The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,…
This portion of Ezekiel's writings evinces a very remarkable acquaintance with the geography and the economics of the then known world. Perhaps the prophet, living in the heart of a great Oriental monarchy, and in intercourse not only with his countrymen, but with men of various nationalities, may have acquired something more of a cosmopolitan habit of mind than was common among the Jews. Certain it is that the commercial relations of Tyre are described with singular care and minute accuracy. It is evident that, in the view of Ezekiel, every society and community of men was in some way connected with the reign of God upon earth; that whilst in a special sense Jehovah was accounted the Sovereign of the Hebrews, there was a very important sense in which all peoples were subject to Divine authority, and were the objects of Divine regard and interest. The sympathies of Ezekiel, though patriotic, were far from being narrow and provincial. He was able, by the force of historical imagination, to consider Tyre as, for a time and for a purpose, the center of the life and activity of the world. Though inspired to foretell Tyre's destruction, the prophet was by no means insensible to Tyre's beauty and splendor, to the magnificent range of the city's commerce and interests, to the importance of the city to the work and well-being of the nations. There may have been something of rhetorical art in thus dilating upon Tyre's glory in the very moment of foretelling Tyre's fall. But the religions motive was the strongest. Ezekiel wished to show that, however indispensable a city or a state may be in the view of men, God does not regard it as indispensable, and may even fulfill his purposes by bringing about its dissolution and destruction. In this brilliant sketch of the position of Tyre among the nations of the earth, we may recognize -
I. THE STATELINESS OF THE CITY'S BEAUTY.
II. THE SPLENDOUR OF THE CITY'S FLEETS.
III. THE SKILL OF THE CITY'S MARINERS.
IV. THE VALOR OF THE CITY'S ARMIES.
V. THE VASTNESS OF THE CITY'S TRADE. It is in this connection that Ezekiel introduces neighboring and even distant states, showing in detail in what manner each was connected with Tyre, what were the natural productions or manufactures which they brought to the world's great emporium. It was as a commercial port that Tyre was celebrated, and by its ships and its fearless, adventurous navigators distant lands were brought within the range of civilization.
VI. THE ABUNDANCE OF THE CITY'S WEALTH.
VII. THE GLORY OF THE CITY'S RENOWN.
VIII. THE HOLLOWNESS OF THE CITY'S PROSPERITY. NO wonder that Tyre was the envied of the nations; no wonder that men looked upon the city as secure of a long lease of opulence, of ease and luxury, of splendor, of power, and of fame. Yet beneath all this there was wanting the basis upon which alone can be surely reared the edifice of true prosperity. There was boasting and arrogance; but there was no humility, no subjection to the righteous sway of the Eternal King, no recognition of the sacred responsibilities which accompany the possession of advantages and acquisitions such as those of Tyre. Thus it was that in the time of trial the city was found incapable of enduring and of profiting by Divine discipline. It was founded, not upon the rock of righteousness and piety, but upon the shifting quick sands of worldly prosperity and renown. It fell, and great was the fall of it. "Every plant," said Jesus, "which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be plucked up." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,