Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
2. TYRE AND SIDON (CH. 26–28)
EZEKIEL 26:1. And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first of the month, that the word of Jehovah came to me, saying: 2Son of man, because Tyre [Heb. Zor] says upon Jerusalem, Aha, broken is [has become] the gate of the people; it turns itself [or, is turned] to me; I will be [become] full; she is [has become] desolate. 3Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I am against [over] thee, Tyre, and I bring up upon thee many nations [heathen peoples], as the sea mounts up by his 4waves. And they destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers; and I 5sweep her dust out of her, and give her as a mere [bald] rock. A spreading of nets shall she be in the midst of the sea; for I have spoken—sentence of the Lord Jehovah—and she is for a booty to the nations. 6And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain with the sword: and they know that I am Jehovah. 7For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, out of the north, a king of kings, with horse, and with chariot, 8and with riders, and company, and much people. Thy daughters in the field he will kill with the sword, and he gives against thee a battering-tower, and casts up 9a wall against thee, and places against thee a buckler. And the thrust of his breaker will he give against thy walls, and break down thy towers with his 10swords. From the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee; from the sound of the rider, and the wheel, and the chariot shall thy walls shake, at his entering into thy gates, as one cometh into a broken city. 11With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread all thy streets: thy people shall he slay with the sword, 12and the pillars of thy strength he shall throw down to the earth. And they plunder thy wealth, and despoil thy merchandise [thy commercial goods], and break down thy walls, and the houses of thy pleasure shall they pull down, and shall 13lay thy stones and thy timbers and thy dust in the midst of the sea. And I make to cease the noise of thy songs, and the sound of thy harps shall no more 14be heard. And I give thee as a mere [bare] rock: a spreading of nets shalt thou be; thou shalt be built no more: for I, Jehovah, have spoken it—sentence of the Lord Jehovah. 15Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to Tyre, Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, of the groaning of the pierced-thought, at the murder and 16murder in thy midst? And all the princes of the sea descend from their thrones, and lay aside their robes, and shall put off their embroidered garments: in terror shall they clothe themselves: upon the ground shall they sit and tremble 17every moment, and are astonished at thee. And they raise over thee a lamentation, and say to thee: How art thou destroyed, inhabited, out of the seas, renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which gave their terror to all her inhabitants! 18Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy downfall, and the islands which are in the sea shall be amazed at thy disappearing [lit., going out]. 19For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, When I give thee as a desolate city, as cities [are] which are not inhabited, when I make the 20flood to come over thee, and the waters, the many, cover thee; and I make thee to come down with those that go down to the pit, to the people of ancient time; and I cause thee to dwell in the land of the depths, in wildernesses from of old, with those that go down to the pit, so that thou mayest not be inhabited: there 21have I given beauty in the land of the living. For a terror will I give thee, and thou art not [any more]; thou shalt be sought for, and shalt not be found any more for ever. Sentence of the Lord Jehovah.
Ezekiel 26:1. Sept.: ... μια του μηνος του πρωτου—
Ezekiel 26:2. … συνετριβε, ἀπολωλεν, τα ἐθνη ἐπεστραφη προς με, ἡ πληρης ἠρημωται—Sept. read: נמלאה; so also Chald., Ar., Syr.: desolata est.
Ezekiel 26:4. ... πυργους σου, και λικμησω τον χουν αὐτης ἀπ̓ αὐτης.
Ezekiel 26:6. Sept.: ... αἱ ἐν τω πεδιῳ—
Ezekiel 26:7. ... και συναγωγης πολλης ἐθνων σφοδρα.
Ezekiel 26:8. ... προφυλακην κ. περιοικοδομησει, κ. περιποιησει ἐπι σε κυκλῳ σου χαρακα κ. βελοστασεις ὁπλων, κ. τας λογχας αὐτου ἐπι σε δωσει. (9) Τα τειχη σου κ. τους πυργους—Vulg.: Et vineas et arietes … destruet in armatura sua.
Ezekiel 26:10. Sept.: ... ὡς ὁ εἰσπορευομενος … ἐκ τεδιου.
Ezekiel 26:11. ... κ. την ὑποστασιν τ. ἰσχυος σου ἐπι … καταξει.
Ezekiel 26:13. Κ. καταλυσει … τ. μουσικων σου … των ψαλ τηριων σου—
Ezekiel 26:16. ... ἐκ τ. ἐθνων τ. θαλασσης … τ. μιτρας ἀπο τ. κεφαλων αὐτων … και ἐκστασει ἐκστησονται … φοβηθησονται τ. ἀπωλειαν αὐτων.—Vulg.: … auferent exuvias suas … et attoniti super repentino casu tuo admirabuntur.
Ezekiel 26:17. Sept.: ... και κατελυθης ἐκ θαλασσης … ἡ δουσα τ. φοβον αὐτης.—Vulg.: … quos formidabant universi.
Ezekiel 26:18. Vulg.: … eo quod nullus egrediatur ex te (other read. האיים).
Ezekiel 26:19. Sept.: ... ἐπι σε τ. ἀβυσσον—
Ezekiel 26:20. ... προς τ. καταβαινοντας εἰς βοθρον … ὠς ἐρημον αἰωνιον μετα καταβαιν. … ὁπως … μηδε ἀνασταθης ἰει γης ζωης. (Some Codd. have אל יורדי.)
Ezekiel 26:1. The Starting-point of the Prophecy.
The year indicated in this verse is that of the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem (Jer. 39:2); therefore the parallels suggested are: Tyre against Jerusalem, Tyre as Jerusalem. The blank month (as also at Ezekiel 32:17) some (for example, HENGST.) would supply out of Ezekiel 24:1, therefore the tenth, as pointing back to the beginning of the siege; others, and of these already the Sept., by taking the number given for the day (on the first) as applying also to the month. If we do not resort to a slip of the scribe (KEIL), we may as well suppose, with Hävernick, the fifth month suggested by the specified year as that of the destruction of Jerusalem, as, with Kimchi, the fourth month of the same year for the conquest of the city (Jer. 52:5, 6, 12). With both suppositions Ezekiel 26:2 agrees, where the hostile utterances might well enough have proceeded on the ground of what, if not actually done, was certainly in the course of being done.
Ezekiel 26:2–6. Outline of the Judgment in the general
Ezekiel 26:2 (Ezekiel 25:3). צוּר=צוֹר ,צֹר, that is, flint-stone, rock (sarra)—the Greek designation Τὐρος, from the Chaldaic form מוּר—was that Phenician city which for a long course of time possessed the supremacy that had previously been exercised by Sidon. In the present time it is pronounced by the Arabians Ssur. On account of its connection with the coalition, Tyre forms the more clamant an occasion for God’s judgment, as, being, according to Hävernick, “on the summit of external splendour, it then deemed itself to be invincible;” and according to Hengst., it was, “along with Egypt and Babylon, the most glorious concentration of the worldly power.” דלתות, plural, the gate-leaves, for the gate, hence with the sing, of the verb. Jerusalem was not thus spoken of by Tyre, because many people were generally going and coming there, which also would not have been expressed by העמים (the peoples), but either with reference to the messengers of the coalition, who assembled there (Jer. 27), or, as Hitzig supposes, as a centre of foreign commerce, a business-mart, for which a natural jealousy could speak, since Solomon had established the commerce of Palestine. Hengst. looks upon Jerusalem as a “world-city, because it regarded the true religion as the highest good,” and makes the Messianic expectations of Zion to have been known in Tyre, and to have awakened bad blood in the proud queen of the seas (?). The streaming of the peoples thither, on account of which the gate was said to be broken, is to him the Jerusalem for the future brought to view (Isa. 2:2; Mic. 4:1), as Jerusalem was at all times a magnet for the minds in heathendom that sought after God.—נסבה, Niph. from סבב, fitly spoken of a gate (comp. Prov. 26:14). If with reference to Jerusalem it was broken down, then with reference to Tyre it is turned towards him; that is, the commerce of the people is open to him; he has that alone now which hitherto he had to share with Jerusalem. [KLIEFOTH: into Jerusalem’s gate, hitherto shut to the peoples, on religious grounds, Tyre might now especially draw in, turn it to account (?). Hitzig derives the subject from what follows, and translates: “her fulness turns itself to me.”]—The being full (Ezekiel 27:25) has respect to traffic and the wealth which flows from it.
Ezekiel 26:3 (Ezekiel 13:8, 20)—the many nations correspond as well to the general comprehensive outline of the prophecy in this first section, as they answer to the outspoken scorn of Tyre and his malicious arrogant speculations (Ezekiel 26:2).—The pictorial representation is derived from the marine situation of Tyre. Hitzig, who thinks of the particular bands of the host to be brought up, makes the sea the accusative, supplies the subject from the context, and takes לְגליו distributively; as the sea in regard to its waves, one after the others, and over the others. According to Ewald, לְ denotes the accusative. Hengst. explains according to Ezekiel 26:19: “as if I brought up the sea and its waves.” This representation already suggests the younger Tyre (Φοινισσα νασος in Euripides), which stood upon the island-rock hard by the coast, that is now united to the land. The walls and towers in Ezekiel 26:4 appear to be quite in accord with the general character of the prophecy, and to go farther beyond the time of Nebuchadnezzar than some have supposed (CURTIUS, iv., ARRIAN, ii.), although the five years’ siege which it sustained against Salmanassar seems to imply the existence then of walls and towers (JOSEPHUS, Antiq. viii. 5). Hiram II. not only built the temple of Melkarth, and formed both the islands into one, but also added an entirely new quarter to the city (Eurychoron), and surrounded the city with a strong wall. A second harbour was besides added by him, and a palace erected for him, while old Tyre fell more into the background. What is here said, however, of the fortifications might equally, if not rather, be said of the old city, which was built upon the land; since insular Tyre came into consideration pre-eminently on account of the Melkarth temple, the old national sanctuary of the “Tyrian Heracles,” which stood upon its north side, on a second small island somewhat farther to sea, on account also of the maritime power of the state, what belonged to it as a fleet-station. Whence the name very specially reflected its insular position; so that insular Tyre must here be regarded as a pregnant title for the whole.—Her dust is the rubbish of the demolished buildings. סחיתי, I sweep, only here, from סחה, to sweep, forms a paronomasia with שׁחתי, and prepares for the following, in which Tyre, that in Ezekiel 26:2 had boasted it over the desolated Jerusalem as being full, should be reduced to its original bare condition. A papyrus roll, which has preserved to us an account of an Egyptian officer’s journey, describes insular Tyre in its beginnings as a village, which lies on a rock in the midst of the sea: people bring water to it in wherries, and the place abounds with fish.—Ezekiel 24:7, 8 Nomen omen.
Ezekiel 26:5. משׁטח denotes a place where something is spread out, here: the fishermen lay out their draw-nets to dry. So precisely did Robinson find it.—Ezekiel 7:21.
Ezekiel 26:6. The daughters of Tyre in the field are manifestly to be regarded as distinguished from insular Tyre, but, according to the general style of the section, in correspondence too with the plural, such as, if not dependent on her, submitted to the supremacy of Tyre, and then had under the ascendency of Assyria withdrawn from this relationship—as the insular city Aradus (Arvad), on the coast Antaradus (Tortosa), and Marathus (Amrit), Simyra (Sumra), Botrys (Batrun), Gebal (Byblos, Dschebeil), Beryton (Beirut), Sidon (Saida), Ssarpat (Sarepta), etc.; so, too, Palætyrus, the old city, where still exists the great old aqueduct, the Khan, and the smithy of Ras Al Ain.
Ezekiel 26:7–14. The Execution by Nebuchadnezzar
In these verses the general outline is exhibited in a detailed description suited to the time of Ezekiel, as it was to be carried into execution by Nebuchadnezzar. Here and elsewhere he is named Nebuchadrezzar (Greek: Nabuchodonosor, Nabuchodonosorus, Nabukodrosoros), upon the old Persian inscriptions at Bisutun: Nabuqadratschar, Nabuqudratschar, a name compounded of Nabu (Nebo), the name of God, Zar or Sar (prince), and Kadr (in Arab. might). According to Niebuhr, the form given here in the text would come very near to the native one. That he should be represented as coming out of the north points to the way by which he was to come on Judah.—King of kings, on account of the vanquished princes, along with Great King, a common title in the inscriptions.—The rhetorical delineation of the army is not to be pressed. Horse and chariot look away in the first instance from the manning; they fetch up the riders for horse, for chariots, perhaps company (קהל), in order to close with the great multitude of people on foot. Hengst. understands by the riders the chariot warriors (Ezekiel 26:10). According to others, the company consists of much people (עס־רב); comp. Ezekiel 23:24.
Ezekiel 26:8. The population of the towns on the land fall under the enemy directing his attack from thence, chiefly put to the sword; and so Ezekiel 26:6 is fulfilled.—Ezekiel 21:27, 4:2.—Buckler designates the long bucklers held close together, so that in a siege men could work under their cover, and get near to the walls. On account of the distinction indicated by thy daughters in the field, the expression against thee is used, and it must consequently be the insular Tyre against which the siege conducted by Nebuchadnezzar was directed.
Ezekiel 26:9. מחי from מחה is the thrusting. קֹבֶל must, according to Gesenius, be that which lies over against, therefore, with מחי, percussio oppositi, for wall-breaker (battering-ram). קבל without doubt indicates a besieging instrument in general, if not some one in particular. (Chald. percussio tormentorum suorum.) Meier thinks of what envelopes, protects, covers (קובע, buckler), hence of the protecting cover under which men attacked with the battering-ram, similarly as צנה in Ezekiel 26:8. “The thrust of his protecting cover,” that is, what he effects under the same, etc. Hävernick translates מחי by extirpation, and קבלֹ by defence (?). Hengst.: “The destruction of his battering-ram, or engine.” “מחה, from which מחי comes, is always used in the sense of destroying, extirpating, etc.; and so, not thrusting or striking, but destruction is the natural meaning of the noun. קבלֹ is anything in front of, or opposition to, another; hence kaballo is a general designation of what the enemy was to put in hostile array against the walls of Tyre—his enginery. And the two words together may be fitly expressed by, his enginery of destruction.”—P. F.]—The swords kill the defenders of the towers, in consequence of which the towers are torn down. As Häv. justly remarks, the unusual, the superhuman, the fact that God Himself was in the work, is meant to be represented. This idea, however, is found by Häv., not in the words killing the defenders of the towers, but being said to break down the towers—as if the words had imparted to them a supernatural force, to do a work not proper to them.—P. F.] Most, however, generalize the expression בחרבותיו into: “through his iron,” thinking of iron hooks, which were driven in, cutting into the hook-work J. H. MICHAELIS: securibus).
Ezekiel 26:10. The expressions here are of a poetico-rhetorical character. The land moves into the sea, as it where, with its dust, through the excessive number of cavalry moving into the island-city. Wheel and chariot are distinguished with reference to the wound, which is ascribed to them, rolling and battling. As the siege already described, so show the pressing into the taken city presupposes silently, because quite self-evidently, a connecting found between the land and insular Tyre, which, according to Hengst., must already have existed, but probably was thrown up by Nebuchadnezzar or the purposes of the siege. It is made perfectly hear by the כמבואי that Tyre as well as every their (land-city) was vanquished. (“The uncommon sea-fortress must sink down before his power into a common stronghold.”) מבקעה, Hitzig: “more exactly, one burst open, taken by storm.”
Ezekiel 26:11. מצבה, from נצב, is something it right up, a pillar, not to be thought of as applying to memorial pillars of heroes or kings, but monuments of national strength in the temple if Hercules, such as the two mentioned by Herodotus (of gold [chrysolith] and emerald). Sepp.: At the entrance into the temple of Melkarth Mood two pillars (like Boaz and Jachin at Jerusalem), as the well-known boundary-pillars or an-stadia in front of all the temples of Hercules, which should set a bound to deluges and conflarations—water and fire. “According to others: the gods of Tyre go down in the dust. Hengst.: These pillars were symbols of the power and glory of Tyre.”
Ezekiel 26:12. רכל of going about, tafficking. Treasures and wares.—ובתי חמדתך, Hengst.: “Thy beautiful houses,” corresponding to palaces, Isa. 23:13. Hitzig: “More exactly after which one has desire, which please one.” wald: “The beautiful turreted dwellings and summer towers of the rich merchant-princes.” Häv.: “On account of the limited space, very high houses, such as did not exist even in Rome” (Strabo, 16). These were to the home-returning merchants the object of their longing desire; as in Isa. 23, it is with the impression upon such home-voyagers that the prophecy opens. Arsenals and wharfs, the buildings adapted for marine trade, might also be meant.—Stones, wood, dust, point to the entire ruins; comp. Ezekiel 26:4.
Ezekiel 26:13. So comes the constrained Sabbath upon song and lyre, noise and pleasure. Nothing remains but the silent rocks and the desert sea.
Ezekiel 26:14. The resumption (as already at Ezekiel 26:12) of Ezekiel 26:4, 5 conducts back what was accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar to the general outline at the beginning, just as what is said in Isa. 23:15 sq. is to be thought of episodically in the Epos on Tyre. To this latter point matters were tending with Tyre, and Nebuchadnezzar was a force in regard to it.
Ezekiel 26:15–18. The Impression made by the Fall of Tyre
Ezekiel 26:15. הלא, in the form of a question we have the sure prognostication of what would, on the spreading of the report of Tyre’s fall, be the impression made by it in the colonies. The same enemy, indeed, did not harass them; but what can now any longer be placed aloft above others? What can still be secure before others?—The fall must be rendered palpable by the groaning, etc.—איים are the seaboard regions as well as the isles.—Hitzig notices the excellent choice of the expression, as the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean are precisely those which have been commonly visited by a shaking (earthquake, רעש).
Ezekiel 26:16. We must call to mind the settlements of the Phœnicians in the Sidonian and Tyrian period along the various coasts, in Cyprus, Rhodes, Malta, in Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, the Baleares, and think of Utica, Gades (Cadiz), Kalpe (Gibraltar), Malaka (Malaga), etc. On the princes of the sea, comp. Isa. 23:8. One can imagine the princely might and pomp of the chief men in these places of commerce, the aristocratic style of their public appearances.—What follows is a description of the Eastern way of mourning.—Jon. 3:6; Ezekiel 21:31 .—מעיל, outer garment, wide for display.—Ezekiel 16:18.—Instead of all glory, which they lay aside, they clothe themselves in terrors.—Ezekiel 7:27; Job 12:13.—וחרדו repeats חרדות.—לרגעים, at moments, so that the trembling, like a fever, never for a moment leaves them (Hitzig).
Ezekiel 26:17; Ezekiel 19:1.—The catastrophe and ruins ask, How could so peculiar, wonderful, famous, powerful a place have met its overthrow?—Häv.: “Ah! how art thou condemned to the ground, thou inhabitress of the seas!” since מימים is = upon the seas there; but the city that dwelt away upon the seas is that whose inhabitants spread themselves over the seas, settled down there. Others: inhabited, peoples from the seas, that is, sea-dwellers, sea-peoples. Hitzig: “Thou populous in the sea,” properly, forth of the sea, or more exactly, from out of the sea. “Bearing a human population, it jutted up immediately above the surface of the water, as if it had sprung from the lap of the sea.”—Ewald reads, after Ezekiel 27:34, נִשְׁכַּרְתְּ, shattered out of the seas. Some have also read מִיָּמִים = from days (of old), from everlasting inhabited.—ההללה from הלל, to make shining, to praise.—She is called strong in the sea (בים); Hitzig: through the sea, her maritime position. More correctly: in the sea, in the strong element it was a strong city; therefore not only a sea-power, but a power in the mighty sea.—חתיתם is the terrors ascribed to Tyre and its inhabitants. These terrors of her name she gave far and wide through the sea (in consequence of her wealth, her greatness, and power), to all her inhabitants, which would point to Venice similarly situated, if therewith it were meant that the city with its population inspired before it fear into all its individual inhabitants, held them over against one another in fear and trembling (COCC.). It must rather be meant that the terror of the Tyrian supremacy stuck and adhered to every Tyrian, as later something of the same sort to every Roman. Comp. Hitzig. [HENGST.: “Tyre had a double class of inhabitants—her citizens, and her connections in the colonies, who, ideally taken, dwelt in Tyre, because the roots of their existence were there. The inhabitants in the one sense were the terror of the inhabitants in the other. They must bow before them, and obey their commands.” So previously Hävernick. (Isa. 23:2.) Ewald refers the second יושׁביה to the inhabitants of the sea, which is hardly feminine. The Syriac supplies חארץ, omnibus habitatoribus terrœ.]
Ezekiel 26:18. Hitherto Tyre had frightened all; now all are frightened over Tyre. אשׁר נים sharpens the idea of island, and intensifies the preceding האין.—Comp. Ezekiel 26:16.—If Tyre fell, what issue then awaits even islands in the midst of the sea? The issue, outgoing, is more nearly defined by the fall. Others have thought of emigration, flight in the ships.
Ezekiel 26:19–21. The End and—a Beginning
An epilogue in these verses.—נחרבת looks back to החרבה in Ezekiel 26:2.—בהעלות parallel to בתתי, hut containing the thought of destruction in an image, which at the same time prepares for Ezekiel 26:20, 21. The flood rises out of the depth to fetch down the city covered with many waters, with its rubbish and its corpses.—תהום, from הום (המה), is the swelling depth, the boiling mass of water up from the sea. [According to Hengst., it is ideal: the overflowing of the nations—for which Ezekiel 26:3 supplies no ground.]
Ezekiel 26:20. The city goes along with it, as with the dead generally, אל־עס עולם, either general: to the people among the hidden, in the darkness of the realms of death; or more special: to the people of ancient time; or quite special: to the people covered, buried by the deluge (HENGST.: the ancestral guests of hell, Gen. 6:4).—תחתיות, the lowest depths, pictured out by בחרבות מעולם, in the uninhabited places from everlasting, by means of which “the image of the destruction, the annihilation of all human greatness, is thoroughly completed” (Häv.). As the going down, so also the dwelling is coloured by the fellowship of the dead, in parallel sentences.—למען לא תשׁבי, some, so that thou dwellest not, namely, longer where thou dost dwell; Hengst: “that thou sit not,” but mayst lie down. The intention is perhaps to be understood of the entire disappearance from among the dwelling-places of men; comp. at Ezekiel 29:11.—ונתתי, unless dependent upon למען, introduces a new sentence, and then fitly a conclusion. Or Ezekiel 26:20: “Then I make thee go down,” sq., “then I make thee dwell,” sq., “then give I thee,” sq. Over against the ruin of Tyre comes beauty (ornament, Ezekiel 25:9)—(with that בארץ תחתיות, with this חייס בארץ)—the land of the living, earth with its life-hope, life-development, over against the lower world separated by death; Ps. 27:13. [Hitzig: “And that thou shed not forth renown in the land of the living.” Ewald reads ולא תִנָּצְבִי, and translates: “that thou remain not, nor exist in,” etc. Kliefoth: “that thou be not inhabited, and I do not make glorious (namely, in respect to thee, Tyre (?)) in the land.” The negative ought to be applied to both clauses of the verse: not be inhabited, and not set as an ornament. The Chaldee and those who followed it understood the last clauses of Judah, and hence took it positively. But the Sept. properly understood both clauses of Tyre, and took both negatively.—P. F.]
Ezekiel 26:21. Close of Tyre, בלהות, of frightful judgments, and indeed of sudden destruction. Therefore to be made an example of such. Gesenius concretely: I will make thee for the down-going, that is, into something that goeth down. Philippson: “I suddenly annihilate thee.”—The נתתי צבי is met by this בלהות אתנך.—Comp. besides, Ps. 37:10, 36.
And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,