Matthew Poole's Commentary
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,Tyrus, for insulting over the distress of Jerusalem, is threatened with destruction, Ezekiel 26:1-6: of which Nebuchadrezzar shall be made the instrument, Ezekiel 26:7-14. The consternation and mourning of the isles and princes of the sea for her fall, Ezekiel 26:15-21.
The eleventh year of Jeconiah’s captivity, the year wherein Jerusalem was taken.
The first day of the month; that month which followed the taking of Jerusalem, i.e. the fifth month; for Jerusalem was taken on the fourth month, ninth day, and in twenty days after the news was brought to Tyrus, which behaved herself as the prophet will declare.
Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:Tyrus; the city for the people; it is probable it was a universal joy, therefore ascribed to the whole city, built on a rock and island of the same name, not far distant from the continent, a very great traded port and city.
Hath said; either God revealed this to the prophet so soon as these insulting Tyrians spoke it, or else Ezekiel speaks of it prophetically, and as if it were done.
Said against Jerusalem, Aha; showed great joy at the fall of Jerusalem, and triumphed over her.
She is broken by Nebuchadnezzar’s army.
The gates of the people; near to the gates of the cities were usually, the great merchants, and so here Jerusalem is called the great mart of nations and people from all parts resorting to her for trade or religion.
She is turned unto me; trading interest will turn to me, they that did carry merchandise to Jerusalem will now bring it to me.
I shall be replenished; have full trade, my haven full of ships, streets full of buyers and sellers, ships full of wares, houses full of lodgers, and purses full of money.
She is laid waste; she reflected on wasted Jerusalem with joy, which was impious, injurious, and inhuman, to rejoice in the ruin of her neighbour.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.I am against thee; and if God be against them, they will soon have enemies enough too against them: God purposeth, threateneth, and assureth them he is and will be against them.
Many nations, for number, and mighty for strength, riches, authority, and feats of war already done.
As the sea causeth his waves to come up, with such violence, constancy, swelling in height, and making thee fear the issue, so shall the Babylonians come.
And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.Destroy; batter and demolish with their mighty engines, which shall shake, disjoint, and beat down the strongest parts of their walls.
Break down; undermine, that they may tumble at once, or employ hands to take them down, as men pull down buildings.
Towers; watch-towers, and those that were for defence and safety of their city, which from their greatness have their name, Migdol.
I will also scrape her dust from her; I will leave thee nothing, thou shalt be scraped, and brushed, and swept, that not so much as dust shall remain to thee.
And make her like the top of a rock; as bare as was the rock on which thy city is built before wealth, beauty, buildings, and strength was brought to it by man’s industry.
It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.As barren sandy islets in the midst of the sea, good for nothing but to dry fishermen’s nets, shalt thou be. A spoil; a prey: though the contexture of the words place this after its being made so bare and poor, yet we are to observe, that these last words give us account how this poverty and barrenness shall come upon thy rich city; the nations shall spoil her with thirteen years’ long siege, interruption of trade, living on the quick stock, and finally taken on surrender. To the nations; Babylonians, and their confederates, who made the Tyrians pay the reckoning.
And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.Her daughters; either the lesser cities, which were as daughters to Tyre, a phrase most familiar to the Scriptures; or else their virgins, and daughters of the family.
In the field; on the firm land, if you mean cities; or surprised in the fields, whether taking the air, or seeking to escape, if you mean daughters in the latter sense.
Shall be slain by the sword; barbarous soldiers shall spare none.
They shall know that I am the Lord: see Ezekiel 25:17.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.I will bring: see Ezekiel 23:46.
A king of kings; so he styled himself, according to the vaunting manner of those countries, and indeed, by the right of conquest, he was king of kings, having many tributary kings under him, and many captive kings with him in Babylon, 2 Kings 18:28 Jeremiah 52:32. From the north; so was Babylon accounted to lie, as observed, Ezekiel 1:4, though it did not lie full north, but had some points of the north from Tyre. With horses; those Eastern kings had store of horses, and used many in their wars: see Ezekiel 26:11.
With chariots: see Ezekiel 23:24.
With horsemen: see Ezekiel 23:12. And companies; an assembly of all sorts, from all parts of the large kingdom of Babylon.
And much people; a mighty army for fighting, and mighty train of hangers-on, who were ready enough to do mischief to the country, though not very fit to assist the army; if need required, these would sweep all before them wherever they came.
He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.See Ezekiel 26:6.
Make a fort against thee: see Ezekiel 4:2 17:17.
Cast a mount against thee: he shall draw a line round about thee, and build bastions, raise sconces to defend the lines, to keep in the besieged, and secure the besiegers; or he shall pour out the shot, mighty stones or the like, out of the engines framed and placed on the forts before mentioned; for so did they of old build mighty wooden towers, and there placed engines, out of which they could fling mighty stones or darts against the besieged, who were much annoyed from these high towers, overlooking their walls and streets that none could stir out.
Lift up the buckler: see Ezekiel 23:24.
And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.Engines of war: these were mighty engines, whatever form made of, and had their description here from the irresistible force wherewith they cast stones, and beat down all before them.
Axes; whatever made of iron, and framed to demolish buildings: see Ezekiel 16:39.
By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.Their dust; the dust they raise in marching, or in their exercising, in riding to and fro; but whether while on the land, or when they entered the city, may be doubted.
Shall cover thee; as a cloud it shall cover the city.
Shall shake, as buildings do with great noise, motion. or beating on the ground.
The wheels, of their engines, or wagons, or chariots.
He shall enter into thy gates; Nebuchadnezzar, without fear, shall enter and possess his conquest, which Tyre at last yielded to him after thirteen years’ hard siege.
Wherein is made a breach; whose walls battered and leveled, there is nothing left to defend the citizens, who therefore yield, or defend the besieger, who therefore fearless entereth.
With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.In proud, stately, and menacing posture shall the king of Babylon ride through all the streets of thy city, to the grief and sorrow of the Tyrians; and so shall his troops do too.
He shall slay thy people; in the wars some of thy people shall fall by his sword; but that is no wonder; I rather think that it is meant of giving judgment against some of the most valiant, constant, and active citizens, which were the cause of the city’s holding out so long against Nebuchadnezzar, as he did with some of the nobles of Jerusalem.
Strong garrisons; bastions, or forts about the city, or triumphal arches built by Tyrians, or statues erected in honour to some eminent citizens, or to the kings of Egypt, their ancient allies, enemies to the Chaldeans; or the statues of their gods Hercules and Apollo chained, that neither in nature and angry, nor yet charmed with other men’s songs, should depart, and leave their pupils without a guard.
Shall go down to the ground; shall be all cast down together.
And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.They; Chaldean soldiers.
Make a spoil; hinder thy trade during the war, and plunder thee in the end of the war.
Make a prey of thy merchandise; intercepting much, as it is coming to thee whilst besieged, and taking what they find, when they conquer.
Break down thy walls: see Ezekiel 26:4,9; there he speaks of the walls of the city, here of the walls of private houses, as appears by that which follows. Pleasant houses, that the Tyrians dwelt in with delight, or diverted themselves in as houses of pleasure; summerhouses.
Lay thy stones, & c.
in the midst of the water: it had been a quicker and easier way to have burnt all, but it is like the greedy soldier might dream of treasure hid in walls or under the timber, and therefore they take the pains to pull all down, and throw it into the sea; the very dust too. Thus God fulfils his word, and scraped Tyrus.
And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.A populus, wealthy, ancient, and much frequented city, in the midst of great security, no doubt, had all sorts of music, and loud music on the water especially, and songs to their music; but God will dash it all.
The sound of thy harps: this particular music mentioned as one of the noblest, and most in request, but no more shall be heard in Tyre after it is taken by Nebuchadnezzar.
And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.Ezekiel 14:4,5.
Thou shalt be built no more; either not this long time, or else not built in greatness and glory, or not raised to be a kingdom, or not by the inhabitants of old Tyre, or not with the same laws, customs, and usages; indeed, though there was a city of that name built, yet it was built on the continent, and in propriety of speech was another city, not old Tyre.
Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?Isles, which are places freest from the danger of invasions, and in those days thought themselves safe, will think themselves in danger, and shake with fear, when they hear that Tyre is fallen; it will amaze and fright them all, when they hear thy men were wounded and slain in the midst of thee who dwellest in the sea.
Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee.The princes of the sea; who were lords of the islands in that sea, and who traded with Tyrus, and there were many such; or sea commanders, who, in their wooden world, are so many petty princes; but rather the former, the crowned heads whose kingdoms were so many islands.
Come down from their thrones, in token of sadness and condolence.
Lay away their robes, as further sign of grief.
Put off their broidered garments: this is added also to show how greatly they were affected with sorrow at this sad fall of their ally and friend.
Clothe themselves with trembling: this laying aside of their gallantry shall not be in compliment, as now in such cases of condolence, but they shall be heartily afraid of their own concerns, and astonished in the midst of their fears.
And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!They; the princes of the sea, Ezekiel 26:16.
Take up a lamentation for thee; solemnly, heartily, and for many days bewail thee.
Say to thee, by a prosopopceia, or fiction of persons, personate a dismal, sorrowful congress with fallen Tyre.
How art thou destroyed! Alas, is it so? Can it be true? How is it that thou art destroyed, who hadst so many friends, so much riches, &c.?
The renowned city; for thy strength, wealth, and wisdom.
Wast strong; strong indeed, and thought impregnable.
Cause their terror to be on all that haunt it: who durst set on thee, who overawedst all the bold adventurers at sea?
Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.The isles; or ships; so it might be rendered; whether one or other, it is the fixing for the men, as isles for islanders, or ships for mariners.
Tremble in the day of thy fall; apprehending that nothing can stand if Tyre fall, and that they are in danger too.
In the sea; at great distance, and farther from land.
Troubled; grieved and perplexed.
At thy departure; leaving thy ancient dwelling, which from eldest ages thy people had enjoyed with liberty, to go into captivity.
For thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;Shall make thee a desolate city; have made thee what now I threaten I will make thee.
Like the cities that are not inhabited; in the same state with cities that have not any to dwell in them, whose walls are broken down. and into whose streets all solitary wild beasts may come at pleasure.
The deep; figuratively, Nebuchadnezzar’s army; literally, when thy walls and ramparts are so broken down by the Chaldeans, that the Sea, at high tides, and in stormy swelling seas, overflows part of thine ancient seat.
Great waters; either literally, as the deep coming up; or metaphorically, great afflictions shall flow over thee.
When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;Bring thee down; destroy thee, slay thee, and bury thee, throw thee into the grave.
The people of old time; who are long since dead, and gone to eternity, the people of eternity.
In the low parts of the earth; another description of the grave, from the situation, and from the solitudes or desolation of it. In brief, when Tyre, as a dead man, shall be buried, forgotten and perish utterly, and my hand hath done it, then it shall be known my hand hath avenged and punished all her insolence, inhumanity, and covetousness that she discovered when she rejoiced at Jerusalem’s fall.
Shall set glory; restore the beauty, strength, wealth of Israel, bring them back to Jerusalem, to worship in a rebuilt temple, where they shall enjoy me.
The land of the living; the land of Judea, called land of the living, because a land where God will bless and give life by his word, ordinances, and Spirit: thus different shall Tryre’s captivity and Jerusalem’s be.
I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.A terror, or consumption; I will utterly consume thee; with more than one kind of destruction will I destroy thee, and make thee thereby a terror to all that hear the bruit of thee.
Thou shalt be no more: see Ezekiel 26:14. If any will be so curious as to inquire, if they come to seek out the footsteps of this ancient Tyre, they shall lose their labour, no signs of it On the rock where once it stood. Rich, populous, potent, wise, renowned Tyre, as once thou wast, shalt never more be found; and, alas, that which is now on the continent is not fit to bear its name, much less to be counted the same city.