Ezekiel 28:18
You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the middle of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.
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(18) Defiled thy sanctuaries.—These are not to be understood so much of the actual temples of Tyre as of the ideal “holy mountain of God,” in which the prophet has represented the prince of Tyre as “a covering cherub.” Yet still, doubtless, even in the former sense, it was true that the Tyrians, like the Gentiles of whom St. Paul speaks in Romans 1:21, did not act up to the religious light they had, and violating their own consciences and sense of right, defiled even such representation of the true religion as still remained in their idolatrous worship. The main thought, however, is the former one, and it is in accordance with this that the fire is represented as going forth to consume the king. Many of the Hebrew manuscripts have sanctuary in the singular.

By the iniquity of thy traffick.—Here, as so often in other cases, the sin is represented as consisting in the abuse of the very blessings which God had given, and this sin as leading directly to its own punishment. No fact is more striking in history, whether of Israel or of the heathen, than that the gifts of God, which should have been to their blessing and His glory, are perverted by the sinfulness of man: first to their own guilt, and then, in consequence, to their ruin.

Ezekiel 28:20-26 constitute another distinct prophecy, of which Ezekiel 28:20-24 are occupied with the denunciation of judgment upon Zidon, and Ezekiel 28:25-26 with promises to Israel. There are several obvious reasons, besides that of making up the number of the nations to seven, why at least a word of prophecy should have been directed especially against Zidon, notwithstanding her forming a part of Phœnicia and contributing to the mariners of Tyre (Ezekiel 27:8). In the first place, Zidon (situated about twenty-five miles north of Tyre) was the more ancient city from which Tyre had sprung, and always maintained her independence. Hence she might seem not to be exposed to the judgment of God upon Tyre, unless especially mentioned. Then also Zidon (rather than Tyre) had been peculiarly the source of corrupting idolatrous influences upon Israel. This had begun as early as the times of the Judges (Judges 10:6); it had been continued and increased in the days of Solomon (1Kings 11:33); it reached its consummation under the reign of Ahab, who married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Zidon and high priest of Baal (1Kings 16:31), and who set up the worship of Baal as the state religion of Israel. That this influence was still powerful in Judah also in the days of Ezekiel is plain from the reference to the Thammuz worship in Ezekiel 8:14.

There is only one mention (Judges 10:12) of the Zidonians as coming into armed conflict with Israel; but they had rejoiced in her fall. As this prophecy closes the circle of the nations who had thus exulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, there is appropriately placed at the end a promise of restoration to Israel when all these judgments upon her enemies shall have been accomplished.

Ezekiel 28:18-19. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries — Thy throne, palace, judgment-seats. The word מקדשׁ, generally rendered sanctuary, sometimes signifies a palace, in which sense it probably ought to be taken Amos 7:13, where our translation renders it the king’s chapel. Thus Bishop Patrick understands it, Exodus 25:8, where our version reads, Let them make me a sanctuary; God commanding that he should be served and attended upon in the tabernacle, as a king in his court or palace. The cherubim were his throne, the ark his footstool, the altar his table, (and therefore called by that name, Ezekiel 41:22; Malachi 1:7,) the priests his attendants, and the show-bread and sacrifices his provisions. The king of Tyre had filled his palace and courts of judicature, and the Tyrians their stately buildings, with iniquity and injustice, and therefore God was determined utterly to destroy them by the Chaldeans. I will bring fire from the midst of thee — Punishment shall follow thy crimes, and thy own ways shall bring it upon thee: thy destruction shall proceed from thyself. I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth — I will bring thee to dust. Thou shalt be made no more account of than ashes spread on the ground. All that know thee shall be astonished — So low a fall from such a height of glory will astonish all who ever saw thy former magnificence.28:1-19 Ethbaal, or Ithobal, was the prince or king of Tyre; and being lifted up with excessive pride, he claimed Divine honours. Pride is peculiarly the sin of our fallen nature. Nor can any wisdom, except that which the Lord gives, lead to happiness in this world or in that which is to come. The haughty prince of Tyre thought he was able to protect his people by his own power, and considered himself as equal to the inhabitants of heaven. If it were possible to dwell in the garden of Eden, or even to enter heaven, no solid happiness could be enjoyed without a humble, holy, and spiritual mind. Especially all spiritual pride is of the devil. Those who indulge therein must expect to perish.The "perfection" was false, unsuspected until the "iniquity" which lay beneath was found out. 18. thy sanctuaries—that is, the holy places, attributed to the king of Tyre in Eze 28:14, as his ideal position. As he "profaned" it, so God will "profane" him (Eze 28:16).

fire … devour—As he abused his supposed elevation amidst "the stones of fire" (Eze 28:16), so God will make His "fire" to "devour" him.

Thou who shouldst have kept all pure in religion, as thou art king, pretending to Divinity, has polluted it.

Thy sanctuaries: still there is, as all along from the 14th verse I think there hath been, much of an irony deriding this proud prince, an allusion to his pretended godship. A god hath his sanctuaries, and thou thine, but they nasty, polluted ones.

By the multitude, by the greatness as well as number,

of thine iniquities. The iniquity of thy traffic; impieties, irreligion, and atheism of thy merchants, as well as by their injustice, falsehood, and oppressions, by their perjuries, breaking covenants confirmed in the temples at the altars, or in the name of their gods; when thy trade thrived by these, thou and they have thought there was nothing sacred, nor any god above thee.

I will bring forth a fire; some civil dissension or occasion of thy injustice shall, like a fire,

rise from the midst of thee, among thy injured malcontents.

It shall devour thee; which, like fire in the house, shall burn all up, and waste all, thou shalt never quench it: thy discontented subjects applying themselves to Nebuchadnezzar with addresses for his favour, power, and royal justice to relieve them, and to right his own subjects oppressed by Tyre in their trade, shall enkindle Nebuchadnezzar’s rage, and he shall never be appeased but in thy ruin.

I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth; thou shalt be burnt to ashes, and these cast on the earth to be scattered abroad, and trampled under feet.

In the sight of all them that behold thee; all this done, that all about thee may see, fear, and reverence the justice, power, and holiness of the God of heaven, who ruleth among men, and knows how to abase proud atheists. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities,.... Or, "thy palaces", as Kimchi; the palace of the king, and the palaces of the nobles, where much iniquity was committed, and which was the cause of their being defiled or destroyed by the Chaldeans; or it may design their sacred places, their temples, where their gods were worshipped, and idolatry committed. This may be applied to the places of religious worship among the Papists, their churches; which, instead of being adorned, are defiled with their images and image worship, and other acts of superstition and will worship:

by the iniquity of thy traffic; as by bringing in ill gotten goods into the sacred places of Tyre, as they were accounted, so by selling pardons; praying souls out of purgatory for money; by simony, or buying and selling ecclesiastical benefices; and such like spiritual merchandise in Roman churches:

therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee; sin, and the punishment of it, as Kimchi; which, for sin committed in the midst of them, should consume as fire; or some from among themselves, that should stir up and cause internal divisions, which should issue in their ruin; as the unclean spirit that shall go out of the mouth of the beast, dragon, and false prophet, to gather the antichristian kings to battle, will end in their ruin, Revelation 16:14. The Targum is,

"I will bring people who are strong as fire, because of the sins of thy pride they shall destroy thee.''

Alexander, when he took Tyre, ordered all the inhabitants to be slain, excepting those that fled to the temples, and the houses to be set on fire (u); which literally fulfilled this prophecy; and which may also have respect to the destruction of Rome by fire, because of the sins committed in it, Revelation 18:8,

and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth, in the sight of all them that behold thee; the kings and merchants of the earth, who shall stand and look on the city as it is burning, and when reduced to ashes; which denotes the utter destruction of it, Revelation 18:9. The Targum is,

"I will give thee as ashes on the earth, &c.'

and shall be no more accounted of.

(u) Curtius, Hist. l. 4. c. 4. p. 75.

Thou hast defiled thy {k} sanctuaries by the multitude of thy iniquities, by the iniquity of thy merchandise; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

(k) That is, the honour to which I called them.

18. defiled thy sanctuaries] profaned. The phrase occurs ch. Ezekiel 7:24; here, however, where the prince is spoken of, “sanctity” or personal sacredness rather than “sanctuary” seems the sense required. It is doubtful if the word can bear this meaning. LXX. reads: because of the multitude of thine iniquities in the wrong of thy traffic I have profaned thy sanctuaries, and I have brought forth a fire. The tenses are all in the perfect of threatening, and the threats here pass away from the prince and apply more to the city. On “fire” cf. ch. Ezekiel 19:14.

bring thee to ashes] have brought, perf. of threatening. Any reference to the Phenix, consumed in a self-kindled fire, has little probability. The idea of the city, of the spirit and activity of which the king is the embodiment, tends more and more to take the place of the idea of the king. This is evident from the closing words Ezekiel 28:19, which are identical with those referring to the city, ch. Ezekiel 27:36. For people read peoples as usual.Destruction of Tyre

Ezekiel 27:26. Thy rowers brought thee into great waters: the east wind broke thee up in the heart of the seas. Ezekiel 27:27. Thy riches and thy sales, thy bartering wares, thy seamen and thy sailors, the repairers of thy leaks and the treaders in thy wares, and all thy fighting men in thee, together with all the multitude of people in thee, fell into the heart of the seas in the day of thy fall. Ezekiel 27:28. At the noise of the cry of thy sailors the places tremble. Ezekiel 27:29. And out of their ships come all the oarsmen, seamen, all the sailors of the sea; they come upon the land, Ezekiel 27:20. And make their voice heard over thee, and cry bitterly, and put dust upon their heads, and cover themselves with ashes; Ezekiel 27:31. And shave themselves bald on thy account, and gird on sackcloth, and weep for thee in anguish of soul a bitter wailing. Ezekiel 27:32. They raise over thee in their grief a lamentation, and lament over thee: Who is like Tyre! like the destroyed one in the midst of the sea!. Ezekiel 27:33. When thy sales came forth out of the seas, thou didst satisfy many nations; with the abundance of thy goods and thy wares thou didst enrich kings of the earth. Ezekiel 27:34. Now that thou art wrecked away from the seas in the depths of the water, thy wares and all thy company are fallen in thee. Ezekiel 27:35. All the inhabitants of the islands are amazed at thee, and their kings shudder greatly; their faces quiver. Ezekiel 27:36. The traders among the nations hiss over thee; thou hast become a terror, and art gone for ever. - The allusion to the ships of Tarshish, to which Tyre was indebted for its glory, serves as an introduction to a renewal in Ezekiel 27:26 of the allegory of Ezekiel 27:5-9; Tyre is a ship, which is wrecked by the east wind (cf. Psalm 48:8). In Palestine (Arabia and Syria) the east wind is characterized by continued gusts; and if it rises into a tempest, it generally causes great damage on account of the violence of the gusts (see Wetzstein in Delitzsch's commentary on Job 27:1). Like a ship broken in pieces by the storm, Tyre with all its glory sinks into the depths of the sea. The repetition of בּלב in Ezekiel 27:26 and Ezekiel 27:27 forms an effective contrast to Ezekiel 27:25; just as the enumeration of all the possessions of Tyre, which fall with the ship into the heart of the sea, does to the wealth and glory in Ezekiel 27:25. They who manned the ship also perish with the cargo, - "the seamen," i.e., sailors, rowers, repairers of leaks (calkers), also the merchants on board, and the fighting men who defended the ship and its goods against pirates, - the whole qâhâl, or gathering of people, in the ship. The difficult expression בּכל־קהלך can only be taken as an explanatory apposition to אשׁר בּך: all the men who are in thee, namely, in the multitude of people in thee. Ezekiel 27:28. When the vessel is wrecked, the managers of the ship raise such a cry that the migreshōth tremble. מגרשׁ is used in Numbers 35:2 for the precincts around the Levitical cities, which were set apart as pasture ground for the flocks; and in Ezekiel 45:2; Ezekiel 48:17, for the ground surrounding the holy city. Consequently מגרשׁות cannot mean the suburbs of Tyre in the passage before us, but must signify the open places on the mainland belonging to Tyre, i.e., the whole of its territory, with the fields and villages contained therein. The rendering "fleet," which Ewald follows the Vulgate in adopting, has nothing to support it.

Ezekiel 27:29. The ruin of this wealthy and powerful metropolis of the commerce of the world produces the greatest consternation among all who sail upon the sea, so that they forsake their ships, as if they were no longer safe in them, and leaving them for the land, bewail the fall of Tyre with deepest lamentation. השׁמיע with בּקול, as in Psalm 26:7; 1 Chronicles 15:19, etc. For the purpose of depicting the lamentation as great and bitter in the extreme, Ezekiel groups together all the things that were generally done under such circumstances, viz., covering the head with dust (cf. Joshua 7:6; 1 Samuel 4:12; and Job 2:12) and ashes (התפּלּשׁ, to strew, or cover oneself, not to roll oneself: see the comm. on Micah 1:10); shaving a bald place (see Ezekiel 7:18 and the comm. on Micah 1:16); putting on sackcloth; loud, bitter weeping (בּמר, as in Job 7:11 and Job 10:1); and singing an mournful dirge (Ezekiel 27:32.). בּניהם, in lamento eorum; ני contracted from נהי (Jeremiah 9:17-18; cf. הי, Ezekiel 2:10). The reading adopted by the lxx, Theodot., Syr., and eleven Codd. (בּניהם) is unsuitable, as there is no allusion to sons, but the seamen themselves raise the lamentation. The correction proposed by Hitzig, בּפיהם, is altogether inappropriate. The exclamation, Who is like Tyre! is more precisely defined by כּדמּה, like the destroyed one in the midst of the sea. דּמּה, participle Pual, with the מ dropt, as in 2 Kings 2:10, etc. (vid., Ges. 52. 2, Anm. 6). It is quite superfluous to assume that there was a noun דּמּה signifying destruction. 'בּצאת עזב has been aptly explained by Hitzig; "inasmuch as thy wares sprang out of the sea, like the plants and field-fruits out of the soil" (the selection of the word השׂבּעתּ also suggested this simile); "not as being manufactured at Tyre, and therefore in the sea, but because the sea floated the goods to land for the people in the ships, and they satisfied the desire of the purchasers." Tyre satisfied peoples and enriched kings with its wares, not only by purchasing from them and paying for their productions with money or barter, but also by the fact that the Tyrians gave a still higher value to the raw material by the labour which they bestowed upon them. הוניך in the plural is only met with here. - Ezekiel 27:34. But now Tyre with its treasures and its inhabitants has sunk in the depths of the sea. The antithesis in which Ezekiel 27:34 really stands to Ezekiel 27:33 does not warrant our altering עת into עתּ נשׁבּרתּ, as Ewald and Hitzig propose, or adopting a different division of the second hemistich. עת is an adverbial accusative, as in Ezekiel 16:57 : "at the time of the broken one away from the seas into the depth of the waters, thy wares and thy people have fallen, i.e., perished." עת נשׁבּרת, tempore quo fracta es. נשׁבּרת מימּים is intentionally selected as an antithesis to נושׁבת מימּים in Ezekiel 26:17. - Ezekiel 27:35. All the inhabitants of the islands and their kings, i.e., the inhabitants of the (coast of the) Mediterranean and its islands, will be thrown into consternation at the fall of Tyre; and (Ezekiel 27:36) the merchants among the nations, i.e., the foreign nations, the rivals of Tyre in trade, will hiss thereat; in other words, give utterance to malicious joy. שׁמם, to be laid waste, or thrown into perturbation with terror and amazement. רעם פנים .tnemezama dna, to tremble or quiver in the face, i.e., to tremble so much that the terror shows itself in the countenance. - In Ezekiel 27:36 Ezekiel brings the lamentation to a close in a similar manner to the threat contained in Ezekiel 26 (vid., Ezekiel 26:21).

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