Ezekiel 27:11
The men of Arvad with thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect.
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(11) The Gammadims were in thy towers.—No people of this name is known, and it is extremely unlikely that the responsible posts upon the watch-towers would have been entrusted to foreigners. The word occurs only here, and is probably not a proper name, but should be translated brave men.

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.Gammadims - Rendered by Septuagint "watchmen;" by others, "brave warriors;" but more probably the name of some nation of which we have no record. The custom of hanging shields upon the walls of a town by way of ornament seems to have been of purely Phoenician origin, and thence introduced by Solomon into Jerusalem 1 Kings 10:16. 11. Gammadims—rather, as the Tyrians were Syro-Phœnicians, from a Syriac root, meaning daring, "men of daring" [Ludovicus De Dieu]. It is not likely the keeping of watch "in the towers" would have been entrusted to foreigners. Others take it from a Hebrew root, "a dagger," or short sword (Jud 3:16), "short-swordsmen." Arvad: see Ezekiel 27:8.

With thine army; mixed with other hired soldiers, made up these military forces.

Upon thy walls round about; kept guard upon the walls.

The Gammadims; some say pigmies or dwarfs, because the Hebrew word is a cubit; but the whole story of such cubit-men is fabulous. Others think it is men bold and courageous, and the word of Syriac origin and sense, and so fitly expressing the temper of Syrian or Syrophoenician soldiers. Or else, the men who name from Gammade, a town of Phoenicia. Or possibly, such as came from Aneon, another town of Phoenice; and this town had its name from its situation on a piece of land that resembles the cubit, Greek, Agkwv, and in the Hebrew, down

In thy towers; which were many, erected for strength and defence.

Hanged their shields upon thy walls: by this it appears these towers were also public armories, whence they fetched arms when needful, and where they laid them up when no further use of them.

Made thy beauty perfect; added much to her beauty, a well-armed state being among states as beautiful as a proper well-armed soldier among men.

The men of Arvad, with thine army were upon thy walls round about,.... Placed there for the defence of the city, to watch against an enemy, lest it should be surprised; here they were upon the patrol day and night; see Isaiah 62:6, these were the men of the same place before mentioned, Ezekiel 27:8 which furnished Tyre both with mariners and soldiers:

and the Gammadims were in thy towers: not the Medes, as Symmachus renders it; nor the Cappadocians, as the Targum; much less were they images of their tutelar gods, as Spencer thinks, of a cubit long; nor "pygmies", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; which to mention would not be to the honour of their militia; though Kimchi and Ben Melech call them dwarfs, men of a small stature, of a cubit high, from whence they are supposed to have their name; so Schindler (q): rather they were the inhabitants of some place in Phoenicia; either of Ancon; which in Greek signifies a cubit, as Gamad does in Hebrew; or of Gammade, the same which Pliny (r) corruptly calls Gamale. Hillerus (s) thinks the word signifies "ambidexters", or left handed men, such as Ehud:

they hanged their shields upon thy walls roundabout. Kimchi and Ben Melech observe it was a custom in some places to hang such weapons upon the tops of towers, and upon the walls of them; which might be done, either that they might be ready to take up and make use of, whenever occasion required; or to dismay their enemies, and to show them that they were provided for them:

they have made thy beauty perfect; besides the beauty of her buildings and shipping, there was the beauty of her militia; which was increased by the soldiers from Persia, Lydia, and Lybia, and added to by the men of Arvad, but completed by the Gammadim; and particularly being glided, as probably they were, looked very glittering and beautiful in the rays of the sun.

(q) Lexic. Pentaglott. col. 319, 320. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 91. (s) Onomast. Sacr. p. 159.

The men of Arvad with thy army were upon thy walls on all sides, and the {e} Gammadims were in thy towers: they hung their shields upon thy walls on every side; they have made thy beauty perfect.

(e) That is they of Cappadocia, or pygmies and dwarfs which were called because from the high towers they seemed little.

11. with thine army] It is scarcely possible to render: men of Arvad, they were thine army. Some proper name seems required: the men of Arvad and of … Cornill conjectures Hethlon (Ezekiel 47:15, Ezekiel 48:1), others, Cilicia.

the Gammadims] A proper name is certainly to be expected, but no place, Gammad, is known. Some have suggested “they of Gomer,” but an adj. is not formed from Gomer; Corn., Zemarites, Genesis 10:18. Others take the word as an appellative: brave warriors.

Verse 11. - (For Arvad, see Ver. 8.) Gammadim. The LXX. translates "guards" (φύλακες); the Vulgate, Pygmies, probably as connecting the name with Gamad (equivalent to "a cubit"). The Targum gives "watchmen;" Gesenius, "warriors:" Hitzig, "deserters." The name probably indicates that they were the flower of the Tyrian army - the life-guards (like the "Immortals" of the Persians) of the merchant-city. On the whole, we must leave the problem as one that we have no data for solving. The grouping with Arvad, however, suggests a Syrian or Phoenician tribe. They hanged their shields. The custom seems to have been specially Phoenician. Solomon introduced it at Jerusalem (Song of Solomon 4:4). The sight of the walls thus decorated, the shields being sometimes gilt or painted, must have been sufficiently striking to warrant Ezekiel's phrase that thus the beauty of the city was "made perfect" by it. The custom reappears in 1 Macc. 4:57. Ezekiel 27:11The 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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