Isaiah 23:16
Take an harp, go about the city, you harlot that have been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Take an harp, go about the city . . .—In a tone half of irony and half of pity, the prophet tells the “harlot that had been forgotten” to return to her old arts of song (the singing women of the East were commonly of this class), and to go about once more with song and lyre, recalling her old lovers (i.e., her old allies) to the memory of their past love.

23:15-18 The desolations of Tyre were not to be for ever. The Lord will visit Tyre in mercy. But when set at liberty, she will use her old arts of temptation. The love of worldly wealth is spiritual idolatry; and covetousness is spiritual idolatry. This directs those that have wealth, to use it in the service of God. When we abide with God in our worldly callings, when we do all in our power to further the gospel, then our merchandise and hire are holiness to the Lord, if we look to his glory. Christians should carry on business as God's servants, and use riches as his stewards.Take an harp - This is a continuation of the figure commenced in the previous verse, a direct command to Tyre as an harlot, to go about the city with the usual expressions of rejoicing. Thus Donatus, in Terent. Eunuch., iii. 2, 4, says:

'Fidicinam esse meretricum est;'

And thus Horace:

'Nec meretrix tibicina, cujus

Ad strepitum salias.'

1 Epis. xiv. 25.

Thou harlot that hast been forgotten - For seventy years thou hast lain unknown, desolate, ruined.

Make sweet melody ... - Still the prophet keeps up the idea of the harlot that had been forgotten, and that would now call her lovers again to her dwelling. The sense is, that Tyre would rise to her former splendor, and that the nations would be attracted by the proofs of returning prosperity to renew their commercial contact with her.

16. Same figure [Isa 23:15] to express that Tyre would again prosper and attract commercial intercourse of nations to her, and be the same joyous, self-indulging city as before. Take an harp, go about the city; as harlots use to do, to allure customers.

Thou harlot; so he calleth Tyre, partly because she enticed merchants to deal with her by various artifices, and even by dishonest practices, as harlots use; and partly because of the great and general uncleanness which was both committed and tolerated in it. That thou mayest be remembered by those who had forgotten thee, Isaiah 23:15. Take a harp, go about the city,.... As harlots used to do, that by their music, both vocal and instrumental, they might allure men into their company to commit fornication with them; so Tyre is directed to, or rather this is a prophecy that she should take very artful and ensnaring methods to restore her commerce and merchandise:

thou harlot that hast been forgotten; See Gill on Isaiah 23:15,

make sweet melody; or, "do well by striking" (k); that is, the harp in her hand; strike it well with art and skill, so as to make melody, and give pleasure:

sing many songs; or, "multiply a song" (l); sing one after another, till the point is carried aimed at:

that thou mayest be remembered; men may took at thee again, and trade with thee as formerly, who had been so long forgotten and neglected.

(k) "benefac pulsando", Junius; "belle pulsa", Piscator. (l) "multiplica cantum", Piscator.

Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; {x} make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

(x) She will labour by all means to recover her first credit, as a harlot when she is long forgotten, seeks by all means to entertain her lovers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. The song of the harlot, celebrating the wiles by which a forgotten prostitute seeks to regain her influence. The song has a light, dancing rhythm, and consists of six lines of two words each.

make sweet melody] Better: play skilfully.Verse 16. - Take an harp. Harlots in the East, and indeed in the West also in ancient times (Her., 'Epist.,' 1:14, 1. 25), were expected to be musicians. The harp and the guitar were their usual instruments. Forgotten harlot. In addressing. Tyro as a "harlot," the prophet does not seem to mean more than that her aims were, or at any rate had been, selfish and worldly, such as sever between man and God. She had pursued wealth for the enjoyments that it brought her, not in order to make a good use of it. Hers had been the covetousness which is "idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). The consequence of the fall of Tyre is, that the colonies achieve their independence, Tartessus being mentioned by way of example. "Overflow thy land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish! No girdle restrains thee any longer." The girdle (mēzach) is the supremacy of Tyre, which has hitherto restrained all independent action on the part of the colony. Now they no longer need to wait in the harbour for the ships of the mother city, no longer to dig in the mines as her tributaries for silver and other metals. The colonial territory is their own freehold now, and they can spread themselves over it like the Nile when it passes beyond its banks and overflows the land. Koppe has already given this as the meaning of Isaiah 23:10.
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