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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And 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,
Prophecies against Tyre. The siege of Tyre lasted thirteen years beginning 585 b.c., about three years after the capture of Jerusalem. While besieging Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar had driven Pharaoh Hophra back to the borders of Egypt. Tyre being thus relieved from a dangerous enemy, was exulting in her own deliverance, and in her neighbor's ruin, when Ezekiel predicted the calamity about to befall her. The name Tyre means rock, and was given to the city in consequence of its position. This island-rock was the heart of Tyre, and the town upon the continent - called "Old Tyre," possibly as having been the temporary position of the first settlers - was the outgrowth of the island city. The scanty records of ancient history give no, distinct evidence of the capture of insular Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar; but the fact is very probable. Compare especially Ezekiel 26:7-12; Ezekiel 29:18. The present state of Tyre is one of utter desolation, though the end was long delayed (compare Isaiah 23). Tyre was great and wealthy under Persian, Greek, Roman, and even Muslim masters. The final ruin of Tyre was due to the sultan of Egypt (1291 a.d.).
In the first day of the month - The number of the month being omitted, many suppose "the month" to mean the month when Jerusalem was taken (the rebirth month), called "the month," as being so well known. The capture of the city is known to have taken place on "the ninth day of the fourth month" and its destruction on "the seventh day of the fifth month." This prophecy therefore preceded by a few days the capture of the city. The condition of Jerusalem in the latter months of its siege was such that the Tyrians may well have exulted as though it had already fallen.
2Son 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:
Gates - i. e., one gate of two leaves.
The people - Or, the peoples (and in Ezekiel 27:3), the plural expressing the fact that many peoples passed through Jerusalem, as the central place on the highway of commerce, e. g., in the reign of Solomon. This was viewed with jealousy by Tyre, who owed her greatness to the same cause, and in the true spirit of mercantile competition exulted in the thought that the trade of Jerusalem would be diverted into her markets. Render it: Aha! She is broken - the gate of the peoples! She is turned unto me. I shall be filled. She is laid waste.
3Therefore 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.
4And 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.
5It 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.
6And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Her daughters ... - The subject states upon the mainland, on which she at this time relied for supplies.
7For 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.
The description of the siege is that of a town invested by land.
Nebuchadrezzar - Jeremiah 21:2 note.
8He 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.
Lift up the buckler - i. e., set a wall of shields, under cover of which the walls could be approached.
9And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.
Engines of war - Or, his battering ram. "axes" swords. They who would break flown the towers, rush on with their swords to slay the defenders.
10By 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.
11With 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.
Garrisons - pillars, on which stood statues of some protecting god. Compare 2 Kings 10:26.
12And 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.
13And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.
14And 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.
The siege had been on land, but the victory was to be completed by the subjection of the island-citadel.
15Thus 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?
The effect of the fall of Tyre.
16Then 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.
Clothe themselves with trembling - Mourners change their bright robes for sad garments.
17And 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!
Of seafaring men - literally, "from the seas," i. e., occupied by men who come from the seas. Tyre was an inhabited city rising from out of the sea.
18Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.
19For 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;
20When 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;
Compare Isaiah 14:9. The image used by Isaiah and Jeremiah of Babylon is by Ezekiel applied to Tyre, as if to show that Tyre and Babylon alike represent the world-power. So, in the Book of Revelation, Babylon is the kingdom of Antichrist.
The land of the living - The land of the true God, as opposed to the land of the dead, to which is gathered the glory of the world. Here then, together with the utter ruin of Tyre, rises the vision of renewed glory to Jerusalem. The coming Messiah is thus propheticly pointed out. The over-throw of God's enemies shall be accompanied by the establishment of His true kingdom.
21I 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.