directs his message to Zidon, the city that actually founded the city of Tyre and maintained a close connection to that city. She too faces God’s judgment with the intent that He will be glorified in that city. God’s judgment is always intended to purify through the fire of its destruction.
Zidon is identified with the promotion of idolatry and evil influence in the land of Israel. The wicked queen Jezebel was a daughter of the king of Zidon, who was also a king of Tyre.
Judg. 10:6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon,
1Kings 11:33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes,
1Kings 16:30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
1Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
Ezek. 28:23 For I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
The judgment of Zidon will include death from pestilence (plague, disease) and the sword of her enemies. This judgment is to cause the people to recognize God as LORD.
Ezek. 28:24 And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
No longer will God allow these people to be a source of pain and sorrow to the people of Israel or any other peoples around them that had suffered at her hand. Again the statement, the people of Zidon will be made to recognize God as LORD. (7/07) Both Tyre and Zidon are in the land of Lebanon. Because of the phrase “they shall know that I am the Lord,” I believe this has definite application to the future. To this day Lebnon is “a pricking brier” to Israel in the guise of Hizbullah. Because of the connection between Hizbullah, Syria and Iran, I can’t help but wonder if future application is tied to the destruction of Damascus. (cf journal on Isaiah 17)
Ezek. 28:25 Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.
Ezek. 28:26 And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
These verses definitely refer to the restoration of the nation of Israel both physically and spiritually. That process began in 1948 and will not be completed until the Lord establishes His earthly kingdom at the end of the tribulation period. At that time, Israel will occupy an honored place among the nations and the nation will enjoy possession of the whole of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They will dwell safely WHEN God has “executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them.” Again, this is obviously referencing a time yet future. At that time the people of Israel will KNOW that God is “the LORD their God.”
I feel it’s important to note that I am seeking God’s truth as I go through these journals. I am sure that there are many things I am missing along the way, but I am trusting that the Lord will continue to teach through His Spirit as I continue to seek His wisdom and understanding. That is according to His promise; and I am taking Him at His word.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Though I may be mistaken in many areas of understanding regarding details, I am convinced that He will not allow me to misunderstand the broad picture for sure. It is really hard for me to understand how with the same Holy Spirit as the teacher, we humans come to so many different understandings of even what I call the broad picture. All I can do is trust God at His word and continue to seek Him with an open heart. I know He will make everything clear one day, and we will wonder why we couldn’t “get it.”
These last three chapters are ones that give me pause about my understanding of all the details, but frankly there are many sections of scripture that fall into that category. But I am convinced that He has given me clear understanding of the broad picture and will continue to reveal more of the details as I continue to seek out the treasures of His word.