Ezekiel 26-28 – A Prophecy Against Tyre

26:1-6 – The date given (while presenting textual difficulties) suggests Feb. 3, 585 BC (Block NICOT II:35).  This would place this prophecy at about the very time that Nebuchadnezzar began his thirteen year siege of Tyre and just one month after the notice of Jerusalem’s fall would have reached the Babylonian exiles.  What is the reason stated for the judgment of Tyre? (26:2) Note that the descriptions which follow of Tyre being in the midst of the sea (and also the metaphor of Tyre the merchandising ship that sinks) pictures the island capital that sat just off the coast of modern Lebanon.  It was an amazing island fortress that would not actually be taken by force until 332BC by Alexander the Great (and even then only by great cost and building a land-bridge to the island to conquer it).  Iaian Duguid notes the prophetic irony of Tyre’s self-seeking and self-promoting ways and their results when he writes, “Does Tyre hope to become the new meeting place for the nations?  The Lord will bring many nations against her (26:3).  Did Tyre rejoice to see Jerusalem’s doors shattered?  Her walls will be destroyed and her towers torn down (26:4).  Did Tyre expect to prosper?  She will become plunder for the nations (26:5)” (NIVAC 334).  What is the stated purpose for the judgment?
26:7-14 – The description of the destruction at the hands Nebuchadnezzar offers explanation for the analogy that was in the previous verses.  What effect does Nebuchadnezzar being called the “king of kings” have in relation to this prophecy?  What significance might be suggested by the silencing of the sounds of the city in verse 13?  How should we understand the absoluteness of the prophecy of Tyre’s destruction in verse 14?
26:15-18 – A brief statement about the reaction of the nations who had benefited from Tyre’s glory days.  The rulers will leave their thrones and royal garments in terror and trembling at the destruction and raise a lament (Heb. qinah).  Tyre seems to be the basis for the descriptions of “Babylon” in Rev. 17:1; 18:9, 12-13, 17.
26:19-21 – The end of Tyre will be destruction.  Tyre is described as descending to the “pit” (that is to death and the grave; on the “land” of the dead cf. Ps. 22:29; Isa. 26:19; Jonah 2:2, 6; Ugaritic texts: CTA 4.8.5-14; 10:2.24-25) where there will never be a recovery (cf. Eze. 27:36; 28:19).  How might this be fulfilled?
27:1-36 – A further lament over Tyre.  Tyre is described as “perfect in beauty” because of the great splendor she has been adorned by.  Ezekiel uses the metaphor of Tyre as a great mercantile vessel that was manufactured of exquisite materials and staffed by the finest of merchants and sailors.  A description of the many lands and wares of Tyre’s trading are laid out in great detail in order to emphasis the greatness of Tyre’s wealth and power.  The Mediterranean nations from furthest west, to the Anatolian, Levant, and Arabian kingdoms as well as Mesopotamian lands are named with all their particular wares.  The LORD declares though that the ship of Tyre will sink to rise no more.  The terror of Tyre’s “sinking” will strike all the nations that had traded with her.
28:1-10 – A prophecy against the ruler (Heb. nagid; and see also the “king”or melek in verse 12) of Tyre.  The ruler that was on the throne of Tyre at that time was Ethbaal III (591-573 BC).  The ruler declared himself to be “a god”, but the LORD reminds him that he is nothing more than “a man” despite his unparalleled wisdom and wealth (cf. the praise of Herod as “a god” by the Tyrians and Sidonians and his judgment in Acts 12:22).  The ruler had become arrogant and self-congratulatory instead of recognizing his dependency upon the LORD. 
28:11-19 – The king of Tyre (which appears to simply be another designation for the ruler mentioned in verses 1-11).  Who does this prophecy refer to?  It seems mistaken to make the metaphor of the king being a “guardian cherub” created in “perfection” (and on blameless in your ways” see Gen. 6:9; 17:1) adorned in many precious stones (which though lacking three specifically are those found in the Israelite High Priest’s chest-piece in Ex. 28:17-20; 39:10-13 though Daniel Block NICOT II:110-2 rejects the specific priestly connection) and living in “Eden” (which is later also applied to Pharaoh in Eze. 31:8-9) to be a reference to Satan.  Ezekiel is certainly using the language of Genesis 1-3, but it seems to be more for rhetorical effect to demonstrate the heights of glory and blessing that the king of Tyre has lost through pride and greed.  What will be the end of the king?
28:20-23 – A prophecy against Sidon.  Sidon (which is north of Tyre along the coast) and Tyre struggled for much of their history against one another and at varying times controlled one another.  “Sidon” was in fact the generic name for “Phoenicians” that was used throughout the Mediterranean region though in this case it would possibly refer to the actual city of Sidon.  There is no specific accusation made against Sidon, but only judgment promised.  What is the intention of the judgments?
28:24-26 – Hope for Israel.  The LORD promises to remove all of Israel’s troubling neighbors that are “painful briars and sharp thorns” (cf. Eze. 2:6).  The LORD Himself will gather His people from among the nations and return them to the land of His covenant with Jacob.  What relation do the people and the land share?  What is the intended goal of the restoration of Israel?
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6 thoughts on “Ezekiel 26-28 – A Prophecy Against Tyre

  1. I am working on an important presentation and my opinion is that Ezekiel 28:24-26 is still future. Do you agree? I feel that the first sentence in vs 24 …. "No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns." …. has not yet been seen (thus it is future)I also read vs 25 as referring to the recent re-gathering of Israel to the land since 1948.Many thanksArnie MadsenWoodside MB.

  2. Arnie,While I have replied in email to your comment I'll just add a brief reply here as well. I believe that Eze.28:24-26 has yet to be fulfilled, because Israel's enemies still remain around her troubling her (and indeed they were even specifically mentioned in the rebuilding/resettling of the land in Ezra-Nehemiah, thus giving credence to a yet future fulfillment). I don't see 1948 as the fulfillment of this since Israel has fought nearly continuous conflicts since even before the nationalization of her boundaries in modern history. Some might take this in a purely metaphorical sense in regard to the eschaton, but I believe it seems to have some more literal sense of fulfillment yet to come. While the language is somewhat poetic "painful briers and sharp thorns" I don't think this rules out or even necessitates a metaphorical reading of the end of Israel historical and future enemies (which are even referenced in Eze.38 through the future hordes of prince Gog). I hope that clarifies my understanding a bit (and offers something more than what I wrote in the email as well). Blessings.

  3. RickThank you for your reply both here and by email. Your understanding that Ezekiel 28:24-26 is still future concurs with my information.Rather than debate the mechanics of how God will remove the thorns and briers from the neighbors of Israel , I prefer to state in advance what will actually happen. I will also publish my full name and today's date so that it is known that I stand behind my information. Mine is not simply an opinion. Nor is it my personal interpretation of prophecy.God will arise and have favor on Zion and in a sudden and decisive exercise Israel will possess the full lands God gave to Jacob. Talk about a buffer zone. There will be no more grenades lobbed over a wall or missiles launched over the border.Just to be very clear , the borders of Israel will expand to well past the Suez Canal and into parts of Egypt. All of Jordan will be Israel. The northern tip of Saudi Arabia will be Israel. Half of Iraq will be Israel. 2/3 of Syria will be Israel. All of Lebanon will be Israel. Part of Turkey will be Israel.Please keep this record of what I say for for a future time. Everybody becomes a prophecy expert AFTER the fact. I am not one of them. I state it before hand and as a matter of public record. Thus my reason for posting this here. I will stand by what I say. Please preserve this record. Thank you.Arnie MadsenManitoba Canada. September 26 2010.

  4. RickEzekiel 28:25 ….. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. According to Genesis 28 …… it was the Land God gave to Abraham:Genesis 28: ……. (Isaac speaking to Jacob) …….. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham." 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way,…..ThanksArnie

  5. That doesn't set the boundaries you have set though. I was wondering what makes you include parts of modern Iraq, Turkey and Egypt? As well as all of Jordan and 2/3 of Syria? All of Lebanon seems to fit and likely 1/3 of Syria with the dimensions in Ezekiel 47:13-21 (which covers the largest area in for Israel anywhere in the OT so far as I can tell). I guess I was wondering where you found the dimensions for the boundaries you've suggested…

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