Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,…
There is no reason why we should not regard the biblical narrative of Adam's trial and fall as fact and as allegory also. There is no real discrepancy between these two principles of interpretation. We are bound to accept it as a narrative of historical fact. Yet it is also an outline picture of every man's history. In each man's case there is the Edenic period of innocence, there is the crisis of first temptation, there is the fall, and then the banishment from Edenic joy. The circumstances of the first probation are more clearly and vividly reproduced in the case of a young prince than in any other. Hence the application to the King of Tyre.
I. THE KING CONSIDERED AS THE IDEAL MAN. Adam was placed in Eden as a monarch. He was placed in dominion over all creatures in earth, or air, or sea. This gave him a great "coin of vantage." In this respect he was made after the pattern of God - he was God-like. All that ministered to his needs was within his reach. Not a thing was denied to him that could meet a want or satisfy a just desire. His home was stored with every form of beauteous vegetation and with every kind of precious gem. And he was priest as well as king. He had access to God at all times. In him creation was summed up. In a similar position was the King of Tyrus placed. All material good was within his reach. There was no temptation to acquire wealth by unlawful means. Tyre and its possessions were to him as a garden, over which he could roam at large, He stood towards men in the stead of God - the dispenser of truth and justice. He was gifted with robust health and with abundant wisdom. He had all that heart could wish. He was placed in an Eden of abundance - "in Eden, the garden of God." Like Adam, he was on his trial.
II. THE TEMPTATION. To every man temptation comes. If his heart be not set upon the acquisition of spiritual riches - wisdom, holiness, and love - he will desire inordinately the lower good, and will break through lawful restraints in order to possess it. This is the core and essence of temptation. In this way the King of Tyre was tested. He was set up by God to exemplify righteousness, and to administer justice among the people. Nor among his own subjects only, but from his high position "the mountain of God" - he could have disseminated righteous principles among all the nations with whom Tyre traded. Yet in this respect the king egregiously failed. His love of gain was too great - was excessive. It overmastered his love of righteousness. What advantage he could not gain by fair and legitimate methods he extorted by violence. This is clear from Ver. 16, "By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence." If the king personally was not the prime instigator of these deeds, he connived at them through unprincipled or corrupt judges. His prosperity and glory made him vain and arrogant. Temptation came to pluck the forbidden fruit, and the king weakly yielded.
III. THE CRIME. The crime was selfishness, covetousness, avarice. This favored and fortunate man was placed in the possession of abundance. There was one thing he might not do. He might not rob others to enrich himself. The possessions of the foreigner ought to have been as much respected and protected as his own. But the devil whispered in his ear counsels of unrighteous enrichment, and he listened, wavered, succumbed. "Iniquity was found in thee." "Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom;" i.e. thou hast twisted it into cunning and craftiness. "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic." He had imagined that no higher power than himself would supervise his deeds. "God is not observant of such things," said his wily tempter. "Thou shalt not surely die." This was his crime. His very brightness - his prosperity - brought him into scenes of new temptation. He might have blessed mankind; but he was set on selfish ends. He was in indecent haste to aggrandize self. He trampled on others' rights, on law and order, that he might swell his self-importance. He chafed against the idea that he, a king, was only a subject to a higher scepter. He would brook no interference with his proud will. This was his crime.
IV. THE RAVISHMENT. "I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God.... I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." The exclusion from Eden is here repeated. The changes of fortune through which Adam passed, every one, in a measure, passes through also. "I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee." No heavier punishment can be passed upon a man than banishment from God's favor. Where God is, there is safety; where God is not, there is ruin. Where God is, there is heaven; where he is not, there is hell. To be forsaken of God - this is despair and woe. God departed from Saul, and straightway he began to descend the slippery plane that landed him in destruction. Appearances are very delusive. The eye is easily deceived. Beneath a fair exterior of prosperity there is often incipient decay, yea, corruption hastening to final ruin. "Pride goeth before a fall." If we have made God our foe, not all the alliances and intrigues in the universe can save us from destruction. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,