The Sin of Tyre
Ezekiel 27:1-36
The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,…

To Ezekiel, as to the prophets generally, Tyre is the representative of commercial greatness, and the truth which he here seeks to illustrate is that the abnormal development of the mercantile spirit had in her case destroyed the capacity of faith in that which is truly Divine. The real god of Tyre was not Baal nor Melkarth, but the king, or any other object that might serve as a symbol of her civic greatness. Her religion was one that embodied itself in no outward ritual; it was the enthusiasm which was kindled in the heart of every citizen of Tyre by the magnificence of the imperial city to which he belonged. The state of mind which Ezekiel regards as characteristic of Tyre was perhaps the inevitable outcome of a high civilisation informed by no loftier religious conceptions than those common to heathenism. It is the idea which afterwards found expression in the deification of the Roman emperors — the idea that the state is the only power higher than the individual to which he can look for the furtherance of his material and spiritual interests, the only: power, therefore, which rightly claims his homage and his reverence. None the less, it is a state of mind which is destructive of all that is essential to living religion; and Tyre in her proud self-sufficiency was perhaps further from a true knowledge of God than the barbarous tribes who in all sincerity worshipped the rude idols which represented the invisible power that ruled their destinies. And in exposing the irreligious spirit which lay at the heart of the Tyrian civilisation the prophet lays his finger on the spiritual danger which attends the successful pursuit of the finite interests of human life. The thought of God, the sense of an immediate relation of the spirit of man to the Eternal and the Infinite, are easily displaced from men's minds by undue admiration for the achievements of a culture based on material progress, and supplying every need of human nature except the very deepest, the need of God. The commercial spirit is indeed but one of the forms in which men devote themselves to the service of this present world; but in any community where it reigns supreme we may confidently look for the same signs of religious decay which Ezekiel detected in Tyre in his own day. At all events, his message is not superfluous in an age and country where energies are well-nigh exhausted in the accumulation of the means of living, and whose social problems all run up into the great question of the distribution of wealth.

(John Skinner, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,

WEB: The word of Yahweh came again to me, saying,

The Position of Tyre on Land and Sea
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