Ezekiel 26:2
Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:
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(2) She is broken that was the gates of the people.—“Gates” is in the plural simply because the word originally means a leaf of a door or gate, and hence the two leaves mean the gate; accordingly the sense would be better conveyed by using the singular in English. On the other hand, “people, both here and in Ezekiel 27:3, is intentionally in the plural =the nations. By omitting all the words in italics in this verse a better idea is obtained of the exultation of Tyre over the fall of Jerusalem.

This exultation is described as of a purely selfish and commercial character, and shows nothing of the spitefulness and religious animosity of the nations mentioned in the previous chapter. Jerusalem had been made in the days of Solomon the great commercial emporium of the inland trade from Arabia, and even from India, as well as the negotiator of products between Egypt and the Hittites and other northern nations. Doubtless something of this commercial importance still remained to Jerusalem in her decay, of which we have already seen evidence in Ezekiel 16; but however this may have been, a considerable city, situated as Jerusalem was, must of necessity have been the centre of many of those transactions between the surrounding nations which Tyre would gladly have monopolised for herself. Hence her exultation: “Jerusalem being destroyed, all that gave her importance among the nations must come to increase my prosperity.”

Ezekiel 26:2-3. Because that Tyrus hath said, Aha, she is broken, &c. — The meaning seems to be, the city is broken, at whose gates the people entered in; that is, the place is demolished where there used to be a confluence of people from all parts, especially at the solemn festivals. She is turned unto me, I shall be replenished — Tyre rejoiced at the fall of Jerusalem, because she expected her trade would be increased by it in becoming the mart for the commodities which, while Jerusalem stood, were bought and sold there. To which may be added, that when Jerusalem was taken, the spoil of the city was carried thither for sale, and several of the inhabitants who were made captives, were there sold as slaves. Therefore, behold, I am, against thee, O Tyrus — The providence of God had greatly favoured Tyre: it was a pleasant and wealthy city, and might have continued so if its inhabitants had sympathized with Jerusalem in her calamities; but when, instead of that, they took pleasure in those calamities, and rejoiced at the fall of that neighbouring city, because of the gain which they thought would thereby accrue to them, they provoked the wrath of God against themselves, for he cannot but abhor the conduct of all such as take pleasure in the calamities of others. I will cause many nations to come up against thee, &c. — The Chaldeans with their confederates might be very properly called many nations, as, without doubt, the army of Nebuchadnezzar, whose dominions were very extensive, was made up of the people of various nations. As the sea causeth his waves to come up — “They shall be as loud, as numerous, as irresistible, as the waves of the sea. This is one of the beautiful and expressive images which occur in the magnificent prophecy here recorded.” — Bishop Newcome. Great and victorious armies are described in other places of Scripture under the figure of an inundation carrying all before it.

26:1-14 To be secretly pleased with the death or decay of others, when we are likely to get by it; or with their fall, when we may thrive upon it, is a sin that easily besets us, yet is not thought so bad as really it is. But it comes from a selfish, covetous principle, and from that love of the world as our happiness, which the love of God expressly forbids. He often blasts the projects of those who would raise themselves on the ruin of others. The maxims most current in the trading world, are directly opposed to the law of God. But he will show himself against the money-loving, selfish traders, whose hearts, like those of Tyre, are hardened by the love of riches. Men have little cause to glory in things which stir up the envy and rapacity of others, and which are continually shifting from one to another; and in getting, keeping, and spending which, men provoke that God whose wrath turns joyous cities into ruinous heaps.Gates - i. e., one gate of two leaves.

The people - Or, the peoples (and in Ezekiel 27:3), the plural expressing the fact that many peoples passed through Jerusalem, as the central place on the highway of commerce, e. g., in the reign of Solomon. This was viewed with jealousy by Tyre, who owed her greatness to the same cause, and in the true spirit of mercantile competition exulted in the thought that the trade of Jerusalem would be diverted into her markets. Render it: Aha! She is broken - the gate of the peoples! She is turned unto me. I shall be filled. She is laid waste.

2. Tyre—(Jos 19:29; 2Sa 24:7), literally, meaning "the rock-city," Zor; a name applying to the island Tyre, called New Tyre, rather than Old Tyre on the mainland. They were half a mile apart. "New Tyre," a century and a half before the fall of Jerusalem, had successfully resisted Shalmaneser of Assyria, for five years besieging it (Menander, from the Tyrian archives, quoted by Josephus, Antiquities, 9.14. 2). It was the stronger and more important of the two cities, and is the one chiefly, though not exclusively, here meant. Tyre was originally a colony of Zidon. Nebuchadnezzar's siege of it lasted thirteen years (Eze 29:18; Isa 23:1-18). Though no profane author mentions his having succeeded in the siege, Jerome states he read the fact in Assyrian histories.

Aha!—exultation over a fallen rival (Ps 35:21, 25).

she … that was the gates—that is, the single gate composed of two folding doors. Hence the verb is singular. "Gates" were the place of resort for traffic and public business: so here it expresses a mart of commerce frequented by merchants. Tyre regards Jerusalem not as an open enemy, for her territory being the narrow, long strip of land north of Philistia, between Mount Lebanon and the sea, her interest was to cultivate friendly relations with the Jews, on whom she was dependent for corn (Eze 27:17; 1Ki 5:9; Ac 12:20). But Jerusalem had intercepted some of the inland traffic which she wished to monopolize to herself; so, in her intensely selfish worldly-mindedness, she exulted heartlessly over the fall of Jerusalem as her own gain. Hence she incurred the wrath of God as pre-eminently the world's representative in its ambition, selfishness, and pride, in defiance of the will of God (Isa 23:9).

she is turned unto me—that is, the mart of corn, wine, oil, balsam, &c., which she once was, is transferred to me. The caravans from Palmyra, Petra, and the East will no longer be intercepted by the market ("the gates") of Jerusalem, but will come to me.

Tyrus; the city for the people; it is probable it was a universal joy, therefore ascribed to the whole city, built on a rock and island of the same name, not far distant from the continent, a very great traded port and city.

Hath said; either God revealed this to the prophet so soon as these insulting Tyrians spoke it, or else Ezekiel speaks of it prophetically, and as if it were done.

Said against Jerusalem, Aha; showed great joy at the fall of Jerusalem, and triumphed over her.

She is broken by Nebuchadnezzar’s army.

The gates of the people; near to the gates of the cities were usually, the great merchants, and so here Jerusalem is called the great mart of nations and people from all parts resorting to her for trade or religion.

She is turned unto me; trading interest will turn to me, they that did carry merchandise to Jerusalem will now bring it to me.

I shall be replenished; have full trade, my haven full of ships, streets full of buyers and sellers, ships full of wares, houses full of lodgers, and purses full of money.

She is laid waste; she reflected on wasted Jerusalem with joy, which was impious, injurious, and inhuman, to rejoice in the ruin of her neighbour.

Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, aha,.... As rejoicing at her destruction, and insulting over her in it; which was barbarous and inhuman, and resented by the Lord:

she is broken that was the gates of the people; through whose gates the people went in and out in great numbers; a city to which there was very popular, not only for religion, from all parts, at their solemn feasts, but for merchandise from several parts of the world; and was now full of people before its destruction, the inhabitants of Judea having fled thither for safety, upon the invasion made by the king of Babylon; but now the city was broken up, as it is said it was, by the Chaldean army, Jeremiah 52:7, its gates and walls were broken down, and lay in a ruinous condition. The Targum is,

"she is broken down that afforded merchandise to all people.''

She is turned unto me; either the inhabitants of Jerusalem, which escaped and fled to Tyre for refuge; or the spoil taken out of it, which was carried there to be sold; and even the captives themselves to be sold for slaves, which was one part of the merchandise of Tyre; see Ezekiel 27:3, or the business, trade, and merchandise carried on in Jerusalem, were brought to Tyre upon its destruction; so Jarchi and Kimchi. The Targum is,

"she is turned to come unto me;''

which favours the first sense; all may be intended.

I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste; or, "I shall be filled" (b); with inhabitants, riches, and wealth, with merchants and merchandise, Jerusalem her rival being destroyed; this was what gave her joy; and is a common thing for persons to rejoice at the fall or death of those of the same trade with them; hoping for an increase of theirs by means of it, which yet is sinful.

(b) "implebor", Cocceius, Starckius.

Son of man, because that Tyre hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the {b} gates of the people: she is turned to me: I shall be {c} replenished, now she is laid waste:

(b) That is, the famous city Jerusalem to which all people resorted.

(c) My riches and fame will increase: thus the wicked rejoice at their fall by whom they may have any profit or advantage.

2. The sin of Tyre: her rejoicing over the calamity of Judah, in the hopes that it will further her interests.

Aha, she is broken] Rather: aha! the gate (door) of the peoples is broken, it is turned unto me. (“Door” is plur. having leaves, or by attraction of peoples.) The idea appears to be that Jerusalem or Judah was a door barring the entrance to Tyre, which being broken and turned or opened towards Tyre the nations would stream with their commerce towards her. The kingdom of Judah lay across the great commercial routes from the south, and no doubt intercepted much of the merchandise that otherwise would have reached Tyre, and probably exacted custom on that which was allowed to pass. The natural sense of “door of the nations” would be door into the nations (Nahum 3:13; Zechariah 11:1), and the idea would be that the door was now opened for Tyre to enter. The sense remains the same: that which stood between Tyre and the nations is removed.

2. Prophecy is always ideal in its delineations. Its threats and promises are alike hyperbolical whether they concern Israel or the nations. And in regard to fulfilment the same general principles must be applied to all prophecies, those of redemption and those of calamity alike. The former are not fulfilled at once, nor at all literally, neither need we expect immediate or literal fulfilment of the latter. At the same time in regard to both it must be maintained that the prophets imagined the fulfilment as they describe it. This, however, is part of their idealism; the moral element is always the main thing in their prophecies. What they predict is the exhibition of Jehovah’s moral rule of the world; the form in which they clothe this exhibition may not be quite that given in history.

Verse 2. - Because that Tyrus, etc. As the nearest great commercial city, the Venice of the ancient world, Tyre, from the days of David (2 Samuel 5:11) and Solomon (1 Kings 5:1) onward, had been prominent in the eyes of the statesmen and prophets of Judah; and Ezekiel follows in the footsteps of Joel 3:4; Amos 1:9, 10; Isaiah 23, in dealing with it. The description in Vers. 5 and 14 points, not to the city on the mainland, the old Tyre of Joshua 19:29, which had been taken by Shalmaneser and was afterwards destroyed by Alexander the Great, but to the island-city, the new Tyre, which was, at this time, the emporium of the ancient world. The extent of her commerce will meet us in Ezekiel 27. Here, too, as in the case of the nations in Ezekiel 25, Ezekiel's indignation is roused by the exulting selfishness with which Tyre had looked on the downfall (actual or imminent, as before) of Jerusalem. "Now," her rulers seem to have said, "we shall be the only power in the land of Canaan." Jerusalem, that had been the gate of the peoples, was now broken. The name thus given may imply either

(1) that Jerusalem was regarded as to a considerable extent a commercial city, carrying on much intercourse with the nations with which she was in alliance, (Ezekiel 23:40, 41; 1 Kings 9:26-28; 1 Kings 22:48; Isaiah 2:7; Herod., 3:5, of Cadytis, i.e. probably Jerusalem); or

(2) that its temple had, under Hezekiah and Josiah, drawn many proselytes from the neighboring nations, as in Psalm 87:4-6, and was looking forward to a yet fuller confluence of men of all races, as in the prophecies of Micah 4:1, 2 and Isaiah 2:2, 3 - expectations which may well have become known to a city like Tyro, in frequent intercourse with Judah. "Now," the Tyrians might say, "that hope is shattered." I shall be replenished. The interpolated "now" indicates what is, of course, implied, that Tyre expects her prosperity to increase in proportion to the decline and fall of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 26:2Tyre shall be broken and utterly destroyed

Ezekiel 26:2. Son of man, because Tyre saith concerning Jerusalem, "Aha, the door of the nations is broken; it turneth to me; I shall become full; she is laid waste;" Ezekiel 26:3. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will come upon thee, O Tyre, and will bring up against thee many nations, as the sea bringing up its waves. Ezekiel 26:4. They will destroy the walls of Tyre, and throw down her towers; and I will sweep away her dust from her, and make her a bare rock. Ezekiel 26:5. She shall become a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah; and she shall become booty for the nations. Ezekiel 26:6. And her daughters which are in the land shall be slain with the sword; and they shall learn that I am Jehovah. - Tyre, as in the prophecy of Isaiah (Ezekiel 23), is not the city of that name upon the mainland, ἡ πάλαι Τύρος or Παλαίτυρος, Old Tyre, which was taken by Shalmaneser and destroyed by Alexander (as Perizon., Marsh, Vitringa, J. D. Michaelis, and Eichhorn supposed), but Insular Tyre, which was three-quarters of a mile farther north, and only 1200 paces from the land, being built upon a small island, and separated from the mainland by a strait of no great depth (vid., Movers, Phoenizier, II p. f.). This Insular Tyre had successfully resisted the Assyrians (Josephus, Antt. ix. 14. 2), and was at that time the market of the nations; and in Ezekiel's day it had reached the summit of its greatness as mistress of the sea and the centre of the commerce of the world. That it is against this Tyre that our prophecy is chiefly directed, is evident from Ezekiel 26:5 and Ezekiel 26:14, according to which Tyre is to become a bare rock in the midst of the sea, and from the allusion to the daughter cities, בּשּׂדה, in the field, i.e., on the mainland (in Ezekiel 26:6), as contrasted with the position occupied by Tyre upon a rocky island in the sea; and, lastly, from the description given in Ezekiel 27 of the maritime trade of Tyre with all nations, to which Old Tyre never attained, inasmuch as it possessed no harbour (vid., Movers, l.c. p. 176). This may easily be reconciled with such passages as Ezekiel 26:6, Ezekiel 26:8, and Ezekiel 27, 28, in which reference is also made to the continental Tyre, and the conquest of Tyre is depicted as the conquest of a land-city (see the exposition of these verses). - The threat against Tyre commences, as in the case of the nations threatened in Ezekiel 25, with a brief description of its sin. Tyre gave expression to its joy at the fall of Jerusalem, because it hoped to derive profit therefrom through the extension of its commerce and increase of its wealth. Different explanations have been given of the meaning of the words put into the mouth of Tyre. "The door of the nations is broken in pieces." The plural דּלתות indicates the folding doors which formed the gate, and are mentioned in its stead. Jerusalem is the door of the nations, and is so called according to the current opinion of expositors, because it was the centre of the commerce of the nations, i.e., as a place of trade. But nothing is known to warrant the idea that Jerusalem was ever able to enter into rivalry with Tyre as a commercial city. The importance of Jerusalem with regard to other nations was to be found, not in its commerce, nor in the favourable situation which it occupied for trade, in support of which Hvernick refers to Herodotus, iii. 5, and Hitzig to Ezekiel 23:40-41, but in its sanctuary, or the sacred calling which it had received for the whole world of nations. Kliefoth has therefore decided in favour of the following view: That Jerusalem is called a gate of the nations, not because it had hitherto been open to the nations for free and manifold intercourse, but for the very opposite reason, namely, because the gate of Jerusalem had hitherto been closed and barred against the nations, but was now broken in pieces through the destruction of the city, and thereby opened to the nations. Consequently the nations, and notably Tyre, would be able to enter now; and from this fact the Tyrians hoped to derive advantage, so far as their commercial interests were concerned. But this view is not in harmony with the text. Although a gate is opened by being broken in pieces, and one may force an entrance into a house by breaking the door (Genesis 19:9), yet the expression "door of the nations" cannot signify a door which bars all entrance on the part of the nations, inasmuch as doors and gates are not made to secure houses and cities against the forcible entrance of men and nations, but to render it possible for them to go out and in. Moreover, the supposition that "door of the nations" is equivalent to shutting against the nations, is not in harmony with the words נסבּא אלי which follow. The expression "it has turned to me," or it is turned to me, has no meaning unless it signifies that through the breaking of the door the stream of the nations would turn away from Jerusalem to Tyre, and therefore that hitherto the nations had turned to Jerusalem. נסבּה is the 3rd pers. perf. Niphal of סבב, for נסבּה , formed after the analogy of נמס, etc. The missing subject to נסבּה is to be found ad sensum in דּלתות העמּים. It is not the door itself, but the entrance and streaming in of the nations, which had previously been directed towards Jerusalem, and would now turn to Tyre. There is no necessity, therefore, for Hitzig's conjecture, that אמּלאה should be altered into מלאהּ, and the latter taken as the subject.

Consequently we must understand the words of the Tyrians as signifying that they had regarded the drawing of the nations to Jerusalem, i.e., the force of attraction which Jerusalem had hitherto exerted upon the nations, as the seat of the divine revelation of mercy, or of the law and judgment of the Lord, as interfering with their endeavour to draw all nations to themselves and gain them over to their purposes, and that they rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem, because they hoped that henceforth they would be able to attract the nations to themselves and enrich themselves with their possessions. This does not require that we should accredit the Tyrians with any such insight into the spiritual calling of Jerusalem as would lie beyond their heathen point of view. The simple circumstance, that the position occupied by Jerusalem in relation to the world apparently interfered with the mercantile interests of the Tyrians, would be quite sufficient to excite a malignant pleasure at the fall of the city of God, as the worship of God and the worship of Mammon are irreconcilably opposed. The source from which the envy and the enmity manifesting itself in this malicious pleasure took their rise, is indicated in the last words: "I shall fill myself, she (Jerusalem) is laid waste," which Jerome has correctly linked together thus: quia illa deserta est, idcirco ego implebor. המּלא, to be filled with merchandise and wealth, as in Ezekiel 27:25. On account of this disposition toward the kingdom of God, which led Tyre to expect an increase of power and wealth from its destruction, the Lord God would smite it with ruin and annihilation. הנני עליך, behold, I will come upon thee, as in Ezekiel 13:8; Jeremiah 50:31; Nahum 3:5. God will lead a powerful army against Tyre, which shall destroy its walls and towers. Instead of the army, "many nations" are mentioned, because Tyre is hoping to attract more nations to itself in consequence of the destruction of Jerusalem. This hope is to be fulfilled, though in a different sense from that which Tyre intended. The comparison of the advancing army to the advancing waves of the sea is very significant when the situation of Tyre is considered. היּם is the subject to כּהעלות, and the Hiphil is construed with ל instead of the accusative (compare Ewald, 292c with 277e). According to Arrian, ii. 18. 3, and Curtius, iv. 2. 9, 12, and 3. 13, Insular Tyre was fortified all round with lofty walls and towers, which were certainly in existence as early as Nebuchadnezzar's time. Even the dust of the demolished buildings (עפרהּ) God would sweep away (סחיתי, ἁπ. λεγ., with a play upon שׁחתוּ), so that the city, i.e., the site on which it had stood, would become a bare and barren rock (צחיח סלע, as in Ezekiel 24:7), a place where fishermen would spread out their nets to dry. "Her daughters" also, that is to say, the towns dependent upon Tyre, "on the field," i.e., the open country - in other words, their inhabitants - would be slain with the sword.

In Ezekiel 26:7-14 the threat is carried still further. - Ezekiel 26:7. For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I will bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, from the north, the king of kings, with horses, and chariots, and horsemen, and a multitude of much people. Ezekiel 26:8. Thy daughters in the field he will slay with the sword, and he will erect siege-towers against thee, and throw up a rampart against thee, and set up shields against thee, Ezekiel 26:9. And direct his battering-rams against thy walls, and throw down thy towers with his swords. Ezekiel 26:10. From the multitude of his horses their dust will cover thee; from the noise of the horsemen, wheels, and chariots, thy walls will shake when he shall enter into thy gates, as they enter a city broken open. Ezekiel 26:11. With the hoofs of his horses he will tread down all thy streets; thy people he will slay with the sword, and thy glorious pillars will fall to the ground. Ezekiel 26:12. They will make booty of thy possessions, and plunder thy merchandise, destroy thy walls, and throw down thy splendid mansions, and sink thy stones, thy wood, and thy dust in the water. Ezekiel 26:13. I will put an end to the sound of thy songs, and the music of thy harps shall be heard no more. Ezekiel 26:14. I will make thee a bare rock; thou shalt be a place for the spreading of nets, and be built no more; for I Jehovah have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon, - this is the meaning of the rhetorical description in these verses, - will come with a powerful army (Ezekiel 26:7), smite with the sword the inland cities dependent upon Tyre. (Ezekiel 26:8, compare Ezekiel 26:6), then commence the siege of Tyre, destroy its walls and towers (Ezekiel 26:8 and Ezekiel 26:9), enter with his army the city in which breaches have been made, put the inhabitants to death (Ezekiel 26:10 and Ezekiel 26:11), plunder the treasures, destroy walls and buildings, and cast the ruins into the sea (Ezekiel 26:12). Nebuchadrezzar, or Nebuchadnezzar (for the name see the comm. on 2 Kings 24:10, is called king of kings, as the supreme ruler of the Babylonian empire, because the kings of conquered provinces and lands were subject to him as vassals (see the comm. on Isaiah 10:8).

His army consists of war-chariots, and cavalry, and a great multitude of infantry. קהל are co-ordinate, so far as the rhetorical style is concerned; but in reality עם־רב is subordinate to קהל , as in Ezekiel 23:24, inasmuch as the קהל consisted of עם־רב. On the siege-works mentioned in Ezekiel 26:8, see the comm. on Ezekiel 4:2. הקים צנּה signifies the construction of a roof with shields, by which the besiegers were accustomed to defend themselves from the missiles of the defenders of the city wall while pursing their labours. Herodotus repeatedly mentions such shield-roofs as used by the Persians (ix. 61. 99, 102), though, according to Layard, they are not to be found upon the Assyrian monuments (see the comm. on Nahum 2:6). There is no doubt that מחי קב signifies the battering-ram, called כּר in Ezekiel 21:27, though the meaning of the words is disputed. מחי , literally, thrusting or smiting. קבלו, from קבל, to be pointed either קבלּו or קבלּו (the form קבלּו adopted by v. d. Hooght and J. H. Michaelis is opposed to the grammatical rules), has been explained by Gesenius and others as signifying res opposita, that which is opposite; hence מחי קבלו, the thrusting or demolishing of that which stands opposite. In the opinion of others, קבל is an instrument employed in besieging; but there is nothing in the usage of the language to sustain either this explanation or that adopted by Hvernick, "destruction of his defence." הרבותיו, his swords, used figuratively for his weapons or instruments of war, "his irons," as Ewald has very aptly rendered it. The description in Ezekiel 26:10 is hyperbolical. The number of horses is so great, that on their entering the city they cover it with dust, and the walls shake with the noise of the horsemen and chariots. 'כּמבואי עיר מב, literally, as the marchings into a broken city, i.e., a city taken by storm, generally are. The simile may be explained from the peculiar situation of Insular Tyre. It means that the enemy will enter it as they march into a land-fortress into which a breach has been made by force. The words presuppose that the besieger has made a road to the city by throwing up an embankment or dam. מצּבות עזּך, the memorial pillars of thy might, and the pillars dedicated to Baal, two of which are mentioned by Herodotus (ii. 44) as standing in the temple of Hercules at Tyre, one of gold, the other of emerald; not images of gods, but pillars, as symbols of Baal. These sink or fall to the ground before the overwhelming might of the foe (compare Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 21:9, and 1 Samuel 5:3). After the slaughter of the inhabitants and the fall of the gods, the plundering of the treasures begins, and then follows the destruction of the city. בּתּי המדּה are not pleasure-houses ("pleasure-towers, or garden-houses of the wealthy merchants," as Ewald supposes), for there was not space enough upon the island for gardens (Strabo, xvi. 2. 23), but the lofty, magnificent houses of the city, the palaces mentioned in Isaiah 23:13. Yea, the whole city shall be destroyed, and that so completely that they will sweep stones, wood, and rubbish into the sea. - Thus will the Lord put an end to the exultation and rejoicing in Tyre (Ezekiel 26:13; compare Isaiah 14:11 and Amos 5:23). - The picture of the destruction of this powerful city closes with the repetition of the thought from Ezekiel 26:5, that Tyre shall be turned into a bare rock, and shall never be built again.

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