A Picture of Extensive Commercial Relations
Ezekiel 27:12-25
Tarshish was your merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead…

Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches, etc. The following topics are suggested for consideration.

I. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE PRODUCTS OF CREATION IN THE VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD. We see from the verses before us that Type drew its supplies from and sent its productions to most or all the places of the then known civilized world. No country can supply its own inhabitants with all the necessaries and luxuries of life. Every country produces something which, if not needful, is desirable for other countries. No one can say to another, "I have no need of thee." In this arrangement we have an evidence of the wisdom and goodness of the Creator.

II. THE MUTUAL DEPENDENCE AND INTERCOURSE OF NATIONS ARISING OUT OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE PRODUCTS. Tyre had commercial relations with all the places mentioned in our text. Amongst these different peoples there was a mutual dependence. The interests not even of the mightiest and most extensive empire are absolutely self-contained or independent of others. The strong depend upon the weak at least for some things. Today Great Britain draws supplies for her countless and multifarious wants from every quarter and almost (if we may use the expression) from every corner of the world, and sends her products to every part of the world. This mutual dependence and intercourse of nations helps forward the development and progress of mankind. It contributes to the recognition of excellence in others, though it may be of a type different from our own, to the enlargement of our views and ideas, so the promotion of peace, etc.

III. THE DUTY AND INTEREST OF NATIONS TO CULTIVATE PEACEFUL AND FRIENDLY MUTUAL RELATIONS. Mutual dependence and interests should beget mutual consideration. Misunderstandings and wars amongst nations are exceedingly prejudicial to commercial development and prosperity. Wars severely check both the cultivation and the distribution of the products of the countries which are engaged therein. They lay waste lands, they block up ports, they draw men away from peaceful and remunerative industries, and they tax national resources which might otherwise be profitably employed. A just and comprehensive view of commercial relations and the conditions of commercial prosperity would constitute a strong barrier against war and a powerful incentive to international peace and friendship.

"War's a game which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at. Nations would do well
To extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil,
Because men suffer it, their toy the world."


IV. THE DIVINE OBSERVATION OF COMMERCIAL RELATIONS AND PRACTICES. This minute and extensive recognition and enumeration of the dealings of Tyre with other places and peoples, in the inspired message of the prophet, implies such observation. God's law is coextensive with man's life. No province of our being and activity is beyond his authority. no transactions of our life escape his notice. Well does Matthew Henry say, "This account of the trade of Tyre intimates to us that God's eye is upon men, and that he takes cognizance of what they do when they are employed in their worldly business, not only when they are at church, praying and hearing, but when they are in their markets and fairs, and upon the exchange, buying and selling, which is a good reason why we should in all our dealings keep a conscience void of offence, and have our eye always upon him whose eye is always upon us." And Scott, "They who engage in commerce should remember that they are the servants of God, and learn to conduct their business according to the precepts of his Word, in submission to his providence, and with an aim to his glory."

V. THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE IN COMMERCE OF RIGHTEOUS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES. Selfish disregard of the interests of others (Ezekiel 26:2), proud boasting of her own power, prosperity, and glory (Ver. 3; Ezekiel 28:2-5); and a debasing idolatry, - led to the overthrow of Tyre. Apart from righteousness, commercial and all other prosperity will pass away. Tyre was once the most famous city "in the world for trade and commerce. But," as Bishop Newton observes, "trade 'is a fluctuating thing; it passed from Tyre to Alexandria, from Alexandria to Venice, from Venice to Antwerp, from Antwerp to Amsterdam and London, the English rivaling the Dutch, as the French are now (1754) rivaling both. All nations almost are wisely applying themselves to trade; and it behooves those who are in possession of it to take the greatest care that they do not lose it. It is a plant of tender growth, and requires sun and soil and fine seasons to make it thrive and flourish. It will not grow like the palm tree, which with the more weight and pressure rises the more. Liberty is a friend to that, as that is a friend to liberty. But the greatest enemy to both is licentiousness, which tramples upon all law and lawful authority, encourages riots and tumults, promotes drunkenness and debauchery, sticks at nothing to supply its extravagance, practices every art of illicit gain, ruins credit, ruins trade, and will in the end ruin liberty itself. Neither kingdoms nor commonwealths, neither public companies nor private persons, can long carry on a beneficial flourishing trade without virtue, and[ what virtue teacheth, sobriety, industry, frugality, modesty, honesty, punctuality, humanity, charity, the love of our country, and the fear of God. The prophets will inform us how the Tyrians lost it; and the like causes will always produce like effects." ('Diss. on the Prophecies,' diss. 11) - W.J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.

WEB: Tarshish was your merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for your wares.

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