Son of man, say to the prince of Tyrus, Thus said the Lord GOD; Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a God…
In addressing the Prince of Tyre, the prophet is in reality dealing with what may be called the national spirit pervading the proud and mighty city - a spirit regarded as embodying itself in the person of the chief ruler. The claim made by Tyre, and disputed by the prophet, is a claim to virtual divinity. Exalted above other cities, Tyre deems itself superior to human infirmity and to human fortune. This attitude God resents; and his representative here declares it to be the deep-seated and ultimate reason and cause of Tyre's approaching overthrow and destruction.
I. THE GROUND OF THIS ARROGANT CLAIM.
1. There is on the part of Tyre an assumption of extraordinary wisdom, superior to that of Daniel, a wisdom from which no secret can be hidden.
2. By the exercise of this singular wisdom and understanding, the city has devised means, such as the enterprise of its merchants, by which it has accumulated riches, and has filled its treasuries with store of gold and silver and all the conveniences and luxuries which wealth can purchase.
3. The eminent position among the nations which Tyre has thus attained, the honor accorded to it, its weight in political relations, have so lifted up its heart that it claims to be a god, and to sit in the seat of God. By this must be understood a claim and assumption to be superior to the need of any Divine care or protection, to be independent of all assistance of any kind, to be secure against the assault of any foe, and even against the mutability characteristic of the human lot. This is arrogance beyond what is to be found even in the wisest and the greatest of mankind.
II. THE VANITY AND FOLLY OF THIS ARROGANT CLAIM. A state is a human institution; and although it undoubtedly embodies the Divine idea and principle of authority requiring submission, although there is such a thing as national character and national life, still every earthly and human institution, beginning in time, ends in time, and participates in human weakness and ignorance. They who claim deity for aught earthly cannot understand what Deity is, how it is creative and not created, eternal and not transitory, immutable and not shifting, perfect and not subject to development and dissolution. To know one's self is true wisdom; he who forgets or disclaims his humanity is the subject of illusion, and illusion which must be speedily and irretrievably dispelled.
III. THE SINFULNESS OF THIS ARROGANT CLAIM. The assumption of Tyre is rebuked and censured, not as a violation of good taste, not as an insult to other nations, but as a defiance of the Lord of all. To claim unfailing wisdom and irresistible power is to assume the attributes, to aspire to the throne, of the Eternal. Pride has been reckoned as one of the seven deadly sins. It is indeed pernicious in its effect upon the character of those who suffer it to take possession of their being and to control the habits of their life. It is offensive and injurious in its influence upon human society. But primarily it is a sin against God - the placing of the creature in that supreme position which is God's of right, and God's alone.
IV. THE DISPROOF OF THIS ARROGANT CLAIM. Events occur which dispel human illusions, confound human vanity, and unmask human pretensions. In the days of its prosperity and power, men, ever ready to flatter and to worship the great, were too ready to concede the extravagant and monstrous claims Tyre advanced. But the time of trial comes, and their baselessness and absurdity are exposed. Evils which a Divine power would avert prove able to assault and master the pretentious and self-confident. The one great lesson of human history is this - man is but man, and not God.
V. THE PUNISHMENT OF THIS ARROGANT CLAIM. In the zenith of its prosperity, the acme of its power, Tyre is confronted by a force mightier than its own. The agency is the king and army of Babylon; but the great Actor in the awful scenes which transpire is none other than the Eternal himself. The forces of Tyre are defeated, the fleets of Tyre destroyed, the walls of Tyre razed, the wealth of Tyre dispersed, the city of Tyre itself demolished. "Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee." Here is something more than disproof; here is reversal, refutation, annihilation. Pride is humbled to the dust; and the proud are scattered and are no more. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
WEB: Son of man, tell the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet you are man, and not God, though you did set your heart as the heart of God—