Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which you spread forth to be your sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Fine linen with broidered work.—To a modern sailor “fine linen “may seem both an extravagant and an insufficient material for a ship’s sails, but the State ships of antiquity were often fitted out in this way, and the sails embroidered in colours in place of a pennon. The clause literally is, Linen with embroidery from Egypt was for thy spreading out (sail), to be to thee for a sign.
Isles of Elishah.—In Genesis 10:4, 1Chronicles 1:7, Elishah is mentioned among the sons of Javan, or Ionia. The regions here referred to are the coasts of Asia Minor, where an abundant supply of the murex (from which came the famous purple dye) was obtained, when the quantity on the Tyrian coast was insufficient for its manufactures. “That which covered thee” is the awning spread over the ship’s deck.Genesis 41:42 with embroidery from Egypt was" thy sail that it might be to thee for a banner. Sails from Egypt were worked with various figures upon them which served as a device. Their boats had no separate pennons.
Blue and purple - Tyrian purple was famous. The Tyrians no doubt imported from the neighboring coasts the mollusks from which they dyed the fine linen of Egypt.
Isles of Elishah - See Genesis 10:4. Elishah is considered equivalent to the Greek AEolis on the western coast of Asia Minor. This and the islands adjacent would very naturally have commerce with the Tyrians. In early days the supply of the murex from the coast of Phoenicia had been insufficient for the Tyrian manufactures. The isles of Greece abounded in the mollusks.
Elishah—Greece; so called from Elis, a large and ancient division of Peloponnesus. Pausanias says that the best of linen was produced in it, and in no other part of Greece; called by Homer, Alisium.
that which covered thee—thy awning.Fine linen; whereas thrift teaches us to use the coarse linen for like purposes, these prodigal Tyrians used the finest silken sails, as we may render the words.
With broidered work; divers figures, curiously drawn with the needle in this fine linen, which made exceeding costly sails; yet pride and wantonness in some of them went to the charges of it.
From Egypt; where was much of this fine linen, and many of these neat embroiderers.
Blue, or violet colour, and purple; both rich and noble colours: the garments of great men and princes were made hereof, Genesis 41:42 Proverbs 31:22; see Ezekiel 16:10.
From the isles of Elishah; either from the sea-coast of Æolis in the Lesser Asia, the inhabitants whereof were excellent in the skill of dying wool; or from Peloponnesus, in which is one country called Elis, famous for fine linen, and about the mouth of the river Eurotas. The fishing for the purple fish was fatuously known, so that it might be this place beside the isles of the Ægean and Cretian seas, as Cos, Nysirus, (called from its purples Porphyris,) Cythera, and the Cyclades, which are many; some twelve of better note we might name, as now called Andro, Parlo, Zea, Sdilli, Micoli, &c.
That which covered thee: he speaks not here of garments, but of the coverings they used in their ships or galleys. Their tilts, as our boatmen call them, the clothes they spread over their heads on ship-board, to keep them from sun and weather, were such as be fitted kings and princes for costliness and beauty.
was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail: not content with canvass or coarse linen, which would have done as well, they must have the finest Egyptian linen, and this very curiously embroidered, to make their sails of they spread upon their masts, to receive the wind; at least this they spread "for a flag" (e), standard or ensign, as, the word may be rendered; when they hoisted up their colours on any occasion, they were such as these: "blue and purple, from the isles of Elishah, was that which covered thee"; meaning not garments made of cloth of these colours, which the master of the vessel or mariners wore; but the tilts, or tents, or canopies erected on the decks, where they sat sheltered from the rain, wind, or sun; these were made of stuff died of a violet and purple colour, the best they could get; and which they fetched from the isles of Elishah, or the Aegean sea, from Coa, Rhodia, Nisyrus, and other places famous for purple, as Tyre itself afterwards was. The Targum is,
"from the province of Italy;''
or of Apulia, as others (f); see Revelation 18:12.
(x) Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.((y) Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 7. (z) Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 34. 2.((a) Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, ib. (b) "----Velantur corpore lino, Et Pelusiaco praefulget stamine vertex." L. 3. de Bell. Punic. (c) Aben Ezra in Exodus 25.4. (d) Vid. Reinesium de Lingua Punica, c. 2. sect. 13. (e) "in signum, sive vexillum", Gussetius; so some in Bootius. (f) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 48. 1.Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. The rigging and furnishing of the ship. Her sail (ancient ships usually had but one) was embroidered byssus, fine linen, out of Egypt (Ezekiel 16:10). Render: broidered byssus of Egypt was thy sail, to serve to thee for a pennon. The flag proper seems not to have been used in ancient navigation, its purpose was served by the sail, as for example at the battle of Actium the ship of Antony was distinguished by its purple sail. The word seems to mean sail, Isaiah 33:23. On “broidered” cf. ch. Ezekiel 16:10; Ezekiel 16:13; Ezekiel 16:18.
that which covered thee] lit. thy covering (in Isaiah 14:11 a coverlet, cf. Isaiah 23:18), either an awning, or more probably a cabin, the sides and roof of which were of the fine stuffs named.
the isles of Elishah] In Genesis 10:4 Elishah is one of the sons of Javan, i.e. Ionia or Grecian Asia. The Targ. renders “country of Italy.” Ges. combines the name with Elis, and understands the Peloponnesus in general, which was certainly noted for the dyes referred to in the verse.
8 seq. The manning of the ship. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were her rowers, and her own wise men her steersmen.
thy mariners] rowers. Sidon lay to the N. of Tyre, about half way between it and Beirut, and was probably the oldest Phœnician town, Tyre being a colony. Sidon is the firstborn of Canaan (Genesis 10:15), and is called Great Sidon in Joshua 19:28. It is frequently referred to in Homer (e.g. Il. 7. 290), who does not mention Tyre. At a later time Tyre eclipsed her mother in power and wealth. Arvad (Aradus) lay greatly more to the N. It was built on a small island, over two miles from the mainland, and, being without natural harbours, piers were laboriously constructed of huge blocks of stone, 16 feet long by 7 broad, quarried on the island. It was dependent for water upon the mainland, but when its supply was cut off recourse was had to a powerful spring of fresh water which was known to rise under the sea in the channel between the town and the mainland. This spring was isolated and the water brought by a tube to the surface. The spring is said still to exist. Arvad, now Ruwâd, or, Ruweideh, is often mentioned in the Assyrian Annals. Tiglath-pileser I. (c. 1100) embarked on ships of Arvad and sailed out into “the great sea,” Del., Parad. p. 281 (the same expression is used by another king of himself, Schrader, KAT. p. 184, on 1 Kings 5:13, cf. p. 104). See chart of Arvad, Rawl., Phœn. p. 74.Verse 7. - For the fine linen of Egypt, the Byssus famous in its commerce, see Genesis 41:42; Exodus 26:36. This, which took the place of the coarse canvas of the common ships, was made more magnificent by being embroidered with purple or crimson, with gold borders. The ship of Antony and Cleopatra had purple sails, which, as they swelled out with the wind, served as a banner. The ancient ships had no flags or pennons. So the Revised Version renders, of fine linen, was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign. The word for "sail" in the Authorized Version is rendered" banner" in Psalm 60:4; Isaiah 13:2, and "ensign" in Isaiah 11:12. The isles of Elishah. The name appears in Genesis 10:4 as one of the sons of Javan. It has been identified, on the ground chiefly of similarity of sound, with Ells, Hellas, or AEolia. Laconia has been suggested as being famous for the murex which supplied the purple dye. The Targum gives Italy. Sicily also has been conjectured. The murex is common all over the Mediterranean, but Cythera and Abydos are named as having been specially famous for it. Probably, as in the case of "Chittim," the word was used with considerable latitude. The latter clause of the verse describes the awning over the deck of the queenly ship. Was Ezekiel describing what he had actually seen in the state-ship of Tyro? 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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