Isaiah 23:10
Pass through your land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.
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(10) Pass through thy land as a river . . .—The word for “river” is that used in Isaiah 23:3 with special reference to the Nile. Here the inundation of the Nile gives special force to the comparison. The daughter of Tarshish (i.e., Tarshish itself) is to spread and overflow in independent action. The colonies of Tyre are no longer subject to her, paying tribute or custom duties as she might ordain. There is no strength,” no “girdle” now to restrain them, no limit such as Tyre had imposed on their commerce or colonisation. It is significant that Cyprus revolted about this time, and that the Phœnician colonies took part in attacking the mother city under Sennacherib (Jos. Ant. ix. 14. 2).

Isaiah 23:10. Pass through thy land — Tarry no longer in thy own territories, but flee through them, into other countries, for safety and relief. As a river — Swiftly, lest you be prevented; continually, till you be all gone, and in shoals and multitudes. O daughter of Tarshish — Tyre is here called the daughter of Tarshish, because it was enriched and increased by trade to that place: or, rather, as Bishop Lowth supposes, “because of the close connection and perpetual intercourse between the two cities, according to that latitude of signification in which the Hebrews used the word Song of Solomon and daughter, to express any sort of conjunction and dependance whatever.” There is no more strength — Or, no more a girdle, as in the margin: the girdle which strengthens the loins of a man being here put for strength, as frequently elsewhere, as if he had said, It behooves you, O Tyrians, to flee away, as I advise, for your city is unable to defend you; your wealth, the sinews of war, is lost; your walls are broken down; and your former friends and allies have forsaken you.23:1-14 Tyre was the mart of the nations. She was noted for mirth and diversions; and this made her loth to consider the warnings God gave by his servants. Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes. Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the merchants should abandon her. Flee to shift for thine own safety; but those that are uneasy in one place, will be so in another; for when God's judgments pursue sinners, they will overtake them. Whence shall all this trouble come? It is a destruction from the Almighty. God designed to convince men of the vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory. Let the ruin of Tyre warn all places and persons to take heed of pride; for he who exalts himself shall be abased. God will do it, who has all power in his hand; but the Chaldeans shall be the instruments.Pass through thy land as a river - This verse has been very variously understood. Vitringa supposes that it means that all that held the city together - its fortifications, walls, etc., would be laid waste, and that as a river flows on without obstruction, so the inhabitants would be scattered far and near. Everything, says he, would be leveled, and the field would not be distinguishable from the city. Grotius thus renders it: 'Pass to some one of thy colonies; as a river flows from the fountain to the sea, so do you go to the ocean.' Lowth understands it also as relating to the time of the destruction of Tyre, and to the escape which the inhabitants would then make.

'Overflow thy land like a river,

O daughter of Tarshish; the mound (that kept in thy waters)

Is no more.'

The Septuagint renders it, 'Cultivate (Ἐργάζον Ergazon) thy land, for the ships shall no more come from Carthage' (Καρχηδόνος Karchēdonos) Probably the true meaning is that which refers it to the time of the siege, and to the fact that the inhabitants would seek other places when their defense was destroyed. That is, 'Pass through thy territories, thy dependent cities, states, colonies, and seek a refuge there; or wander there like a flowing stream.'

As a river - Perhaps the allusion is to the Nile, as the word יאר ye'or is usually given to the Nile; or it may be to any river that flows on with a mighty current when all obstructions are removed. The idea is, that as waters flow on when the barriers are removed, so the inhabitants of Tyre would pour forth from their city. The idea is not so much that of rapidity, as it is they should go like a stream that has no dikes, barriers, or obstacles now to confine its flowing waters.

O daughter of Tarshish - Tyre; so called either because it was in some degree sustained and supplied by the commerce of Tarshish; or because its inhabitants would become the inhabitants of Tarshish, and it is so called by anticipation. The Vulgate renders this, "Filia marias" - 'Daughter of the sea. Juntos supposes that the prophet addresses those who were then in the city who were natives of Tarshish, and exhorts them to flee for safety to their own city.

There is no more strength - Margin, 'Girdle.' The word מזח mēzach means properly a girdle Job 12:31. It is applied to that which binds or secures the body; and may be applied here perhaps to that which secured or bound the city of Tyre; that is, its fortifications, its walls, its defenses. They would all be leveled; and nothing would secure the inhabitants, as they would flow forth as waters that are pent up do, when every barrier is removed.

10. a river—Hebrew, "the river," namely, Nile.

daughter of Tarshish—Tyre and its inhabitants (Isa 1:8), about henceforth, owing to the ruin of Tyre, to become inhabitants of its colony, Tartessus: they would pour forth from Tyre, as waters flow on when the barriers are removed [Lowth]. Rather, Tarshish, or Tartessus and its inhabitants, as the phrase usually means: they had been kept in hard bondage, working in silver and lead mines near Tarshish, by the parent city (Eze 26:17): but now "the bond of restraint" (for so "strength," Margin, "girdle," that is, bond, Ps 2:3, ought to be translated) is removed, since Tyre is no more.

Pass through the land; tarry no longer in thy own territories, but flee through them, and beyond them, into other countries, for safety and relief.

As a river; swiftly, lest you be prevented; and continually, till you be all gone; and in shoals and multitudes.

O daughter of Tarshish; O Tyrus; for of her he speaks both in the foregoing and following words. And Tyrus might well be called the daughter of Tarshish, i.e. of the sea, as that word is used, Isaiah 23:1, and elsewhere, because it then was an island, and therefore as it were born of the sea, and nourished and brought up by it.

No more strength, Heb. no more girdle: the girdle, which strengthens the loins of a man, is put for strength, as Job 12:21 38:3. It behoveth you, O people of Tyrus, to flee away, as I advise you; for your city is unable to defend you; your wealth, the sinews of war, is lost; your walls broken down; the sea, which, like a girdle, surrounded and defended you, is now in part filled up by your enemies, who have joined you to the main land; your former friends and allies forsake you. Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish,.... Or, "of the sea", as the Vulgate Latin; meaning Tyre, which was situated in the sea, and did, as it were, spring from it, and was fortified by it, and supported by ships of merchandise on it, from various places; but now, being about to be destroyed, the inhabitants of it are called upon to pass through it, and get out of it as fast as they could, even as swiftly as a river runs, and in great abundance or multitudes. Kimchi thinks the Tyrians are bid to pass to the daughter of Tarshish, that is, to Tarshish itself, to make their escape out of their own land, and flee thither for safety; this the accents will not admit of, there being an "athnach" upon the word "river"; rather the merchants of Tarshish, that were in Tyre, are exhorted to depart to their own land with all possible haste, lest they should be involved in its ruin; though the Targum inclines to the other sense,

"pass out of thy land, as the waters of a river flee to a province of the sea:''

there is no more strength; in Tyre, to defend themselves against the enemy, to protect their trade, and the merchants that traded with them; or, "no more girdle" (e); about it; no more girt about with walls, ramparts, and other fortifications, or with soldiers and shipping, or with the sea, with which it was encompassed, while an island, but now no more, being joined to the continent by the enemy. Some think, because girdles were a part of merchandise, Proverbs 31:24, that this is said to express the meanness and poverty of the place, that there was not so much as a girdle left in it; rather that it was stripped of its power and authority, of which the girdle was a sign; see Isaiah 22:21.

(e) "nulla est zona amplius", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "non est cingulum amplius", Cocceius.

Pass through thy land as a river, O {n} daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.

(n) Your strength will no more serve you: therefore flee to other countries for comfort.

10. as a river] Rather: as the Nile (as R.V.). The people of Tarshish are now as free of the land they live in as the Nile is of Egypt in the time of the annual inundation.

there is no more strength] Render as in R.V. there is no girdle (about thee) any more. The “girdle” (cf. Psalm 109:19) is supposed to be a symbol of the restraints hitherto imposed on the colonists by Tyre. But nowhere else is a man represented as hampered by his own girdle; the removal of it is rather a synonym for weakness (Job 12:21—the same root as here—cf. Isaiah 5:27).

10–14. The third strophe, as usually explained, deals mainly with the emancipation of the Phœnician colonies from the somewhat stringent control of Tyre. But the passage presents many difficulties; and from the utter uncertainty as to the meaning of Isaiah 23:13 the general sense is doubtful.Verse 10. - Pass through thy laud as a river; rather, overflow thy land, as the Nile. Shake off all restraint; that is, give thy desires free vent - be no longer cramped and confined by the restrictions of the metro-polls. Tartessus is addressed, as the leading colony, and perhaps the one most oppressed; and in her person all the colonies are called on to shake themselves free of the mother city. There is no more strength; rather, there is no more a girdle; i.e. there is nothing that need restrain yon - the power of Tyre is gone! The address to the whole of the coast-land now passes into an address to the ancestral city. Isaiah 23:4 "Shudder, O Sidon; for the sea speaketh, the fortress of the sea, thus: I have not travailed, nor given birth, nor trained up young men, brought up maidens." The sea, or more closely considered, the fortress of the sea, i.e., the rock-island on which Neo-tyrus stood with its strong and lofty houses, lifts up its voice in lamentation. Sidon, the ancestress of Canaan, must hear with overwhelming shame how Tyre mourns the loss of her daughters, and complains that, robbed as she has been of her children, she is like a barren women. For the war to have murdered her young men and maidens, was exactly the same as if she had never given birth to them or brought them up. Who is there that does not recognise in this the language of Isaiah (compare Isaiah 1:2)? - Even in Egypt the fate of Phoenicia produces alarm. Isaiah 23:5 "When the report cometh to Egypt, they tremble at the report from Tzor." In the protasis (Isaiah 23:5) lemitzraim (to Egypt) the verb "cometh" is implied; the Caph in Isaiah 23:5 signifies simultaneousness, as in Isaiah 18:4 and Isaiah 30:19 (Ges. Thes. p. 650). The news of the fall of Tyre spreads universal terror in Egypt, because its own prosperity depended upon Tyre, which was the great market for its corn; and when such a bulwark had fallen, a similar fate awaited itself.
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