Isaiah 23:1
Parallel Verses
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.

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.

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.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

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.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

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...

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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).

Isaiah 23:1 Additional Commentaries
Context
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 been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Genesis 10:4
The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.

Joshua 19:29
The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the Mediterranean Sea in the region of Akzib,

1 Kings 5:1
When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David.

1 Kings 10:22
The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

Isaiah 2:16
for every trading ship and every stately vessel.

Isaiah 23:6
Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you people of the island.

Isaiah 23:12
He said, "No more of your reveling, Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed! "Up, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest."

Isaiah 24:10
The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred.

Jeremiah 25:22
all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the coastlands across the sea;

Jeremiah 47:4
For the day has come to destroy all the Philistines and to remove all survivors who could help Tyre and Sidon. The LORD is about to destroy the Philistines, the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.

Ezekiel 26:2
"Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, 'Aha! The gate to the nations is broken, and its doors have swung open to me; now that she lies in ruins I will prosper,'

Ezekiel 27:6
Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars; of cypress wood from the coasts of Cyprus they made your deck, adorned with ivory.

Ezekiel 27:30
They will raise their voice and cry bitterly over you; they will sprinkle dust on their heads and roll in ashes.

Daniel 11:30
Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

Joel 3:4
"Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.

Amos 1:9
This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not relent. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,

Jonah 1:3
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

Zechariah 9:2
and on Hamath too, which borders on it, and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.
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 …

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