Isaiah 23:7
Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.
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(7) Is this your joyous city . . .?—Tyre was, as has been said, of later origin than Zidon, but was the oldest of the daughter cities. Josephus (Ant. viii. 3. 1) fixes the date of its foundation at 240 years before Solomon.

Her own feet shall carry her.—The English version (tenable grammatically) points to the wanderings of exile. Another rendering, her feet are wont to carry her . . . is also legitimate, and fits in better with the context, which paints the past glory of Tyre in contrast with her coming calamities. So taken, the words point to her numerous colonies, of which Carthage was the chief.

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.Is this your joyous city - Is this the city that was just now so full of happiness, of revelry, of business, of gaiety, of rejoicing? (see the note at Isaiah 22:2)

Whose antiquity is of ancient days - Strabo (xvi. 756) says, 'After Sidon, Tyre, a splendid and most ancient city, is to be compared in greatness, beauty, and antiquity, with Sidon.' Curtius (Hist. Alex. iv. 4) says, 'The city was taken, distinguished both by its antiquity, and its great variety of fortune.' Arrian (ii. 16) says, that 'the Temple of Hercules at Tyre was the most ancient of those which the memory of people have preserved.' And Herodotus (ii. 44) says, that in a conversation which he had with the priest of that temple, he informed him that it had then existed for 2300 years. Josephus, indeed, says (Ant. viii. 3. 1) that Tyre was built but 240 years before the temple was built by Solomon - but this was probably a mistake. Justin (xviii. 3) says that Tyre was founded in the year of the destruction of Troy. Its very high antiquity cannot be doubted.

Her own feet shall carry her afar off - Grotius supposes that by feet here, the 'feet of ships' are intended, that is, their sails and oars. But the expression is designed evidently to stand in contrast with Isaiah 23:6, and to denote that a part of the inhabitants would go by land into captivity. Probably many of them were taken prisoners by Nebuchadnezzar; and perhaps many of them, when the city was besieged, found opportunity to escape and flee by land to a distant place of safety.

7. Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city (Isa 23:12)?

antiquity—The Tyrian priests boasted in Herodotus' time that their city had already existed 2300 years: an exaggeration, but still implying that it was ancient even then.

her own feet—walking on foot as captives to an enemy's land.

Is this your joyous city, that formerly lived in so much pomp, and pleasure, and security? Whose antiquity is of ancient days; being built before Joshua’s time, as is manifest from Joshua 19:29. Her own feet shall carry her; whereas before, like a delicate lady, she would not set the sole of her foot to the ground, as the expression is, Deu 28:56, but used to be carried in stately chariots, or magnificent vessels.

To sojourn; to seek for new habitations. For as some of the Tyrians were taken and carried captive into Chaldea, and other places, so others fled by sea into several parts of the world, Carthage, and divers other towns of the Midland Sea, as is recorded by ancient historians. Is this your joyous city?.... Which the other day looked so gay, brisk, and cheerful, through the number of its inhabitants, largeness of trade, fullness of provisions, and pleasures of every kind; and now distressed and desolate, and no voice of joy and gladness heard in it:

whose antiquity is of ancient days; the most ancient city in Phoenicia, excepting Zidon, as Strabo (w) says; and it was in being in the days of Joshua, Joshua 19:29 if the words there are rightly rendered; and if so, Josephus must be mistaken, unless he speaks of insular Tyre, when he says (x), that from the building of Tyre to the building of the temple (of Solomon) were two hundred and forty years, which must fall very short of the times of Joshua; such (y) seem to be nearer the truth, who make Agenor, the father of Cadmus, to be the builder of this city, who lived about the times of Joshua. The Tyrians indeed boasted of a still greater antiquity, and to which boasts perhaps reference is here had; for one of the priests of Tyre told Herodotus (z) that their city had been inhabited two thousand three hundred years; and Herodotus lived in the times of Artaxerxes and Xerxes, about the year of the world 3500. According to Sanchoniatho (a), it was inhabited by Hypsuranius, who first built cottages of rushes, &c. in it; but these things are beyond all credit; however, certain it is that it was a very ancient city; it had the name of Palaetyrus, or old Tyre:

her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn; the sense is, that though the Tyrians had lived very delicately, and in great affluence, while their city was flourishing, yet now they should be very coarsely and roughly used; they should not ride on horses, or be drawn in carriages, but should be obliged to walk on foot, and be led or driven into a foreign country, Assyria or Chaldea, or to some province or provinces belonging to that empire; where they should be, not as inhabitants, but as sojourners and strangers; and should be used, not as freemen, but as captives and slaves. Grotius, by "her feet", understands the feet of her ships, sails and oars, and mariners themselves, by means of which she got into distant places, for safety; and so it is reported in history (b), that the Tyrians being long besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, and having no hopes of being delivered, prepared a convenient number of ships, abandoned their city, transported themselves, wives, children, and riches, and sailed from thence to Cyprus, Carthage, and other maritime cities of their tributaries, or confederates; so that the Babylonians, when they took the city, found little or nothing in it; see Ezekiel 29:18 though the words will bear another sense, being, according to the accents, to be read in connection with the preceding clauses, thus, "Is this the joyous city? from the first days of her antiquity her feet brought unto her inhabitants from afar to sojourn"; that is, by her labour and pains, by her journeys and voyages for the sake of merchandise, which may be meant by her feet, she brought a great number of persons to sojourn in her (c).

(w) Geograph. l. 16. p. 520. (x) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 3. sect. 1.((y) Curtius, l. 4. c. 4. (z) Herodot. l. 2. c. 44. (a) Apud Euseb. Prepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 35. (b) See Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the World: l. 2. c. 7. sect. 3. p. 198. (c) Reinbeck. de Accent. Heb. p. 399.

Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.
7. The reference is of course to Tyre, the principal subject of the prophecy.

whose antiquity … days] Next to Zidon, Tyre was regarded as the most ancient city of Phœnicia. Her priests claimed for their temple the fabulous antiquity of 2300 years in the time of Herodotus (II. 44); Josephus dates the city’s foundation 240 years before the building of Solomon’s Temple (Ant. viii. 3, 1).

her own feet shall carry her …] Render: whose feet used to carry her.… The reference is not to the future captivity or flight of the Tyrians (for which the expressions are unsuitable) but to the long journeys and residence in foreign parts of her enterprising merchants.Verse 7. - Is this your joyous city? literally, your joyous one; i.e. Can this wretched heap of ruins be the rich and joyous Tyre? Whose antiquity is of ancient days. Though regarded as less ancient than Zidon (Justin, 18:3), Tyro nevertheless claimed a very remote antiquity. Herodotus was told (about B.C. 450) that its temple of Hercules (Melkarth) had been built two thousand three hundred years previously (Herod., 2:44). Q. Curtius makes the city to have been founded by Agenor, the father of Cadmus, who was supposed to have lived three hundred years before the Trojan War ('Vit. Alex.,' 4:4). It must be noted, however, on the other hand, that there is no mention at all of Tyro in Homer, and none in Scripture until the time of Joshua (Joshua 19:29), about B.C. 1300. Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn (so Lowth, Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Ewald, Kay). Others render the passage, "whose feet were wont to carry her afar off to sojourn." In the one case the coming flight and exile, in the other the past commercial enterprise of the city, is pointed at. The prophecy commences by introducing the trading vessels of Phoenicia on their return home, as they hear with alarm the tidings of the fate that has befallen their home. "Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entrance any more! Out of the land of the Chittaeans it is made known to them." Even upon the open sea they hear of it as a rumour from the ships that they meet. For their voyage is a very long one: they come from the Phoenician colony on the Spanish Baetis, or the Guadalquivir, as it was called from the time of the occupation by the Moors. "Ships of Tarshish" are ships that sail to Tartessus (lxx inaccurately, πλοῖα Καρχηδόνος). It is not improbable that the whole of the Mediterranean may have been called "the sea to Tarshish;" and hence the rendering adopted by the Targum, Jerome, Luther, and others, naves maris (see Humboldt, Kosmos, ii. 167, 415). These ships are to howl (hēlı̄lū instead of the feminine, as in Isaiah 32:11) because of the devastation that has taken place (it is easy to surmise that Tyre has been the victim); for the home and harbour, which the sailors were rejoicing at the prospect of being able to enter once more, have both been swept away. Cyprus was the last station on this homeward passage. The Chittim (written in the legends of coins and other inscriptions with Caph and Cheth) are the inhabitants of the Cyprian harbour of Citium and its territory. But Epiphanius, the bishop of Salamis in the island of Cyprus, says that Citium was also used as a name for the whole island, or even in a still broader sense. Cyprus, the principal mart of the Phoenicians, was the last landing-place. As soon as they touch the island, the fact which they have only heard of as a rumour upon the open sea, is fully disclosed (niglâh), i.e., it now becomes a clear undoubted certainty, for they are told of it by eye-witnesses who have made their escape to the island. The prophet now turns to the Phoenicians at home, who have this devastation in prospect.
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