September 2, 2021
"Here is what the Lord God says: ‘When I make you (Tyre) a ruined city like other uninhabited cities; when I bring the deep sea over you..."
“Here is what the Lord God says: ‘When I make you (Tyre) a ruined city like other uninhabited cities; when I bring the deep sea over you, and its mighty waters cover you; Then I will bring you down with those who descend to the pit, to the people of long ago, and make you live in the underworld places like those who descend to the pit, so that you will be uninhabited when I give glory to the land of the living. I will make you horrible; you will cease to exist. People will seek you but never more will find you,’ says the Lord God.” Ezekiel 26:19-21
Fraud & greed have become so commonplace in our culture that our conditioned response is typically a yawn instead of outrage. As long as there are financial sections of newspapers, their headlines will mostly read of scandal in the marketplace. Tyre was the commercial center of the ancient Middle East. In the following three chapters, she comes under the scrutiny of the divine Accountant & Judge. The previous chapter dealt mainly with the violence of the nations to the east of Judah, and the following three chapters will focus largely on the commercial life of the nations to the northwest.
Tyre was the capital of Phoenicia, which included Gebal and Sidon. These were all Mediterranean ports, and (together with the Philistines) the Phoenicians were great merchant traders of the ancient Near East, hence: The gate of the nations. (26:2)
During the reigns of David & Solomon, Tyre established good relations with Israel; there is no record of any war between Israel and these Mediterranean coastal states. In fact, they are mostly known for their co-operation: King Hiram 1st of Tyre provided wood and artisans for Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 5:1-18) and sailors for his commercial fleet (1 Kings 9:27). But there had been moments of tension over economic matters. Extra-Biblical historical accounts reveal that the Phoenicians had taken advantage of Judah’s battle with the Babylonians by plundering them from the northwest and exploiting them with high trade tariffs and over-inflated prices on essential goods.
Tyre’s primary offense, though, was its arrogance. Their greatest idol was the one they saw looking back, as they stared into the mirror! As the major shipping giant, Tyre was unstoppable at sea; and since they were strategically located partly on the mainland and partly on an adjacent island, they were virtually impenetrable. Of course, in the words of Ezekiel, one tsunami could cure the excessive pride of any island empire. Indeed, Tyre was about to face a tsunami in the likes of a Babylonian wave, which destroyed the inland portion of Tyre’s empire. A later “tsunami wave,” named Alexander the Great, would take the rubble of Babylon’s inland destruction and build a bridge with it. In that bridge of rubble, Alexander marched to the island and defeated Tyre once & for all.
So, how did Tyre’s self-worship display itself in such a way to anger God to the extent that He would have her virtually destroyed? 1) Tyre depended on her physical resources. (26:4, 7, 9-11) 2) Tyre put her trust in her leaders. (26:16) 3) Tyre was materialistic. (26:12) 4) Tyre was in love with the “good life.” (26:13) Sadly, these traits describe America perfectly. When you feel the urge to brace for impact, pray for Revival!