Isaiah 23:17 Commentaries: It will come about at the end of seventy years that the LORD will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot's wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.
Isaiah 23:17
And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.
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(17) She shall turn to her hire.—The words indicate, in the strong imagery of Isaiah 23:15, the revival of the commercial prosperity of Tyre under the rule of the Persian kings. To that commerce there was to be no limit. The ships of all nations were once more to crowd her harbours.

23:15-18 The desolations of Tyre were not to be for ever. The Lord will visit Tyre in mercy. But when set at liberty, she will use her old arts of temptation. The love of worldly wealth is spiritual idolatry; and covetousness is spiritual idolatry. This directs those that have wealth, to use it in the service of God. When we abide with God in our worldly callings, when we do all in our power to further the gospel, then our merchandise and hire are holiness to the Lord, if we look to his glory. Christians should carry on business as God's servants, and use riches as his stewards.The Lord will visit Tyre - He will restore her to her former wealth and magnificence.

And she shall turn to her hire - The word 'hire' here denotes the wages or reward that is given to an harlot; and the idea which was commenced in the previous verses is here continued - of Tyre as an harlot - frivolous, splendid, licentious, and holding intercourse with strangers and foreigners. The gains of that commerce with other nations are here represented as her hire.

And shall commit fornication ... - Shall again be the mart of commerce Isaiah 23:3; shall have contact with all the nations, and derive her support, splendor, luxury, from all. The idea is, that she would be restored to her former commercial importance, and perhaps, also, the prophet intends to intimate that she would procure those gains by dishonest acts, and by fraudulent pretexts. After the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, it remained desolate until the close of the Babyloian monarchy. Then a new city was built on the island, that soon rivaled the former in magnificence. That new city was besieged and taken by Alexander the Great, on his way to the conquests of the East.

17. visit—not in wrath, but mercy.

hire—image from a harlot: her gains by commerce. After the Babylonian dynasty was ended, Tyre was rebuilt; also, again, after the destruction under Alexander.

Visit Tyre, to wit, in mercy, as this phrase is used, Ruth 1:6 Psalm 65:9, and elsewhere.

Her hire: the Hebrew word properly signifies, the hire of an harlot; which agrees well with the

fornication in the next clause; although these phrases are not to be understood properly, but metaphorically, of trading or commerce with others.

Shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world; shall trade promiscuously with people of all sorts of nations, as harlots entertain all comers. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years,.... When the seventy years before mentioned are ended:

that the Lord will visit Tyre; not in judgment, as before, but in mercy:

and she shall return to her hire; trade and merchandise; that shall revive, and be as in times past:

and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world, upon the face of the earth; be a mart of nations again, as in Isaiah 23:3 that is, trade and traffic with all nations of the earth, in the most ample and public manner; this is called committing fornication, in agreement with the simile of a harlot before used, whereunto Tyre is compared; as well as to observe the illicit ways and methods used in her commerce. The Targum is,

"and her merchandise shall be sufficient to all the kingdoms of the people, which are upon the face of the earth;''

and so the Septuagint,

"and shall be a mart to all the kingdoms of the world, upon the face of the earth.''

The phrase is used of mystical Tyre or Babylon, and of her merchants, in Revelation 18:3.

And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her {y} hire, and shall play the harlot with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

(y) Though she has been chastised by the Lord, yet she will return to her old wicked practises and for gain will give herself to all men's lusts like a harlot.

17. The application of the song to Tyre. The comparison of commerce to prostitution is found in Revelation 18:3 and perhaps in Nahum 3:4. Here it signalises the mercenary motive which was prominent in Tyre’s dealings with other nations.

shall return to her hire] Shall resume her former lucrative activity. The last word is a technical term for the hire of a harlot.Verse 17. - The Lord will visit Tyre. In mercy, not in judgment (cf. Jeremiah 27:22; Jeremiah 29:10). She shall turn to her hire; i.e. "to her commerce," to her former mode of life. But with the difference noted in ver. 18. The prophet now proceeds to relate, as it were, to the Pheonicio-Spanish colony, the daughter, i.e., the population of Tartessus, what has happened to the mother country. "His hand hath He stretched over the sea, thrown kingdoms into trembling; Jehovah hath given commandment concerning Kena'an, to destroy her fortresses. And He said, Thou shalt not rejoice any further, thou disgraced one, virgin daughter of Sidon! Get up to Kittim, go over; there also shalt thou not find rest." There is no ground whatever for restricting the "kingdoms" (mamlâcoth) to the several small Phoenician states (compare Isaiah 19:2). Jehovah, reaching over the sea, has thrown the lands of Hither Asia and Egypto-Ethiopia into a state of the most anxious excitement, and has summoned them as instruments of destruction with regard to Kenaēan (אל, like על in Esther 4:5). Phoenicia called itself Kena‛an (Canaan); but this is the only passage in the Old Testament in which the name occurs in this most restricted sense. לשׁמיד, for להשׁמיד, as in Numbers 5:22; Amos 8:4. The form מעזניה is more rare, but it is not a deformity, as Knobel and others maintain. There are other examples of the same resolution of the reduplication and transposition of the letters (it stands for מענזיה, possibly a Phoenician word; see Hitzig, Grabschrift, p. 16, and Levi, Phoenizische Studien, p. 17), viz., תּמנוּ in Lamentations 3:22 (vid., at Psalm 64:7), and קבנו in Numbers 23:13, at least according to the Jewish grammar (see, however, Ewald, 250, b).

(Note: Bttcher derives the form from מעזן, a supposed diminutive; see, however, Jesurun, pp. 212-216.)

"Virgin of the daughter of Sidon" (equivalent to "virgin daughter of Sidon," two epexegetical genitives; Ewald, 289, c) is synonymous with Kena‛an. The name of the ancestral city (compare Isaiah 37:22) has here become the name of the whole nation that has sprung from it. Hitherto this nation has been untouched, like a virgin, but now it resembles one ravished and defiled. If now they flee across to Cyprus (cittiyim or cittim), there will be no rest for them even there, because the colony, emancipated from the Phoenician yoke, will only be too glad to rid herself to the unwelcome guests from the despotic mother country.

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