Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
MENANDER, the historian, notices a siege of Tyre
by Shalmaneser, about the time of the siege of Samaria. Sidon, Acco,
and Old Tyre, on the mainland, were soon reduced; but New Tyre, on an
island half a mile from the shore, held out for five years. Sargon
probably finished the siege. Sennacherib does not, however, mention it
among the cities which the Assyrian kings conquered (thirty-sixth and
thirty-seventh chapters). The expression, "Chaldeans"
may imply reference to its siege under Nebuchadnezzar, which lasted
thirteen years. Alexander the Great destroyed New Tyre after a seven
1. Tyre--Hebrew, Tsur, that is, "Rock."
ships of Tarshish--ships of Tyre returning from their voyage to
Tarshish, or Tartessus in Spain, with which the Phœnicians had
"Ships of Tarshish" is a phrase also used of large and distant-voyaging
no house--namely, left; such was the case as to Old Tyre, after
no entering--There is no house to enter
[G. V. SMITH]. Or, Tyre is so laid waste, that
there is no possibility of entering the harbor [BARNES]; which is appropriate to the previous "ships."
Chittim--Cyprus, of which the cities, including Citium in the
south (whence came "Chittim"), were mostly Phœnician
The ships from Tarshish on their way to Tyre learn the tidings ("it is
revealed to them") of the downfall of Tyre. At a later period Chittim
denoted the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean
2. Be still--"struck dumb with awe." Addressed to those already in
the country, eye-witnesses of its ruin
or, in contrast to the busy din of commerce once heard in Tyre;
now all is hushed and still.
isle--strictly applicable to New Tyre: in the sense coast, to the
mainland city, Old Tyre (compare
Zidon--of which Tyre was a colony, planted when Zidon was conquered
by the Philistines of Ascalon. Zidon means a "fishing station"; this
was its beginning.
replenished--with wealth and an industrious population
(Eze 27:3, 8, 23).
Here "Zidon," as the oldest city of Phœnicia, includes all the
Phœnician towns on the strip of "coast." Thus, Eth-baal, king of
Tyre [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 8.3,2], is
called king of the Sidonians
and on coins Tyre is called the metropolis of the Sidonians.
3. great waters--the wide waters of the sea.
seed--"grain," or crop, as in
Sihor--literally, "dark-colored"; applied to the Nile, as the
Egyptian Jeor, and the Greek Melas, to express the "dark,
turbid" colors given to its waters by the fertilizing soil which it
deposits at its yearly overflow
harvest of the river--the growth of the Delta; the produce due to
the overflow of the Nile: Egypt was the great granary of corn in the
(Ge 41:1-57; 42:1-38; 43:1-34).
her revenue--Tyrian vessels carried Egyptian produce obtained in
exchange for wine, oil, glass, &c., into various lands, and so made
No city was more favorably situated for commerce.
4. Zidon--called on, as being the parent country of Tyre
and here equivalent to Phœnicia in general, to feel the shame (as
it was esteemed in the East) of being now as childless as if she never
had any. "I (no more now) travail, nor bring forth," &c. "Strength of
the sea," that is, stronghold, namely, New Tyre, on a rock (as "Tyre"
means) surrounded by the sea
(Eze 26:4, 14-17;
so Venice was called "Bride of the sea";
5. As, &c.--rather, "When the report (shall reach) the people
of Egypt, they shall be sorely pained at the report concerning Tyre"
(namely, its overthrow). So JEROME, "When the Egyptians shall hear that
so powerful a neighboring nation has been destroyed, they must know
their own end is near" [LOWTH, &c.].
6. Pass . . . over--Escape from Tyre to your colonies
as Tarshish (compare
The Tyrians fled to Carthage and elsewhere, both at the siege under
Nebuchadnezzar and that under Alexander.
7. Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once
antiquity--The Tyrian priests boasted in HERODOTUS' time that their city had already existed 2300
years: an exaggeration, but still implying that it was ancient
her own feet--walking on foot as captives to an enemy's land.
8. Who--answered in
"The Lord of hosts."
crowning--crown-giving; that is, the city from which dependent kingdoms
had arisen, as Tartessus in Spain, Citium in Cyprus, and Carthage in
traffickers--literally, "Canaanites," who were famed for commerce
9. Whoever be the instruments in overthrowing haughty sinners, God,
who has all hosts at His command, is the First Cause
stain--rather, "to profane"; as in
the Sabbath, and other objects of religious reverence; so here,
"the pride of all glory" may refer to the Tyrian temple of Hercules,
the oldest in the world, according to ARRIAN
the prophet of the true God would naturally single out for notice the
idol of Tyre [G. V. SMITH]. It may, however, be a
general proposition; the destruction of Tyre will exhibit to all
how God mars the luster of whatever is haughty
10. a river--Hebrew, "the river," namely, Nile.
daughter of Tarshish--Tyre and its inhabitants
about henceforth, owing to the ruin of Tyre, to become inhabitants of
its colony, Tartessus: they would pour forth from Tyre, as
waters flow on when the barriers are removed [LOWTH]. Rather, Tarshish, or Tartessus and its
inhabitants, as the phrase usually means: they had been kept in hard
bondage, working in silver and lead mines near Tarshish, by the parent
but now "the bond of restraint" (for so "strength," Margin,
"girdle," that is, bond,
ought to be translated) is removed, since Tyre is no more.
kingdoms--the Phœnician cities and colonies.
the merchant city--rather, Canaan, meaning the north of
it, namely, Phœnicia. On their coins, they call their country
oppressed--"deflowered"; laying aside the figure "taken by storm";
the Arabs compare a city never taken to an undefiled virgin (compare
daughter of Zidon--Tyre: or else, sons of Zidon, that is, the whole
land and people of Phœnicia (see on
Chittim--Citium in Cyprus
there also . . . no rest--Thy colonies, having been harshly treated
by thee, will now repay thee in kind (see on
But VITRINGA refers it to the calamities which
befell the Tyrians in their settlements subsequently, namely, Sicily,
Corcyra, Carthage, and Spain, all flowing from the original curse of
Noah against the posterity of Canaan
13. Behold--Calling attention to the fact, so humiliating to Tyre,
that a people of yesterday, like the Chaldees, should destroy the most
ancient of cities, Tyre.
was not--had no existence as a recognized nation; the Chaldees were
previously but a rude, predatory people
Assyrian founded it--The Chaldees ("them that dwell in the wilderness")
lived a nomadic life in the mountains of Armenia originally (Arphaxad,
refers to such a region of Assyria near Armenia), north and east of
Assyria proper. Some may have settled in Mesopotamia and Babylonia very
early and given origin to the astrologers called Chaldees in
later times. But most of the people had been transferred only a little
before the time of this prophecy from their original seats in the north
to Mesopotamia, and soon afterwards to South Babylonia. "Founded it,"
means "assigned it (the land) to them who had (heretofore) dwelt
in the wilderness" as a permanent settlement (so in
[MAURER]. It was the Assyrian policy to infuse
into their own population of the plain the fresh blood of hardy
mountaineers, for the sake of recruiting their armies. Ultimately the
Chaldees, by their powerful priest-caste, gained the supremacy and
established the later or Chaldean empire. HORSLEY
refers it to Tyre, founded by an Assyrian race.
towers thereof--namely, of Babylon, whose towers,
HERODOTUS says, were
"set up" by the Assyrians
[BARNES]. Rather, "The Chaldees set up
their siege-towers" against Tyre, made for the attack of high walls,
from which the besiegers hurled missiles, as depicted in the Assyrian
sculptures [G. V. SMITH].
raised up--rather, "They lay bare," namely, the foundations of "her
(Tyre's) palaces," that is, utterly overthrew them
14. strength--stronghold (compare
15. forgotten--Having lost its former renown, Tyre shall be in
Jer 25:11, 12; 29:10).
days of one king--that is, a dynasty. The Babylonian monarchy lasted
properly but seventy years. From the first year of Nebuchadnezzar to the
taking of Babylon, by Cyrus, was seventy years; then the subjected
nations would be restored to liberty. Tyre was taken in the middle of
that period, but it is classed in common with the rest, some conquered
sooner and others later, all, however, alike to be delivered at the end
of the period. So "king" is used for dynasty
(Da 7:17; 8:20):
Nebuchadnezzar, his son Evil-merodach, and his grandson, Belshazzar,
formed the whole dynasty
(Jer 25:11, 12; 27:7; 29:10).
shall Tyre sing as . . . harlot--It shall be to Tyre as the song of
the harlot, namely, a harlot that has been forgotten, but who attracts
notice again by her song. Large marts of commerce are often compared to
harlots seeking many lovers, that is, they court merchants of all
nations, and admit any one for the sake of gain
Covetousness is closely akin to idolatry and licentiousness, as the
Isa 2:6-8, 16).
16. Same figure
to express that Tyre would again prosper and attract commercial
intercourse of nations to her, and be the same joyous, self-indulging
city as before.
17. visit--not in wrath, but mercy.
hire--image from a harlot: her gains by commerce. After the
Babylonian dynasty was ended, Tyre was rebuilt; also, again, after the
destruction under Alexander.
18. merchandise . . . holiness--Her traffic and gains shall at last
(long after the restoration mentioned in
be consecrated to Jehovah. Jesus Christ visited the neighborhood of
Paul found disciples there
it early became a Christian bishopric, but the full evangelization of
that whole race, as of the Ethiopians
of the Egyptians and Assyrians
is yet to come
not treasured--but freely expended in His service.
them that dwell before the Lord--the ministers of religion. But
translates, "them that sit before Jehovah" as disciples.
durable clothing--Changes of raiment constituted much of the wealth of