Ezekiel 26:16
Then 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.
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(16) Princes of the sea.—Or, as we should say, merchant princes. (Comp. Isaiah 23:8.) Actual sovereigns are not meant, but those raised by commerce to wealth and power. Their astonishment and grief is poetically described under the figure of the customs of Oriental mourning. (Comp. Jonah 3:6.) “Thrones” should rather be translated seats, as in Judges 3:20; 1Samuel 1:9; 1Samuel 4:13; 1Samuel 4:18.

26:15-21 See how high, how great Tyre had been. See how low Tyre is made. The fall of others should awaken us out of security. Every discovery of the fulfilment of a Scripture prophecy, is like a miracle to confirm our faith. All that is earthly is vanity and vexation. Those who now have the most established prosperity, will soon be out of sight and forgotten.Clothe themselves with trembling - Mourners change their bright robes for sad garments.16. come down from their thrones … upon the ground—"the throne of the mourners" (Job 2:13; Jon 3:6).

princes of the sea—are the merchant rulers of Carthage and other colonies of Tyre, who had made themselves rich and powerful by trading on the sea (Isa 23:8).

clothe … with trembling—Hebrew, "tremblings." Compare Eze 7:27, "clothed with desolation"; Ps 132:18. In a public calamity the garment was changed for a mourning garb.

The princes of the sea; who were lords of the islands in that sea, and who traded with Tyrus, and there were many such; or sea commanders, who, in their wooden world, are so many petty princes; but rather the former, the crowned heads whose kingdoms were so many islands.

Come down from their thrones, in token of sadness and condolence.

Lay away their robes, as further sign of grief.

Put off their broidered garments: this is added also to show how greatly they were affected with sorrow at this sad fall of their ally and friend.

Clothe themselves with trembling: this laying aside of their gallantry shall not be in compliment, as now in such cases of condolence, but they shall be heartily afraid of their own concerns, and astonished in the midst of their fears.

Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones,.... The kings of the islands of the sea shall lay aside their regalia, all their royal grandeur, and the ensigns of it; leave their thrones of state, and sit in an humble posture:

and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments; their royal robes and raiment of needlework curiously embroidered, and richly wrought, such as princes wear; so did the king of Nineveh in token of humiliation, Jonah 3:6. The Septuagint and Arabic versions understand the first clause of their taking their mitres, or diadems, from their heads:

they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall tremble from head to foot in every joint, as if they were covered with it, as with a garment; or, being clothed with sackcloth, as mourners used to be, shall shake and tremble, being used to other and better clothing:

they shall sit upon the ground; as Job did, and his friends, with dust and ashes on their heads, as persons in distress were wont to do, Job 2:8,

and shall tremble at every moment; continually, every hour, minute, and moment of the day: or, "at the breaches" (o); so Jarchi; that is, those made upon Tyre; fearing lest the same should be made upon them; so the Targum, "because of their breaches"; or at the ruin and destruction they fear will be their case also:

and be astonished at thee; that a city so wealthy and mighty should be brought so low; see Revelation 18:9.

(o) "super repentino casu suo", V. L.

Then all the princes of the {g} sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their embroidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee.

(g) The governors and rulers of other countries that dwell by the sea: by which he signifies that her destruction would be so horrible that all the world would hear of it and be afraid.

16. In token of mourning the princes of the sea, the rulers of the principalities and cities on all sea, coasts, shall descend from their thrones, lay aside their royal robes and sit on the ground (Lamentations 2:10).

clothe themselves] Or, be clothed, i.e. be enveloped in, be wholly tremblings; cf. Ezekiel 7:27.

Verse 16. - The princes of the sea are not the kings of the isles, but the merchant-princes of the city (Isaiah 23:8). They shall lay aside their robes of state - Tyrian purple embroidered with gold and silver - and shall put on the garments of mourners. Jonah 3:6 presents an interesting parallel. The word thrones is used, as in 1 Samuel 4:13, for any chair of state, as that of priest or judge (Proverbs 9:14; Esther 3:1), as well as for the specifically kingly throne. For the, most part, however, the later meaning is dominant. Ezekiel 26:16The tidings of the destruction of Tyre will produce great commotion in all her colonies and the islands connected with her. - Ezekiel 26:15. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to Tyre, Will not the islands tremble at the noise of thy fall, at the groaning of the wounded, at the slaughter in the midst of thee? Ezekiel 26:16. And all the princes of the sea will come down from their thrones, and will lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered clothes, and dress themselves in terrors, sit upon the earth, and they will tremble every moment, and be astonished at thee. Ezekiel 26:17. They will raise a lamentation for thee, and say to thee: How hast thou perished, thou who wast inhabited from out of the sea, thou renowned city, she who was mighty upon the sea, she and her inhabitants, who inspired all her inhabitants with fear of her! Ezekiel 26:18. Now do the islands tremble on the day of thy fall, and the islands in the sea are confounded at thy departure. - הלא, nonne, has the force of a direct affirmation. קול מפּלה, the noise of the fall, stands for the tidings of the noise, since the noise itself could not be heard upon the islands. The fall takes place, as is added for the purpose of depicting the terrible nature of the event, at or amidst the groaning of the wounded, and the slaughter in the midst of thee. בּהרג is the infinitive Niphal, with the accent drawn back on account of the following Milel, and should be pointed בּהרג . The word איּים, islands, is frequently used so as to embrace the coast lands of the Mediterranean Sea; we have therefore to understand it here as applied to the Phoenician colonies on the islands and coasts of that sea. The "princes of the sea" are not kings of the islands, but, according to Isaiah 23:8, the merchants presiding over the colonies of Tyre, who resembled princes. כּסאות, not royal thrones, but chairs, as in 1 Samuel 4:13, etc. The picture of their mourning recalls the description in Jonah 3:6; it is not derived from that passage, however, but is an independent description of the mourning customs which commonly prevailed among princes. The antithesis introduced as a very striking one: clothing themselves in terrors, putting on terrors in the place of the robes of state which they have laid aside (see the similar trope in Ezekiel 7:27). The thought is rendered still more forcible by the closing sentences of the verse: they tremble לרנעים, by moments, i.e., as the moments return - actually, therefore, "every moment" (vid., Isaiah 27:3). - In the lamentation which they raise (Ezekiel 26:17), they give prominence to the alarming revolution of all things, occasioned by the fact that the mistress of the seas, once so renowned, has now become an object of horror and alarm. נושׁבת מיּמּים, inhabited from the seas. This is not to be taken as equivalent to "as far as the seas," in the sense of, whose inhabitants spread over the seas and settle there, as Gesenius (Thes.) and Hvernick suppose; for being inhabited is the very opposite of sending the inhabitants abroad. If מן were to be taken in the geographical sense of direction or locality, the meaning of the expression could only be, whose inhabitants spring from the seas, or have migrated thither from all seas; but this would not apply to the population of Tyre, which did not consists of men of all nations under heaven. Hitzig has given the correct interpretation, namely, from the sea, or out of the seas, which had as it were ascended as an inhabited city out of the bosom of the sea. It is not easy to explain the last clause of Ezekiel 26:17 : who inspired all her inhabitants with their terror, or with terror of them (of themselves); for if the relative אשׁר is taken in connection with the preceding ישׁביה, the thought arises that the inhabitants of Tyre inspired her inhabitants, i.e., themselves, with their terror, or terror of themselves. Kimchi, Rosenmller, Ewald, Kliefoth, and others, have therefore proposed to take the suffix in the second יושׁביה as referring to היּם ot gnirre, all the inhabitants of the sea, i.e., all her colonies. But this is open to the objection, that not only is ים of the masculine gender, but it is extremely harsh to take the same suffix attached to the two ישׁביה as referring to different subjects. We must therefore take the relative אשׁר and the suffix in חתּיתם as both referring to היא וישׁביה: the city with its population inspired all its several inhabitants with fear or itself. This is not to be understood, however, as signifying that the inhabitants of Tyre kept one another in a state of terror and alarm; but that the city with its population, through its power upon the sea, inspired all the several inhabitants with fear of this its might, inasmuch as the distinction of the city and its population was reflected upon every individual citizen. This explanation of the words is confirmed by the parallel passages in Ezekiel 32:24 and Ezekiel 32:26. - This city had come to so appalling an end, that all the islands trembled thereat. The two hemistichs in Ezekiel 26:18 are synonymous, and the thought returns by way of conclusion to Ezekiel 26:15. איּין has the Aramaean form of the plural, which is sometimes met with even in the earlier poetry (vid., Ewald, 177a). צאת, departure, i.e., destruction.
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