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Book of Isaiah
Isaiah Chapter 23 gives us the burden of Tyre. Tyre is a city on the coast of Syria, and was built over 2700 years before Christ. There were two cities of this name; one on the continent, and the other on an island, about half a mile from the shore; the city on the island was about four miles in circumference. Old Tyre resisted Nebuchadnezzar for thirteen years; then the inhabitants carried the city to the island. This new city held out against Alexander the Great for seven months; who, in order to take it, was forced to fill up the channel which separated it from the main land. In A.D. 1289 it was totally destroyed by the sultan of Egypt; and now contains only a few huts, in which about fifty or sixty families exist. It was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (Eze.26:7; 29:17-20). This desolation was foretold by Isaiah and Ezekiel, 1900 years before it took place! http://www.ancient.eu/Tyre/
This chapter states both of the desolation and restoration of Tyre, an ancient city of Phoenicia. Its desolation is described as so complete, that not one house was not left in it, and by the fewness and stillness of the inhabitants of it, and by the removal of its inhabitants to other places, all which is ascribed to the counsel, purpose and commandment of God, to destroy it; whose judgment was to condemn their pride. The means made use to bring this about were the Assyrians or Chaldeans, and its desolation is further aggravated by the loss of its trade; therefore the merchants of other countries shall mourn. The date and duration of this desolation was 70 years, after which it would be restored, and its merchandise and commerce with all the nations of the Earth be again revived. This also looks forward to the Great Tribulation Period (Rev.18).
Tyre was the marketplace of the nations. She was noted for laughter and entertainments; this making her hate to consider the warnings God gave by His prophets (Isa.30:10). Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes. With Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the merchants would abandon her. The inhabitants would flee for their own safety; but those that are uneasy in one place, will be uneasy no matter where they go . . . for when God's judgments pursue sinners, those judgments shall overtake that sinner.
From where shall all this trouble come? It is not coming from man . . . but a destruction that comes from Almighty God. God wanted to convince the people of the vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory. The ruin of Tyre should warn all people to beware of pride; for anyone who exalts himself shall be abased (Mat.23:12; Lk.14:11; 18:14). God will bring judgment on ALL sin, and pride and arrogance in God’s eyes is sin! He shall bring judgment on ALL sinners, for He has all power in His Hand, in Isaiah’s time and in the last day! The Chaldeans shall be the instruments God uses against Tyre.
THEME: The burden of Tyre.
Chapter 23 brings us to the eleventh and last burden against the nations. A burden is a judgment, and these judgments were against the nations around Israel. Each one of these great nations had done something for which God must judge them. Let’s consider a brief summary of these eleven nations and what they represent.
*****#1. Babylon represents false religions and idolatry. Idolatry in our land today is covetousness (Col.3:5), which is lusting to have more and more and to accumulate material things of the world.
*****#2. Israel represents true religion which has become apostate. Today this same thing has happened in many churches (Ex.32; Josh.22:22; Jer.8:5; Hos.11:7; 2 Thes.2:2-3; 1 Tim.4:1-3; 2 Tim.3:1-9). They go through rituals, even repeating the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's Prayer, and from all outward appearances . . . they SEEM to be resting upon the Bible, but in reality . . . they deny everything that is in it, even having homosexual preachers (Lev.18:22-24; 20:13-16; Rom.1:24-32; 1 Cor.6:9-11; 1 Tim.1:8-11; 2 Tim.3:1-9). They are apostate (a deserter of God and His Word), which means they are standing far away from what they once believed.
*****#3. Moab represents formal religion; that is, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5). Many today could be identified with one of these three. Some accumulate material things, for what our eyes see, we want. We are covetous. Some have been brought up in Bible-believing churches but have turned far away from the Truth of God’s Word. Millions go to churches that follows forms, ceremonies and rituals which CANNOT save the soul!
*****#4. Damascus represents compromise. That is the SAD position that most churches (even fundamental churches) take today. http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_ec_ecumenism.htm
BEWARE!!! The ecumenical movement is of the devil! BEWARE!!! . . . So many well-known preachers are in this! . . . BEWARE!!! Thank God for those TRUE churches that are standing firm with Him!
*****#5. Ethiopia represents missions. We desperately need to be involved in getting out the Word of God! Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV) . . . We are wise IF we do as the Lord Jesus commands us!
Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (KJV)
*****#6. Egypt represents the world. Israel was told to stay out of Egypt. That is where Abraham got into trouble (Gen.12:11-13). We are warned by the Word of God, "Love not the world (1 Jn.2:15). Many of us have trouble with what the world has to offer us, and give in!
*****#7. Persia (Babylon) represents luxury. The United States is a nation that loves luxury. I remember carrying water to my grandmother’s kitchen, and in my home as well for 6 months as we waited for electricity. I remember walking the path to the (outhouse). I remember filling a galvanized tub with water and setting it in the sun to warm for my bath. I remember cooking on a wood stove. I have MANY luxuries today that I did not have 75 years ago. I am grateful for them, but, IF I had to live without any luxuries, I could do it easily. Most could not. Where would the vast majority be without air conditioning?
*****#8. Edom represents the flesh. Many people serve the flesh today (1 Cor.3:1,3). Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (KJV)
*****#9. Arabia represents war. There is war in every corner of this world! There will be NO peace in the world until Jesus comes! (Isa.48:22; 57:21; 59:8; Jer.6:14; 8:11). Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (KJV)
*****#10. Valley of vision, which is Jerusalem, represents not religion but politics. Some idiots think that politics will find solutions to the problems of the world. NO man anywhere can solve this world’s problems, for the master of trouble (Satan) will keep troubles rampant!
*****#11. Tyre represents commercialism (big business). One of the greatest sins today in America is commercialism. They think that almighty dollar can solve all our problems. When a problem comes up, Congress votes on it, but that’s as far as it gets. Poverty programs have hurt rather than help the poor. WHY? Because godless men do NOT have the right answers. Those who are poor suffer because the government supports NOT the poor, but the lazy and illegals.
2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV) . . . The Bible clearly tells us that we are to WORK, if we are able. We are NOT to be supported by the government! (Gen.3:19; Pro.13:4; 20:4; 21:25; 24:30-34; 1 Thes.4:11). I believe that it is a sin to accept money from the government if you are able to work. Those who are physically handicapped or elderly need help and are entitled to it, but NOT the so-called poor who are physically well able to support themselves.
Tyre and Sidon were the two great cities of the Phoenicians. Sidon was the mother city, and she was soon surpassed by her proud and rich daughter, Tyre. The ships of the Phoenicians entered all ports of the Mediterranean Sea and even penetrated the uncharted ocean. The Phoenicians were aggressive and progressive people. Carthage, in North Africa, was settled by them. Carthage, the great enemy of Rome, was a Phoenician city, and Cyprus owed its prosperity to trading with Tyre. There were also other places that the Phoenicians founded, Tarshish for instance. When Jonah tried to flee from the Lord, he bought a ticket for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). Tarshish was on the southern coast of Spain. It is also of interest that it was the Phoenicians who invented the alphabet.
Hiram, king of Tyre, was one of the great friends of King David. In Ezekiel 26, there is a remarkable prophecy concerning Tyre, which had an exact fulfillment. God said that Tyre would be destroyed by Babylon and would be taken into captivity for 70 years just as Judah went into captivity for 70 years. The people of Tyre returned to their land, as did Israel, after the captivity and rebuilt their city on an island in the Mediterranean Sea about half a mile from the old city. God said that the ruins of the old city would be scraped (Eze.26:4), and later, Alexander the Great scraped the ancient site of Tyre to make a road to the island city. He was wise enough not to attempt a battle by sea, because the Phoenicians were experts with ships; so he built a road from the old city on the mainland to the new city on the island. That road is supposedly full of pieces of broken pottery. Where did all the pottery and pillars and rubble come from? It came from the ruins of ancient Tyre. Alexander the Great literally scraped the surface of the old city to build his road. You cannot tell where old Tyre used to be . . . it is all there in the road. When Alexander took the city, the prophecy of Ezekiel was fulfilled exactly as God said it would be: Ezekiel 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. (KJV) . . . Today there is a small Turkish town near there, but the site of ancient Tyre is still in ruins. The ancient site of Tyre will NEVER be rebuilt. Tyre will NOT be rebuilt and that Petra will NOT be inhabited.
God was Responsible for Tyre's Destruction (23:1-9)
Isaiah 23:1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. (KJV)
The burden of Tyre . . . a prophecy concerning the destruction of it. This was a famous city in Phoenicia, which exceeded in fame and splendor all the cities of Syria and Phoenicia. It was well known for its trade and navigation, for which it was well situated by the sea; standing about a half mile from the shore, before it was joined to the continent by Alexander the great. This seems to be ancient Tyre, which was built by the Phoenicians before the Trojan war, over 200 years before the Temple of Solomon. It gets its name rwu, Tzur (Hebrew), from where it is called Tyre, from the rock on which it was built, that word so indicating. It is to be understood of the city of Tyre; but it also looks forward to the Great Tribulation Period and Rome and some interpret the whole prophecy to the anti-Christian city.
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish . . . not of Carthage as some say. This prophecy opens with an address to the Tyrian negotiators and sailors at Tarshish, a place which, in the course of their trade, they often visited. The news of the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar is said to be brought to them from Chittim, the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean. The ships from Tarshish on their way to Tyre learn of the downfall of Tyre. When they saw they had no other means of escaping, they fled in their ships.
Some say this is Tarsus, a seaport in Cilicia, which lay nearer to Tyre, the same place the Apostle Paul was from (Acts 22:3). Tarshish could mean the sea, as it sometimes is, and some interpret it that way; which would mean all ships in general . . . those that go down in the ships of the sea; all sorts of persons, from every quarter, that sailed in ships to Tyre, and traded there. These are now called to mourning and weeping, because their trading with it was now over (Rev.18).
For it is laid waste . . . NOT Tarshish, but Tyre. This was done, not by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, who indeed besieged (surrounded) it for the period of five years, but did not take it, nor by Alexander the great; for though it was besieged and taken by him, yet before his time it had been besieged by Nebuchadnezzar thirteen years, and at last was taken by him, when Ithobalus was king of it. This seems to be intended here, since 70 years after this it was to be restored again, which best agrees with those times.
So that there is no house, no entering in . . . no port or haven open to go in at, no shops to trade their goods in, no warehouses to lay them up in, nor inns to lodge at, as well as no private houses for the inhabitants to dwell in, all being destroyed by the enemy.
From the land of Chittim it is revealed to them . . . Chittim was one of the sons of Javan, as was also Tarshish (Gen.10:4), by whom the isles of the Gentiles were divided. Chittim seems to mean some part of Greece, or isles belonging to it. Chittim, the Isle of Cyprus: (Num.24:24; Eze.27:6; Dan.11:30).
Isaiah 23:2 Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. (KJV)
Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle . . . either the isles of Chittim, or other islands that traded with Tyre, many times the singular is used for the plural. The people are called upon to grieve and mourn, because the city of their merchandise was destroyed. Chittim or, of Tyre itself, which was some distance from the shore, was an island itself, until it was joined to the continent by Alexander. They are instructed to be silent and still as mourners, and to cease from the frenzies of business.
Thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished . . . Zidon (Sidon) was a very ancient city of Phoenicia, even older than Tyre (Gen.10:19; 49:13). http://www.ancient.eu/sidon/
Tyre was a colony of the Zidonians, and built by them, and so might be said to be replenished by them with men from the first, as it also was with mariners, (Eze.27:8) and likewise with merchants and wares, they being a trading and seafaring people; wherefore they are spoken of as merchants, and as passing over the sea: or this may be understood of the isles replenished with goods by the merchants of Tyre and Zidon, but now no more, and therefore called to mourning. Replenished with wealth and an industrious population (Eze.27:3,8,23). Zidon was the oldest city of Phoenicia. Ethbaal, king of Tyre is called king of the Zidonians (1 Ki.16:31); and on coins Tyre is called the metropolis of the Zidonians.
Isaiah 23:3 And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations. (KJV)
And by great waters the seed of Sihor . . . Sihor is the River Nile in Egypt. It had its name from the blackish color of its waters (Jer.2:18). The seed of Sihor means what was sown and grew upon the banks of it, and was nourished by the overflow of this river throughout the land, and includes corn, flax, all crops paper, etc. (1 Sam.8:15; Job 39:12), with which Egypt abounded. By great waters means that it grew by or beside the waters of the Nile, and by the influence of them, that came by great waters to Tyre, meaning by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The harvest of the river is her revenue . . . this means the same as above. The river is the River Nile, the harvest is the seed that was sown and grew by it, and when ripe, was gathered and carried in ships to Tyre, with which that city was supplied and enriched, as if it had been its own produce.
And she is a mart of nations . . . Tyre was a city to which all nations traded, it was a marketplace for them all, where they brought their wares to sell, and always found a market for them. Ezekiel Chapter 27 is an excellent commentary on this.
Isaiah 23:4 Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins. (KJV)
Be thou ashamed, O Zidon . . . Zidon (Sidon) was a city about 25 miles from Tyre. These two cities were close to each other, and were closely linked together, trading with one another, so that the fall of Tyre would be distressing and confusing to Zidon; and also, Tyre was a colony of the Zidonians and is called the daughter of Zidon (vs.12). It was certain that they would be affected by its ruin, and fear the same would soon happen to them.
For the sea hath spoken . . . the city of Tyre was an island surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.
Even the strength of the sea . . . Tyre might be called the strength of the sea, because it defended that part of the sea from pirates, or because it was defended and strengthened by the sea, which encompassed it. This title is given to Tyre, which was enriched by what was brought by sea to it, and was strengthened by it, being surrounded with the waters of it as with a wall, and had the sovereignty over it. For strength, Zidon was much inferior to Tyre.
Saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins . . . Tyre, which before was very populated, full of children, young men and maidens, now was desolate; and which before was a mother city to many, and was famous for the birth of many cities such as Lepti, Utica, Carthage and Gades or Cales, but now it was all over for her.
Isaiah 23:5 As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. (KJV)
As at the report concerning Egypt . . . its future destruction of Egypt was prophesied (Isa.19) or what had in times past befallen it when the ten plagues were inflicted on it (Exodus Chapters 7-12), and Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red Sea (Ex.15:19; Josh.24:6-7), the report of which filled the neighboring nations with fear and trembling, and put them into a panic.
So shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre . . . their grief shall be answerable to the report, for the report is dreadful, so their grief and anguish shall be very great. They will fear lest they would be destroyed the same as Tyre was destroyed.
Isaiah 23:6 Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. (KJV)
Pass ye over to Tarshish . . . either to Tartessus in Spain, or to Tarsus in Cilicia, which lay over against them, and to which they might transport themselves, families and substance, with greater ease. Or to a province of the sea, as some say, others say to Carthage, which was a colony of the Tyrians. History says that they did transport themselves; not to Tyre, but to the merchants that traded with them, to go elsewhere with their merchandise, since their goods could no more be disposed of in that city as usual.
Howl, ye inhabitants of the isle . . . of Tyre (vs.2), of every isle which traded here, because now their commerce was at an end.
Isaiah 23:7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. (KJV)
Is this your joyous city? . . . which before looked so gay and cheerful, because of the number of its inhabitants, largeness of trade, fullness of provisions and pleasures of every kind . . . and now is totally distressed and desolate, with no voice of joy and gladness heard in it.
Whose antiquity is of ancient days . . . Tyre was the most ancient city in Phoenicia, except for Zidon, and it was there in the days of Joshua (Josh.19:29). The Tyrian priests boasted in Herodotus' time that their city had already existed 2300 years which seems to be exaggerated, but still meaning that it was ancient even then.
Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn . . . the logic is, that although the Tyrians lived very carefully, and in great prosperity, while their city flourished, yet now they would be very crudely and roughly used. They would not ride horses, or be drawn in carriages, but would be forced to walk and be led or driven into a foreign country, Assyria or Chaldea, or to some province belonging to that empire; where they would not be inhabitants, but sojourners and strangers. They would not be free but would be captives and slaves. Her own feet is understood by some to be the feet of her ships, meaning how she got to distant places, for safety. It is so reported in history, that the Tyrians being long besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, and having no hopes of being delivered, prepared a suitable number of ships, abandoned their city, transported themselves, wives, children and riches, and sailed from thence to Cyprus, Carthage, and other maritime cities of their tributaries or confederates; so that when the Babylonians took the city, found little or nothing in it (Eze.29:18). To sojourn . . . to seek for new homes. Some of the Tyrians were taken and carried captive into Chaldea, and other places, while others fled by sea into different parts.
Isaiah 23:8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? (KJV)
Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city . . . Trye had crowned its inhabitants with riches and plenty, and even enriched the kings of the Earth (Eze.27:33). This is said as wondering WHO could lay a such a plan as to destroy such a city. Who and where is he that could imagine or dare to attempt such a thing as this? Only ONE answer! This is the work of God, as is expressed in verse 9. As to looking forward to the Great Tribulation Period, WHO had the power to effect the ruin of such a city, which was the queen of cities (Rome), and give laws and crowns, riches and wealth, to others? NO mere mortal could be considered in this . . . again Only ONE answer! Almighty God! (Rev.17-18).
Whose merchants are princes . . . even princes and kings of the Earth traded with her (Eze.27:21). Or it could mean that they were as rich as princes and kings.
Whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth . . . made rich by trading with her, and so attained great honor and glory in the world (Rev.18:3).
Isaiah 23:9 The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth. (KJV)
The Lord of hosts hath purposed it . . . to destroy Tyre. Only He is capable of forming a wise plan, and be able to carry it out. He is the Lord of hosts in Heaven and on Earth: and it was His plan to do it. It is the Lord's own doing, so no one should doubt it, nor wonder at it. God's plan is by this example to decrease and abase the pride of all the rulers of the Earth that they may see and know what weak and wretched creatures they are, when God leaves them, and sets Himself against them.
To stain the pride of all glory . . . Tyre was proud of its riches, its commerce, and the multitude of its inhabitants. God who always sets Himself against the proud, and was resolved to lower them; to pollute the glorious things of which they were proud, to deal with them as with polluted things; and to trample upon them.
And to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth . . . or, to make light all those who are top heavy with riches and honor. The Lord can and sometimes does, make riches and pride as light as feathers, which the wind carries away . . . causing them to fall into contempt and disgrace. The Lord's dealing with Tyre was not just on their account, to stain their pride and glory, and disgrace their honorable ones; but also for the sake of others, that the great ones of the Earth might see and learn, by this example of Tyre, just how displeasing to the Lord is the sin of pride. Worldly honor and glory is but a poor, vain and perishing thing! When the Lord brings these prideful ones to judgment, what poor, weak, feeble creatures these princes and rulers of the Earth become. There is a lesson here for the world today! This also looks forward to the time of the Antichrist and the great whore (Rev.17:1-3).
*****It was the Lord of hosts who had determined the destruction of Tyre, and He offered no apologies for making the arrangement.
Human Responsibility for Tyre's Destruction (23:10-14)
Isaiah 23:10 Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength. (KJV)
Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish . . . daughter of Tarshish (Isa.1:8), or of the sea, meaning Tyre, which was situated in the sea. Tyre was fortified by the sea, and supported by ships of merchandise on it, from various places; but now, was about to be destroyed. The inhabitants of Tyre are called on to pass through it, and get out of it as fast as they could, as swiftly as a river runs, and in great abundance or multitudes.
There is no more strength . . . in Tyre, to defend themselves against the enemy, to protect their trade, and the merchants that traded with them; no more girdle about with walls, ramparts, and other fortifications with which it was encompassed, while an island, but now no more, being joined to the continent by the enemy. Some think, because girdles were a part of merchandise (Pro.31:24), that this is said to express the nastiness and poverty of the place, that there was not so much as a girdle left in it; rather that it was stripped of its power and authority, of which the girdle was a sign (Isa.22:21). The people of Tyre were advised to flee, for the city was unable to defend them or their wealth. The strengths of war was lost; their walls broken down; the sea, which was like a girdle that surrounded and defended them was now in part filled up by your enemies, who have joined you to the main land. Their former friends and allies forsook them.
Isaiah 23:11 He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof. (KJV)
He stretched out his hand over the sea . . . meaning the Lord of hosts, who had planned to destroy Tyre, stretched out His Hand of power over it, called the sea (vs.4), because it was situated in it, supported by it, and had the power of it. The Lord also in like manner, stretched out His Hand on the Red Sea, and destroyed Pharaoh and the Egyptians in it (Ex.15:19; Josh.24:6-7), to which the reference may be.
He shook the kingdoms . . . of Tyre and Zidon, which were both kingdoms, and distinct ones; and also made other neighboring kingdoms shake and tremble when these fell, fearing it would be their turn next. Some understand this of the moving of Nebuchadnezzar, and of the kings of the provinces under him, to come against Tyre.
The Lord hath given a commandment against the merchant city . . . the city of Tyre, so famous for merchandise, that it was the market of nations (vs.3), or against Canaan, in which country Tyre and Zidon were, being originally built and inhabited by the descendants of Canaan (Gen.10:15).
To destroy the strong holds thereof . . . either of the merchant city Tyre, whose fortifications were strong, or of Canaan, whose strong holds, or fortified cities, the main of them being Tyre and Zidon. IF the Lord of hosts gives a commandment to destroy it and its strong holds, as He did to Nebuchadnezzar and his army, and afterwards to Alexander and his army, WHO could save them? NO one! Once God gives a command, that is how it will be . . . and God gave the command to destroy it.
*****Consider the threefold description of Tyre? In verse 7, Tyre is called a joyous city. In verse 8, Tyre is called a crowning city. In verse 11, Tyre is called a merchant city. All three of these are suitable descriptions of Tyre.
Isaiah 23:12 And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest. (KJV)
And he said, thou shalt no more rejoice . . . HE is the Lord God! This does not mean that Tyre would never rejoice again, but not for a long time. When her calamity would come upon her, her happy time, her time of laughter, gaiety and partying would be over for a time . . . but at the end of 70 years, she would take her harp, and sing again (vs.15-16). The words seem to be speaking of Tyre, with reference to whom the whole prophecy is, although some think it means Zidon, which being close by, suffered at the same time with Tyre, or shortly thereafter.
O thou oppressed virgin . . . Tyre is called a virgin because of her beauty, lasciviousness and pride, and because she was never before subdued and taken and oppressed . . . but now she was ransacked, plundered and ruined by Nebuchadnezzar. Lasciviounesss means immorality, wantonness and unbridled lust. The word lasciviousness appears 6 time in the KJV of the New Testament: (Mk.7:22; 2 Cor.12:21; Gal.5:18; Eph.4:19; 1 Pet.4:3; Jude 1:4).
Daughter of Zidon . . . some think Zidon itself is meant, just as daughter of Zion means Zion herself; but it may be also observed, that such cities that have sprung from others, or have their dependence on them, are called their daughters; so we read of Samaria and her daughters, and Sodom and her daughters (Eze.16:46), and so Tyre is called the daughter of Zidon, because it was a colony of the Zidonians, and was at first built and supported by them, though now grown greater than its mother.
Arise, pass over to Chittim . . . to the isle of Cyprus, which was nearby, and in which was a city called Citium; or to Macedonia, which was called the land of Chittim (vs.1). Some think the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily are meant, which were colonies of the Tyrians (vs.1).
There also shalt thou have no rest . . . but, since those countries would also fall into the enemy's hands, either the Babylonians, or the Medes and Persians, or the Romans; into whose hands Macedonia, Carthage and other colonies of the Tyrians fell, so it would be when they passed over to Chittim . . . there would be no rest in any of these places. One thinks that the calamities that befell Tyre in their settlements, that is, Sicily, Corcyra, Carthage and Spain, all flowed from the original curse of Noah against the posterity of Canaan (Gen.9:25-27).
*****Pass over to Chittim . . . some probably thought that by fleeing to Cyprus they might make a fresh beginning, but they would be disappointed. God was responsible for what happened to them, even though He used human instruments to bring about His attack.
Isaiah 23:13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin. (KJV)
Behold the land of the Chaldeans . . . you Tyrians, who think your city indestructible, cast your eyes upon the land and empire of the Chaldeans, or Babylonians; which though now it be a flourishing kingdom, and shall shortly grow far more glorious and potent, even the glory of kingdoms, as it is called (Isa.13:19); yet it shall certainly be brought to utter ruin. Not Tyre, as some think, called the land of the Chaldeans, because it was founded by the Chaldeans, but the country called Chaldea is meant here, the Babylon Empire and monarchy, mainly Babylon, the head of it.
This people was not . . . the Chaldeans at first were not a people, not formed into any commonwealth or kingdom.
Till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness . . . until Nimrod, the head and founder of the Assyrian monarchy, built Babel (Gen.10:9-10), which now was the head of the Chaldean monarchy (Babylon), which he built for those people, who then lived in tents, and were dispersed here and there in wild and waste places, that he might bring them into order, and under government, and thereby establish and promote his own empire.
They set up the towers thereof . . . the towers of Babylon, not of Tyre. One interprets this of building fortifications against Tyre.
They raised up the palaces thereof . . . the stately buildings of Babylon; which gave them power and dominion over their neighbors, until at last they were the greatest of all the monarchies that were then upon Earth.
And he brought it to ruin . . . HE is the Lord God, who is stated before (vs.12), and is often intended in Scripture by the indefinite pronoun He. The prophet indicates the true reason why neither the Chaldeans nor the Tyrians would be able to stand . . . because Almighty God, their Creator, had set Himself against them. HE brought Babylon to ruin; and will always bring those in the wrong to ruin. The prophet also speaks of a future thing as if it were already past, as the prophets so often did. Babylon shall indeed fall in the last day (Rev.18). It is as good as done!
*****The Chaldeans shall now return to their first nothing, and become no people again. God will bring Babylon to ruin; and therefore it should not seem strange that Tyre would be destroyed, since this would be the case of Babylon. It should not seem strange that a people of yesterday, like the Chaldees, would destroy one of the most ancient of cities, Tyre. When the Lord God decides to bring a judgment on a nation (or a person), NO mere man can stop Him!
Isaiah 23:14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste. (KJV)
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish . . . see Verse 1.
For your strength is laid waste . . . meaning Tyre, a strong seaport, where their ships were safe, and always found an outlet for their goods and merchandise; and so it was the strength and support of their country, where they found safety and wealth.. . . but was now destroyed, and therefore was matter of lamentation and mourning (Eze.26:15-18).
Recovery of Tyre . . . Partial and Complete (23:15-18)
It Is Established Again
The desolations of Tyre were not to be forever. The Lord will visit Tyre in mercy. But when set at liberty, she will again use her old arts of temptation. The love of worldly possessions and wealth is spiritual idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry (Col.3:5). This should direct those that have wealth, to use it in the serving God and His people. When we stand with God in our worldly callings, when we do all in our power to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mat.28:19-20; Mk.16:15-16; Lk.24:47), then anything we do is for the glory and holiness to the Lord. TRUE Christians should live our lives as God's servants, and use any riches that He allows us, as His stewards.
Isaiah 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. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass in that day . . . when Tyre is destroyed, from that time forward.
That Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years . . . she shall lie in ruin, and not be rebuilt for 70 years. Tyre shall be without inhabitants, and isolated by men; there shall be no merchandise change hands in it during that time; no merchants will come near it. She will be like a harlot cast off and forgotten by her lover. The term of 70 years is the same with that of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon (Jer.25:11-12; 29:10; Dan.9:2; Zec.1:12; 7:5), and it seems that at least a great part of it will run out along with it. Trye was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, as Jerusalem was, although some time after it, and was restored when the Babylon Empire was destroyed, at the end of the 70 years. Forgotten means neglected and forsaken by those who used to go there. Having lost its former fame, Tyre would be in obscurity. Seventy years . . . Tyre was taken by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.27:3,8; Eze.26:7), a little after the taking of Jerusalem, and was restored by the favor of the Persian monarchs after the return of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon.
According to the days of one king . . . one king; either, #1. the kingdom of Babylon, which lasted so long after this time; the word king being put for kingdom, as it is in (Dan.7:17; 8:21), or #2. of Nebuchadnezzar, including his son, and his son's son, in whom his family and kingdom were to expire. Nebuchadnezzar, his son Evil-merodach, and his grandson, Belshazzar, formed the whole Babylonian dynasty (Jer.25:11-12; 27:7; 29:10).
After the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot . . . Tyre shall by degrees return to her former state of prosperity and traffic, by which she shall easily entice the merchants of the world to come and trade with her, just as harlots entice their customers by lascivious songs. Large markets of trade are often compared to harlots seeking many lovers, that is, they court merchants of all nations, and admit any one for the sake of gain (Nah.3:4; Rev.17:1-5; 18:2-3,9,23). Covetousness is the same as idolatry (Eph.5:5; Col.3:5) and too licentiousness, as the connection proves (Isa.2:6-22). Licentiousness is unrestrained, immorality in sexual matters.
Isaiah 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. (KJV)
Take a harp, go about the city . . . as harlots used to do, that by their music, both vocal and instrumental, they might lure men into their company to commit fornication with them . . . so Tyre in this prophecy, would take very crafty, devious and ensnaring methods to restore her commerce and merchandise.
Thou harlot that hast been forgotten . . . see verse 15.
Make sweet melody . . . do well by striking the harp in her hand; strike it well so as to make melody, and give pleasure to those that hear it.
Sing many songs . . . sing one song after another, so that you will bring men back again.
That thou mayest be remembered . . . that men may took at you again, and trade with you as they did before, who have been so long been forgotten and neglected. This means that Tyre would again prosper and attract commercial contact of nations to her, and be the same joyous, self-indulging city as before.
Isaiah 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. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years . . . when the 70 years before mentioned are ended (vs.15).
That the Lord will visit Tyre . . . not in judgment, as before, but in mercy. Visit Tyre meaning in mercy (Ruth 1:6; Ps.65:9).
And she shall return to her hire . . . her trade and merchandise shall be revived, and be as in times past. After the Babylonian dynasty was ended, Tyre was rebuilt; also, again, after the destruction under Alexander.
And shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world, upon the face of the earth . . . be a market of the nations again (vs.3), that is, the trade and traffic with all nations of the Earth, in the most abundant and public manner . . . this is called committing fornication, in agreement with the symbol of a harlot before used, where Tyre is compared, for she used illicit ways and methods in her commerce. This looks forward to the last days of mystical Tyre or Babylon and her merchants (Rev.18:3).
*****At the end of 70 years Tyre was to return and begin once again her world trade. Once more she would become a great commercial center, and she would commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the Earth (Jer.51:7; Rev.14:8; 17:2; 18:3,9.23). The prophet compares Tyre to a harlot practicing her immoral and unholy trade. That is how God speaks of these great commercial centers. This looks forward to the last days, the time of the Great Tribulation Period, where we find that Tyre will again be a great nation and will enter the Millennium (Ps.45:12).
Isaiah 23:18 And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing. (KJV)
And her merchandise, and her hire . . . this is a prophecy about the conversion of the Tyrians to the true religion, of this success something is said in (Acts 21:3-5). Her merchandise . . . is not the same as before; is not as carried on at the same time, but many ages after, even in the times of the Gospel . . . for this part of the prophecy indicates the conversion of the Tyrians, in the first ages of Christianity; this is prophesied of elsewhere (Ps.45:12), and was fulfilled in the times of the apostles (Acts 11:19-20), and some say this is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled in the last days, when the trade of this people, and what they got by it,
Shall be holiness to the LORD . . . dedicated, at least, a great part of it, to holy uses and service; and would defray expenses in carrying on the worship of God, for the maintenance of Gospel ministers, and for the supply and support of the poor saints.
It shall not be treasured, nor laid up . . . it would not kept in pride and luxury; nor be kept as useless to gratify a greedy disposition; or for the future to come. Not treasured . . . but freely used in the Lord’s service.
For her merchandise shall be laid up for them, that dwell before the LORD . . . at least part of what should be gained by trading, would be laid by for religious uses, as directed (1 Cor.16:1), for the relief of poor saints in common, who assemble together before the Lord, for the sake of His worship; and especially for the support of the ministers of the Gospel, who stand before the Lord, and minister holy things, in His Name, to the people. Tyre’s traffic and gains shall at long last, be consecrated to the LORD! Christ Jesus visited Tyre (Mat.15:21); Paul found disciples there (Acts 21:3-6); very early, Tyre became a Christian district, but the full conversion of that whole race: as of the Ethiopians (Isa;18:1-7), of the Egyptians and Assyrians (Isa.19:1-25), is yet to come (Isa.60:5).
To eat sufficiently . . . that they may have ample food for them, and have a comfortable supply of food for themselves and families, and clothing also; as follows.
And for durable clothing . . . that they may have a supply of clothing, and never lack a coat to put on their back. This prophecy, as it belongs to Gospel times, is a proof of the upkeep of the Gospel ministers that they should be generously provided for; and care should be taken that they never lack food and clothing, but have a fullness and sufficiency of both. Changes of raiment created much of the wealth of those days.
*****Tyre’s merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord. It shall all be dedicated to the Lord and His people. And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall plead for God’s favor (Ps.45:12).
The trade of Tyre, and all the gains of her trade, shall be devoted to God and to His honor and used in His service. It shall not be treasured and hoarded up, as formerly, to puff up their pride and for the support of their carnal lust, but it shall be given in acts of devotion and charity to the LORD and His people.
Twenty-one Predictions -- Fulfilled:
- Ships of Tarshish shall howl because Tyre will be laid waste (vs.1).
- Tyre's harbor shall be destroyed . . . no entrance.
- The report of the fall of Tyre will be brought from Chittim.
- Zidon also shall suffer at the fall of Tyre (vs.4).
- The fall of Tyre will be mourned in Egypt (vs.4-5).
- Others will go by ships to Tarshish (vs.6).
- Many will walk by land on their own feet, into captivity (vs.7).
- The pride of Tyre will be brought down (vs.9).
- The honorable men will be brought into contempt.
- Tyre will lose all her power and be made weak to resist (vs.10).
- The strongholds of Tyre will be destroyed (vs.11).
- The joy of Tyre will end (vs.12).
- Tyre will become oppressed.
- Refugees from Tyre will find no rest in Chittim.
- Judgment of Tyre will come from the Chaldeans (vs.13).
- The strength of Tyre will be laid waste (vs.14).
- Tyre shall be forgotten and be waste for 70 years (vs.15).
- At the end of 70 years, Tyre will sing as a harlot (vs.15).
- It will be hard to find anyone alive who remembers Tyre in her glory (vs.16).
- Tyre will be restored at the end of 70 years and will again return to her hire (vs.17).
- Tyre will again commit fornication with all nations.
Two Predictions . . . not fulfilled:
1. Her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord (vs.18).
2. Her merchandise shall not be amassed but shall be used for those who dwell before the Lord.
Commentaries on Old Testament Books
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
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ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page
ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page
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Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Vision of the Dispersion . . . Isaiah Ch.58 . . Isaiah Ch59 . . Isaiah Ch.60 . . Isaiah Ch.61 . . Isaiah Ch.62 . . Isaiah Ch.63 . . Isaiah Ch.64 . . Isaiah Ch.65 . . Isaiah Ch.66 . . Home Page