Ezekiel 27:10
They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.
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(10) Of Persia and of Lud and of Phut.—Tyre, like most commercial nations, depended chiefly on mercenaries for the rank and file of its army. Persia, more anciently called Elam, was just now rising into prominence. Its soldiers were probably obtained by the Tyrians from their commerce in the Persian Gulf. Lud is not the one mentioned among the children of Shem (Genesis 10:22), but the Ludim (Lydians) of Hamite family, descended from Mizraim (Genesis 10:13). Phut was also an African tribe (Genesis 10:6). Both are repeatedly mentioned on the Egyptian monuments as furnishing mercenaries to the army.

27:1-25 Those who live at ease are to be lamented, if they are not prepared for trouble. Let none reckon themselves beautified, any further than they are sanctified. The account of the trade of Tyre intimates, that God's eye is upon men when employed in worldly business. Not only when at church, praying and hearing, but when in markets and fairs, buying and selling. In all our dealings we should keep a conscience void of offence. God, as the common Father of mankind, makes one country abound in one commodity, and another in another, serviceable to the necessity or to the comfort and ornament of human life. See what a blessing trade and merchandise are to mankind, when followed in the fear of God. Besides necessaries, an abundance of things are made valuable only by custom; yet God allows us to use them. But when riches increase, men are apt to set their hearts upon them, and forget the Lord, who gives power to get wealth.The prophet here leaves the allegory of the ship to describe the armies of the Tyrians composed of mercenary soldiers.

Ezekiel 27:10

Persia - The name of this people does not occur in the more ancient books of the Old Testament; but in the books of the exile and after the exile it is frequent. This exactly corresponds with the record of history. It was just at the time that Ezekiel wrote that the rude and warlike people of Persia were rising into notice, soon about to seize, under Cyrus, the empire of the Asiatic world.

Lud - See Genesis 10:13. The union here of "Lud with Phut," an undoubtedly African tribe (compare Ezekiel 30:5; Isaiah 66:19) seems to indicate Lud to be of Hamitic race, not the Semitic race. Both names occur repeatedly on Egyptian inscriptions, especially as supplying mercenary soldiers.

Phut - Libyans (see Genesis 10:6).

10. Persia … Phut—warriors from the extreme east and west.

Lud—the Lydians of Asia Minor, near the Meander, famed for archery (Isa 66:19); rather than those of Ethiopia, as the Lydians of Asia Minor form a kind of intermediate step between Persia and Phut (the Libyans about Cyrene, shielded warriors, Jer 46:9, descended from Phut, son of Ham).

hanged … shield … comeliness—Warriors hanged their accoutrements on the walls for ornament. Divested of the metaphor, it means that it was an honor to thee to have so many nations supplying thee with hired soldiers.

They of Persia; Persians, excellent archers.

Of Lud; Lydians; not those Croesus was king over, but those that dwelt in Egypt about the lake Marcotis, or higher towards Ethiopia, if they were not of that country, Ethiopians themselves.

Of Phut; Libyans, a people of Africa; these were the hired soldiers, and ever served in their army under Tyrian commanders.

Men of war; stationary soldiers in time of peace, and who were sent out by sea or land as occasion required in a time of war.

They hanged the shield, in time of peace; or might they not, so often as they came off the guard, bring each man his armour, and hang it up in the public armoury?

The shield, which defended the body, and helmet, which covered the head.

They set forth thy comeliness; these stout, expert, well-armed guards were an honour to the state they served, and their arsenal especially did prove the gallantry of this Tyrian state.

They of Persia, and of Lud, and of Phut, were in thine army, thy men of war,.... As the Tryrians were a trading people, they hired foreign troops into their service, to fill their garrisons, defend their city, and fight for them in time of war; and these were of various nations, and the most famous for military skill and valour; as the Persians, a people well known, and famous for war in the times of Cyrus, and before, and well skilled in shooting arrows; and they of Lud, or the Lydians, a people in Greece, renowned for war before the times of Croesus their king, as well as in his time; and they of Phut, the Lybians, a people in Africa, skilful in drawing the bow, Isaiah 66:19,

they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; in their garrisons and towers, or places of armoury; which were defensive weapons, the one for the body, the other for the head; this they did in times of peace, when there was no occasion to use them, or when they were off their guard, and not on duty; see Sol 4:4,

they set forth thy comeliness; it being an honour to the Tyrians to have such soldiers in their service. The Targum is,

"they increased thy splendour;''

added to their glory.

They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.
10. Her men of war.

Her mercenaries were drawn from all quarters of the world. The people called here “they of Persia” appears along with Cush and Phut, African peoples, in the army of Gog, ch. Ezekiel 38:5, in which, however, northern nations as Gomer and Togarmah are also mustered. The host of Gog includes the nations lying on the outskirts of the known world, and Persia might be named among them, though the first certain mention of that country is in Ezra 4:5; Ezra 9:9, &c. Others have thought here of some African people. Lud is named, ch. Ezekiel 30:5, along with Cush and Phut, as allies of Egypt (Jeremiah 46:9); and in Genesis 10:13 Ludim is the firstborn of Mizraim (Egypt). In Isaiah 66:19 Lud is named after Tarshish, and probably some people lying on the African coast, W. of Egypt, is referred to. Phut (Genesis 10:6) is son of Ham, and brother of Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt) and Canaan (Phœnicia). In Ezekiel 30:5 (Jeremiah 46:9; Nahum 3:9) the people is an ally of Egypt. LXX. renders Lybians. The inhabitants of western Egypt, or those on its western border may be referred to.

they hanged the shield] The great ship is still spoken of. A figure of a ship so adorned and dressed with weapons hung on its sides is given in Layard, Nineveh, ii. p. 388. The practice of hanging weapons on buildings was not unknown in Israel, Song of Solomon 4:4 (1Ma 4:57).

Verse 10. - Persia. The name does not meet us in any Old Testament book before the exile, Elam taking its place. It was just about the time that Ezekiel wrote that the Persians were becoming conspicuous through their alliance with the Modes. So we find it again in Ezekiel 38:5; Daniel 5:28; Daniel 8:20; 2 Chronicles 36:20, 22; Ezra 1:1; Ezra 4:5; Esther 1:3. Here they are named as mercenaries in the Tyrian army. Lud. The LXX. and the Vulgate, led by the similarity of sound, give Lydians. In Genesis 10:13 the Ludim appear as descendants of Mizraim, while Lud in Genesis 10:22 is joined with Elam and Asshur as among the sons of Shem. Its combination with "Phut" (i.e. Libya) here and in Jeremiah 46:9 is in favor of its referring to an African nation (comp. also Ezekiel 30:5; Isaiah 66:19). Phut. Both the LXX. and the Vulgate give Libyans. In Genesis 10:6 the name is joined with Cash and Mizraim. The Lubim (Libyans) are named as forming part of Shishak's army in 2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 16:8, and in Nahum 3:9 and Jeremiah 46:9 as closely allied with the Egyptians. Ezekiel names Phut again as sharing in the fall of Tyre (Ezekiel 30:5), and as serving in the army of Gog (Ezekiel 38:5). Mr. R. S. Peele is inclined to identify them with the Nubians. Ezekiel 27:10The lamentation commences with a picture of the glory of the city of Tyre, its situation, its architectural beauty, its military strength and defences (Ezekiel 27:3-11), and its wide-spread commercial relations (Ezekiel 27:12-25); and then passes into mournful lamentation over the ruin of all this glory (Ezekiel 27:26-36).

Introduction and description of the glory and might of Tyre. - Ezekiel 27:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 27:2. And do thou, O son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, Ezekiel 27:3. And say to Tyre, Thou who dwellest at the approaches of the sea, merchant of the nations to many islands, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Tyre, thou sayest, I am perfect in beauty. Ezekiel 27:4. In the heart of the seas is thy territory; thy builders have made thy beauty perfect. Ezekiel 27:5. Out of cypresses of Senir they built all double-plank-work for thee; they took cedars of Lebanon to make a mast upon thee. Ezekiel 27:6. They made thine oars of oaks of Bashan, thy benches they made of ivory set in box from the islands of the Chittaeans. Ezekiel 27:7. Byssus in embroidery from Egypt was thy sail, to serve thee for a banner; blue and red purple from the islands of Elishah was thine awning. Ezekiel 27:8. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy rowers; thy skilful men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy sailors. Ezekiel 27:9. The elders of Gebal and its skilful men were with thee to repair thy leaks; all the ships of the sea and their mariners were in thee to barter thy goods. Ezekiel 27:10. Persian and Lydian and Libyan were in thine army, thy men of war; shield and helmet they hung up in thee; they gave brilliancy to thee. Ezekiel 27:11. The sons of Arvad and thine army were upon thy walls round about, and brave men were upon they towers; they hung up their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect. - The lamentation commences with an address to Tyre, in which its favourable situation for purposes of trade, and the perfect beauty of which she was conscious, are placed in the foreground (Ezekiel 27:3). Tyre is sitting, or dwelling, at the approaches of the sea. מבואת ים, approaches or entrances of the sea, are harbours into which ships sail and from which they depart, just as מבוא העיר sa t, the gate of the city, it both entrance and exit. This description does not point to the city on the mainland, or Old Tyre, but answers exactly to Insular Tyre with its two harbours.

(Note: Insular Tyre possessed two harbours, a northern one called the Sidonian, because it was on the Sidonian side, and one on the opposite or south-eastern side, which was called the Egyptian harbour from the direction in which it pointed. The Sidonian was the more celebrated of the two, and consisted of an inner harbour, situated within the wall of the city, and an outer one, formed by a row of rocks, which lay at a distance of about three hundred paces to the north-west of the island, and ran parallel to the opposite coast of the mainland, so as to form a roadstead in which ships could anchor (vid., Arrian, ii. 20; Strabo, xvi. 2. 23). This northern harbour is still held by the city of Sur, whereas the Egyptian harbour with the south-eastern portion of the island has been buried by the sand driven against the coasts by the south winds, so that even the writers of the Middle Ages make no allusion to it. (See Movers, Phnizier, II. 1, pp. 214ff.).)

ישׁבתי, with the connecting i, which is apparently confounded here after the Aramaean fashion with the i of the feminine pronoun, and has therefore been marked by the Masora as superfluous (vid., Ewald, 211b). The combination of רכלת with 'אל איּים ר may be accounted for from the primary meaning of רכל, to travel about as a merchant: thou who didst go to the nations on many shores to carry on thy trade. Tyre itself considers that she is perfect in her beauty, partly on account of her strong position in the sea, and partly because of her splendid edifices.

(Note: Curtius, iv. 2: Tyrus et claritate et magnitudine ante omnes urbes Syriae Phoenicesque memorabilis. (Cf. Strabo, xvi. 2.22.))

In the description which follows of this beauty and glory, from Ezekiel 27:4 onwards, Tyre is depicted allegorically as a beautiful ship, splendidly built and equipped throughout, and its destruction is afterwards represented as a shipwreck occasioned by the east wind (Ezekiel 27:26.).

(Note: Jerome recognised this allegory, and has explained it correctly as follows: "He (the prophet) speaks τροπικῶς, as though addressing a ship, and points out its beauty and the abundance of everything. Then, after having depicted all its supplies, he announces that a storm will rise, and the south wind (auster) will blow, by which great waves will be gathered up, and the vessel will be wrecked. In all this he is referring to the overthrow of the city by King Nabuchodonosor," etc. Rashi and others give the same explanation.)

The words, "in the heart of the seas is thy territory" (Ezekiel 27:4), are equally applicable to the city of Tyre and to a ship, the building of which is described in what follows. The comparison of Tyre to a ship was very naturally suggested by the situation of the city in the midst of the sea, completely surrounded by water. As a ship, it must of necessity be built of wood. The shipbuilders selected the finest kinds of wood for the purpose; cypresses of Antilibanus for double planks, which formed the sides of the vessel, and cedar of Lebanon for the mast. Senir, according to Deuteronomy 3:9, was the Amoritish name of Hermon or Antilibanus, whereas the Sidonians called it Sirion. On the other hand, Senir occurs in 1 Chronicles 5:23, and Shenir in Sol 4:8, in connection with Hermon, where they are used to denote separate portions of Antilibanus. Ezekiel evidently uses Senir as a foreign name, which had been retained to his own time, whereas Sirion had possibly become obsolete, as the names had both the same meaning (see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:9). The naming of the places from which the several materials were obtained for the fitting out of the ship, serve to heighten the glory of its construction and give an ideal character to the picture. All lands have contributed their productions to complete the glory and might of Tyre. Cypress-wood was frequently used by the ancients for buildings and (according to Virgil, Georg. ii. 443) also for ships, because it was exempt from the attacks of worms, and was almost imperishable, and yet very light (Theophr. Hist. plant. v. 8; Plinii Hist. nat. xvi. 79). לחתים, a dual form, like חמתים in 2 Kings 25:4; Isaiah 22:11, double-planks, used for the two side-walls of the ship. For oars they chose oaks of Bashan (משּׁוט as well as משׁוט in Ezekiel 27:29 from שׁוּט, to row), and the rowing benches (or deck) were of ivory inlaid in box. קרשׁ is used in Exodus 26:15. for the boards or planks of the wooden walls of the tabernacle; here it is employed in a collective sense, either for the rowing benches, of which there were at least two, and sometimes three rows in a vessel, one above another, or more properly, for the deck of the vessel (Hitzig). This was made of she4n, or ivory, inlaid in wood. The ivory is mentioned first as the most valuable material of the קרשׁ, the object being to picture the ship as possessing all possible splendour. The expression בּתּ־אשּׁרים, occasions some difficulty, partly on account of the use of the word בּת, and partly in connection with the meaning of אשּׁרים , although so much may be inferred from the context, that the allusion is to some kind of wood inlaid with ivory, and the custom of inlaying wood with ivory for the purpose of decoration is attested by Virgil, Aen. x. 137:

"Vel quale per artem

Inclusum buxo, aut Oricia terebintho

Lucet ebur."

But the use of בּת does not harmonize with the relation of the wood to the ivory inserted in wood; nor can it be defended by the fact that in Lamentations 3:3 an arrow is designated "the son of the quiver." According to this analogy, the ivory ought to have been called the son of the Ashurim, because the ivory is inserted in the wood, and not the wood in the ivory.

(Note: The Targum has paraphrased it in this way: דפּין דאשׁכרעין מכבשׁין בשׁן דפיל, i.e., planks of box or pine inlaid with ivory.)


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