Ezekiel 27:24
These were your merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among your merchandise.
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(24) All sorts of things.—The margin, excellent things, is better. The word means “that which is perfect.” In Ezekiel 23:12 it is “most gorgeously,” and in Ezekiel 38:4, as here, “all sorts.” In all “excellent” or “excellently” is the true sense. “Clothes”—literally, foldings—refers to the purple embroidered cloaks for which Babylonia was famous.

Chests of rich apparel.—Rather, treasures of twisted yarn; and for “made of cedar” read strong. An extensive trade in yarns was kept up from Babylonia to Tyre, where they were dyed and woven, or sold for weaving.

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.All sorts of things - See the margin, "made of cedar" Rather, made fast. 24. all sorts of things—Hebrew, "perfections"; exquisite articles of finery [Grotius].

clothes—rather, "mantles" or "cloaks"; literally, "wrappings." For "blue," Henderson translates, "purple."

chests of rich apparel, bound with cords—treasures or repositories of damask stuffs, consisting of variegated threads woven together in figures [Henderson].

cedar—The "chests" were made of cedar, in order to last the longer; and it also keeps off decay and has a sweet odor.

These, either last named, or all that have been mentioned, though I conjecture the first is the true meaning, those rich, stately, and sumptuous nations traded with Tyre.

All sorts of things, of rich, precious things.

Blue clothes, which those nations delighted in, especially the Chaldeans and Assyrians, Ezekiel 23:6.

Broidered work; bought of Egyptians, sold to Assyrians, &c.

Chests of cedar, curious yet strong, made on purpose to carry sumptuous apparel, bought up at Tyre, and in those chests conveyed to all parts of the Assyrian empire, and to the northern nations.

Bound with cords; it may refer to the chests mentioned, or to other sort of rich wares neatly made up, and bound for security with cords.

Among thy merchandise: by this it should seem these chests were not like our ordinary boxes, but as choice cabinets, and good merchandise. These were thy merchants in all sorts of things,.... Either all before mentioned throughout the chapter, or rather those only in the preceding verse; also these were merchants in various things after mentioned, and which were the best and most perfect of the kind, as the word (d) used signifies:

in blue cloths, and broidered work; these the Assyrians took of them, a colour in which they much delighted; see Ezekiel 23:6,

and in chests of rich apparel bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise; rich apparel, such as scarlet cloaks, as the Targum, and blue cloths as before; these were well packed up in chests made of "cedar", which they had from Lebanon, and so fit to be put on board a ship, and carried into any part of the world. The Targum adds,

"and sealed with a signet;''

as things well packed up and bound sometimes are, being of worth and value. Some render it, "in chains"; or, "chains were among thy merchandise" (e); such as chains of gold, wore about the neck; and take the word to be of the sam meaning with that in Sol 1:10.

(d) "rebus perfectissimis", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Cocceius, Starckius. (e) "et torquibus in negotiatione tua", Pagninus; "et torques fuerunt in nundinis tuis", Vatablus. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 71. 2.

These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.
24. The first half of the verse may read: These were thy merchants with splendid apparel, cloaks of purple and broidered work. The second half is obscure owing to the occurrence of some words not found elsewhere.

in chests of rich apparel] The term rendered “chests” occurs Esther 3:9; Esther 4:7 in the sense of “treasures,” from root to hide, lay up, a sense common to all the dialects. In Eth. it means to wind in grave-clothes for purposes of burial, but has no special reference to clothing or textile fabrics. The sense “chests” is without evidence. A term virtually the same as that rendered “rich apparel” occurs in Assyrian of stuffs for clothing (Schr. KAT. pp. 213–16); and a similar word is used of the night heavens, according to Jensen (Babylonian Cosmog. p. 6 seq.) from the mixed colour, blue-gray. It appears used of fabrics woven of differently coloured materials.

bound with cords] This would refer to the “chests,” but this is not probable. More likely: with cords twined and durable, the “cords” themselves being the article of commerce. “Cords” can hardly be thread. The rendering “made of cedar” is altogether unlikely, some sense like strong, firm or durable is more probable. The cords were probably of wool as well as of flax, of divers colours, and used for fastening hangings or other purposes, Esther 1:6. The Babylonian weaving was very celebrated, cf. Ezekiel 16:10, Ezekiel 23:6, also the “Babylonish garment,” Joshua 7:21.Verse 24. - In all sorts of things; better, with the Revised Version, in choice wares. Hebrew, articles of beauty; or, as in margin of the Authorized Version, "excellent things." The words have been variously interpreted,

(1) by Ewald, as "suits of armor;"

(2) by Keil, as "stately dresses;"

by Havernick, as "works of art" generally. The description in detail that follows is so vivid as to give the impression that Ezekiel had seen the merchants of Sheba unloading their camels and bringing out their treasures as they arrived at Tyro. The blue clothes (wrappings of blue, as in the Revised Version) were the purple robes of Babylon, which were famous all over the world. The words that follow are somewhat obscure, but are probably rightly translated by Keil, "embroidered of twisted yarn, in-wound, and strong cords for thy wares." The yarn may have been used for the cordage of the Tyrian ships. The words, made of cedar, are in this rendering taken as an adjective, equivalent to "firm" or "strong" (so Furst). The 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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