Isaiah 23:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
A prophecy against Tyre: Wail, you ships of Tarshish! For Tyre is destroyed and left without house or harbor. From the land of Cyprus word has come to them.

New Living Translation
This message came to me concerning Tyre: Weep, O ships of Tarshish, for the harbor and houses of Tyre are gone! The rumors you heard in Cyprus are all true.

English Standard Version
The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.

New American Standard Bible
The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor; It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
An oracle against Tyre: Wail, ships of Tarshish, for your haven has been destroyed. Word has reached them from the land of Cyprus.

International Standard Version
A message concerning Tyre. "Wail, you ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is destroyed and is without house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus it was revealed to them.

NET Bible
Here is a message about Tyre: Wail, you large ships, for the port is too devastated to enter! From the land of Cyprus this news is announced to them.

New Heart English Bible
The burden of Tyre. Howl, you ships of Tarshish. For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in. From the land of Kittim it is revealed to them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is the divine revelation about Tyre. Cry loudly, you ships of Tarshish! Your port at Tyre is destroyed. Word has come to the ships from Cyprus.

JPS Tanakh 1917
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 Kittim it is revealed to them.

New American Standard 1977
The oracle concerning Tyre.
            Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
            For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor;
            It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus.

Jubilee Bible 2000
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.

King James 2000 Bible
The burden concerning Tyre. Wail, you ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Kittim it is revealed to them.

American King James Version
The burden of Tyre. Howl, you 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.

American Standard Version
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 Kittim it is revealed to them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
THE burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of the sea, for the house is destroyed, from whence they were wont to come: from the land of Cethim it is revealed to them.

Darby Bible Translation
The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish! for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, none entering in. From the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.

English Revised Version
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 Kittim it is revealed to them.

Webster's Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
The burden of Tyre. Howl, you ships of Tarshish! For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in. From the land of Kittim it is revealed to them.

Young's Literal Translation
The Burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, For it hath been destroyed, Without house, without entrance, From the land of Chittim it was revealed to them.
Study Bible
The Fall of Tyre
1The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbor; It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus. 2Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea…
Cross References
Luke 10:13
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had happened in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Genesis 10:4
The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim.

Joshua 19:29
The border turned to Ramah and to the fortified city of Tyre; then the border turned to Hosah, and it ended at the sea by the region of Achzib.

1 Kings 5:1
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David.

1 Kings 10:22
For the king had at sea the ships of Tarshish with the ships of Hiram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.

Isaiah 2:16
Against all the ships of Tarshish And against all the beautiful craft.

Isaiah 23:6
Pass over to Tarshish; Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland.

Isaiah 23:12
He has said, "You shall exult no more, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest."

Isaiah 24:10
The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter.

Jeremiah 25:22
and all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon and the kings of the coastlands which are beyond the sea;
Treasury of Scripture

The burden of Tyre. Howl, you 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.

A.M.3289. B.C.715
burden. Tyre, whose destruction by Nebuchadnezzar is here foretold, was a city of Phoenicia, on the shore of the Mediterranean, twenty-four miles south of Sidon, and thirty-two north of Accho or Ptolemais, according to the Antonine and Jerusalem Itineraries, about lat.

Jeremiah 25:15,22 For thus said the LORD God of Israel to me; Take the wine cup of …

Jeremiah 47:4 Because of the day that comes to spoil all the Philistines, and to …

Ezekiel 26:1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the …

Ezekiel 27:1 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,

Ezekiel 28:1 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,

Joel 3:4-8 Yes, and what have you to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all …

Amos 1:9,10 Thus said the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, …

Zechariah 9:2,4 And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it …

Howl

Isaiah 15:2,8 He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: …

Revelation 18:17-19 For in one hour so great riches is come to nothing. And every shipmaster, …

ye ships

Isaiah 2:16 And on all the ships of Tarshish, and on all pleasant pictures.

Isaiah 60:9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, …

1 Kings 22:48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but …

2 Chronicles 9:21 For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: …

Psalm 48:7 You break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

Ezekiel 27:25 The ships of Tarshish did sing of you in your market: and you were …

for it is

Isaiah 15:1 The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, …

Jeremiah 25:10,11 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice …

Revelation 18:22,23 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, …

the land

Isaiah 23:12 And he said, You shall no more rejoice, O you oppressed virgin, daughter …

Numbers 24:24 And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict …

Jeremiah 2:10 For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and …

Ezekiel 27:6 Of the oaks of Bashan have they made your oars; the company of the …

Daniel 11:30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall …

XXIII.

(1) The burden of Tyre . . .--The chapter calls us to enquire into the political relations of Tyre at the time of Isaiah. These we learn, partly from Scripture itself, partly from Assyrian inscriptions. In the days of David and Solomon there had been an intimate alliance between Israel and Hiram, King of Tyre. Psalm 45:12 indicates at least the interchange of kingly gifts, if not the acknowledgment of sovereignty by payment of tribute. Psalm 83:7, which we have some reason to connect with the reign of Uzziah, shows that this alliance had passed into hostility. The position of Tyre naturally threw it into more intimate relations with the northern kingdom; "its country was nourished by the king's country" then as in the days of Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:20), and there seems reason to believe that the son of Tabeal, whom Pekah and Rezin intended to place upon the throne of Judah, was the son of a Tyrian ruler. (See Note on Isaiah 7:6.) It was, at this time, the most flourishing of the Phnician cities, and had succeeded to the older fame of Zidon. The action of Ahaz in inviting the help of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and the Syrians had tended to make Tyre also an object of attack by the Assyrian armies. The prophecy now before us would seem to have been connected with that attack, and foretells the issue of the conflict on which Tyre had rashly entered. Upon that issue light is thrown by the inscriptions of the Assyrian kings. Sargon records that he "plundered the district of Samaria and the whole house of Omri," and "reigned from Yatnan (Cyprus), which is in the midst of the sea of the setting sun . . . from the great Phnicia and Syria. . . . to all the cities of remote Media" (Records of the Past, vii. 27). Sennacherib boasts of a victory over the land of the Hatti (i.e., Hittites); "fear overwhelmed Luti, the king of Zidon," and "he fled to Yatnan, which is in the midst of the sea," and the Assyrian "placed Tubalu" (the Tabeal of Isaiah) on the throne of the kingdom (Records of the Past, vii. 61). In anticipation of these events, the prophet utters his note of warning to the great merchant city. It seems more natural to connect it with those events, which came within the horizon of his vision, than to refer it, as some interpreters have done, to the later siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. The mention of the Chaldeans as having been subdued by the Assyrians, which fits in with Sargon's and Sennacherib's victories over Merdach-baladan (Records of the Past, vii. 45, 59), who endeavoured to establish an independent kingdom in Babylon (see Note on Isaiah 39:1), and is, of course, entirely inapplicable to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, seems, indeed, to be decisive as to this question.

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish . . .--See Note on Isaiah 2:16. The prophet sees, as in vision, the argosies of Tyre speeding on their way homeward across the Mediterranean from Tarshish (Spain), and bids them raise their lamentation over the coming fate of their city. They will hear that their city has been taken, that there is no access to its harbours. At Chittim (Cyprus, or, probably, Citium, the chief Phnician colony of the island), the tidings which burst upon them were as a revelation, confirming the vague rumours they had heard before.

Verses 1-14. - THE BURDEN OF TYRE. We here reach the last of the "burdens" - the concluding chapter of the series of denunciatory prophecies which commenced with Isaiah 13. It is an elegy "in three stanzas, or strophes" (Cheyne) - the first extending from ver. 1 to ver. 5; the second, thence to ver. 9; and the third from ver. 10 to ver. 14. An undertone of sadness, and even of commiseration, prevails throughout it, the prophet viewing Tyre as a fellow-sufferer with Israel, persecuted and oppressed by the fame enemy, Assyria, which was everywhere pushing her conquests, and had recently extended her dominion even over Babylon (ver. 13). This last allusion fixes the date of the prophecy to a time subsequent to B.C. 710, when the Assyrian monarch, Sargon, first conquered the country, and took the title of king (G. Smith, 'Epanym Canon,' p. 86). Verse 1. - Howl (comp. Isaiah 13:6, 31). The expression is common in the prophets (see Jeremiah 4:8; Jeremiah 25:34, etc.: Ezekiel 21:12; Ezekiel 30:2; Joel 1:5, 11, 13; Zephaniah 1:11; Zechariah 11:2, etc.). Ye ships of Tarshish. "Ships of Tarshish" are first mentioned in connection with the trade carried on by Solomon. Apparently, the term there designates a certain class of ship rather than those engaged in a particular trade (see the comment on 1 Kings 22:48 in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 2. p. 623). Here, however, Phoenician ships, actually engaged in the trade with Tartessus, may be intended. Tartessus was a very ancient Phoenician settlement in the south of Spain, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and was the center of a most important and lucrative commerce (see 1 Kings 10:22; Herod., i. 163; Ezekiel 27:12, etc.). In the present passage the returning fleet of merchantmen is addressed, and told that the harbour to which they are hastening is closed, the city desolate. From the land of Chittim. "Chittim" here, as in Genesis 10:4, and elsewhere generally, is probably Cyprus, whose most ancient capital was called by the Greeks Kitten (see Joseph, 'Ant. Jud,' 1:6, § 1). The name "Chittim" is not improbably a variant of "Khittim," "the Hittites," who may have been the first to colonize the island. A fleet from the Western Mediterranean would naturally touch at Cyprus on its way to Tyro, and would there learn the calamity. The burden of Tyre,.... Or a prophecy concerning the destruction of it. The Targum is,

"the burden of the cup of cursing, to give Tyre to drink.''

This was a famous city in Phoenicia, which exceeded in renown and grandeur all the cities of Syria and Phoenicia (h), and was much known for its trade and navigation, for which it was well situated by the sea; and indeed new Tyre stood in it, about half a mile from the shore, before it was joined to the continent by Alexander the great: but this seems to be old Tyre, and, was upon the continent, which was built by the Phoenicians before the Trojan war (i), and two hundred and forty years before the temple of Solomon (k). It had its name "Tzur", in the Hebrew language, from whence it is called Tyre, from the rock on which it was built, that word so signifying. It is written here without a vau; and it is a rule with the Jews (l), that whenever this word is written full, with all its letters, it is to be understood of the city of Tyre; but if wanting, it designs Rome; and Cocceius interprets the whole prophecy of the antichristian city.

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; not of Carthage, as the Septuagint version; but of Tartessus in Spain, which traded with Tyre, and from whence the Phoenicians are said to have large quantities of gold and silver. Some interpret it Tarsus, a seaport in Cilicia, which lay nearer to Tyre, the same place the Apostle Paul was of, Acts 22:3 though by Tarshish may be meant the sea, as it sometimes is, and as the Targum and Jarchi here interpret it, and so designs ships in general; or, as the Targum, those that go down in the ships of the sea; or all sorts of persons, from every quarter, that sailed in ships to Tyre, and traded with it; these are now called to mourning and lamentation, because their commerce with it was now over:

for it is laid waste; not Tarshish, but Tyre; and this was done, not by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, who indeed besieged it for the space of five years, but took it not; the Tyrians with twelve ships scattered his fleet, and took five hundred of his men, this was when Elulaeus was king of Tyre (m); 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 (n): and this seems rather intended here, since seventy years after this it was to be restored again, which best accords with those times, as will be seen hereafter:

so that there is no house, no entering in; no port or haven open to go in at, no shops to vend 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, by whom the isles of the Gentiles were divided, Genesis 10:4 from whom the Ionians or Grecians descended; so that Chittim seems to design some part of Greece, or isles belonging to it. The Macedonians are called by this name; and Alexander the Macedonian is said to come out of the land of Chittim, as in the Apocrypha:

"And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,'' (1 Maccabees 1:1)

"Beside this, how they had discomfited in battle Philip, and Perseus, king of the Citims, with others that lifted up themselves against them, and had overcome them:'' (1 Maccabees 8:5)

hence some think he is designed here, and the destruction of Tyre by him; and the words may be rendered, "from the land of Chittim he is revealed", or "appears unto them"; that is, as Jarchi glosses it, the destroyer to the men of Tyre, though he by Chittim understands the Cuthites. Josephus says (o) Chittim the son of Javan possessed the island Chethima, now called Cyprus, and from hence all islands, and most maritime places, are called Chittim by the Hebrews; and observes, that one of the cities of Cyprus is called Citium. And in the lamentation for Tyre, Ezekiel 27:6, we read of the isles of Chittim; by which are meant perhaps the isles in the Aegean and Ionian seas, who traded with Tyre, and from these first came the tidings of Tyre's destruction to the ships or merchants of Tarshish; which agrees with a Hebrew exposition mentioned by Jarchi,

"from the land of Chittim is revealed to the men of Tarshish the destruction of Tyre; for the inhabitants of Tyre fled to Chittim, and from thence the rumour was heard.''

The sense which R. Joseph Kimchi gives of the passage, as his son David relates, is this,

"Chittim were merchants that went to Babylon, and told them that they might go to Tyre, and would be able to take it, and they would help them, and carry them there by sea.''

But it seems more likely that those trading people, by going from one country to another, got knowledge of the design of the Babylonians against Tyre, and acquainted that city with it. Some join the words, "from the land of Chittim", to the preceding, thus, "no entering in from the land of Chittim, it is revealed", or made known; that is, it is some way or other made known to the merchants of Chittim (p) that there is no entrance into Tyre, the city being laid waste and its port ruined, so that it is in vain for them to send their ships; to which the Septuagint in some measure agrees,

continued...CHAPTER 23

Isa 23:1-18. Prophecy Respecting Tyre.

Menander, the historian, notices a siege of Tyre by Shalmaneser, about the time of the siege of Samaria. Sidon, Acco, and Old Tyre, on the mainland, were soon reduced; but New Tyre, on an island half a mile from the shore, held out for five years. Sargon probably finished the siege. Sennacherib does not, however, mention it among the cities which the Assyrian kings conquered (thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh chapters). The expression, "Chaldeans" (Isa 23:13), may imply reference to its siege under Nebuchadnezzar, which lasted thirteen years. Alexander the Great destroyed New Tyre after a seven months' siege.

1. Tyre—Hebrew, Tsur, that is, "Rock."

ships of Tarshish—ships of Tyre returning from their voyage to Tarshish, or Tartessus in Spain, with which the Phoenicians had much commerce (Eze 27:12-25). "Ships of Tarshish" is a phrase also used of large and distant-voyaging merchant vessels (Isa 2:16; 1Ki 10:22; Ps 48:7).

no house—namely, left; such was the case as to Old Tyre, after Nebuchadnezzar's siege.

no entering—There is no house to enter (Isa 24:10) [G. V. Smith]. Or, Tyre is so laid waste, that there is no possibility of entering the harbor [Barnes]; which is appropriate to the previous "ships."

Chittim—Cyprus, of which the cities, including Citium in the south (whence came "Chittim"), were mostly Phoenician (Eze 27:6). The ships from Tarshish on their way to Tyre learn the tidings ("it is revealed to them") of the downfall of Tyre. At a later period Chittim denoted the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean (Da 11:30).23:1-14 Tyre was the mart of the nations. She was noted for mirth and diversions; and this made her loth to consider the warnings God gave by his servants. Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes. Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the merchants should abandon her. Flee to shift for thine own safety; but those that are uneasy in one place, will be so in another; for when God's judgments pursue sinners, they will overtake them. Whence shall all this trouble come? It is a destruction from the Almighty. God designed to convince men of the vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory. Let the ruin of Tyre warn all places and persons to take heed of pride; for he who exalts himself shall be abased. God will do it, who has all power in his hand; but the Chaldeans shall be the instruments.
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