Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DIRGE ON THE
TYRE, AS THE
EMBODIMENT OF THE
SELF-SUFFICIENCY OF THE
2. Because, &c.--repeated resumptively in
The apodosis begins at
"The prince of Tyrus" at the time was Ithobal, or Ithbaal II; the name
implying his close connection with Baal, the Phœnician supreme
god, whose representative he was.
I am a god, I sit in . . . seat of God . . . the
seas--As God sits enthroned in His heavenly citadel exempt from all
injury, so I sit secure in my impregnable stronghold amidst the
stormiest elements, able to control them at will, and make them
subserve my interests. The language, though primarily here applied to
the king of Tyre, as similar language is to the king of Babylon
(Isa 14:13, 14),
yet has an ulterior and fuller accomplishment in Satan and his
embodiment in Antichrist
(Da 7:25; 11:36, 37;
This feeling of superhuman elevation in the king of Tyre was fostered
by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called "the holy
island" [SANCONIATHON], being sacred to Hercules,
so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre as the mother city of
their religion, as well as of their political existence. The
Hebrew for "God" is El, that is, "the Mighty One."
yet, &c.--keen irony.
set thine heart as . . . heart of God--Thou thinkest of thyself as if
thou wert God.
3. Ezekiel ironically alludes to Ithbaal's overweening opinion of
the wisdom of himself and the Tyrians, as though superior to that of
Daniel, whose fame had reached even Tyre as eclipsing the Chaldean
sages. "Thou art wiser," namely, in thine own opinion
no secret--namely, forgetting riches
that they can hide--that is, that can be hidden.
6. Because, &c.--resumptive of
strangers . . . terrible of the nations--the Chaldean foreigners
noted for their ferocity
(Eze 30:11; 31:12).
against the beauty of thy wisdom--that is, against thy beautiful
possessions acquired by thy wisdom on which thou pridest thyself
defile thy brightness--obscure the brightness of thy kingdom.
8. the pit--that is, the bottom of the sea; the image being that of
one conquered in a sea-fight.
the deaths--plural, as various kinds of deaths are meant
of them . . . slain--literally, "pierced through." Such deaths as
those pierced with many wounds die.
9. yet say--that is, still say; referring to
but, &c.--But thy blasphemous boastings shall be falsified, and thou
shalt be shown to be but man, and not God, in the hand (at the mercy) of
10. deaths of . . . uncircumcised--that is, such a death as the
uncircumcised or godless heathen deserve; and perhaps, also, such as
the uncircumcised inflict, a great ignominy in the eyes of a Jew
a fit retribution on him who had scoffed at the circumcised Jews.
12. sealest up the sum--literally, "Thou art the one sealing the sum
of perfection." A thing is sealed when completed
"The sum" implies the full measure of beauty, from a
Hebrew root, "to measure." The normal man--one formed after
13. in Eden--The king of Tyre is represented in his former high state
(contrasted with his subsequent downfall), under images drawn from the
primeval man in Eden, the type of humanity in its most Godlike form.
garden of God--the model of ideal loveliness
(Eze 31:8, 9; 36:35).
In the person of the king of Tyre a new trial was made of humanity with
the greatest earthly advantages. But as in the case of Adam, the good
gifts of God were only turned into ministers to pride and self.
every precious stone--so in Eden
"gold, bdellium, and the onyx stone." So the king of Tyre was arrayed
in jewel-bespangled robes after the fashion of Oriental monarchs. The
nine precious stones here mentioned answer to nine of the twelve
(representing the twelve tribes) in the high priest's breastplate
Re 21:14, 19-21).
Of the four rows of three in each, the third is omitted in the
Hebrew, but is supplied in the Septuagint. In this, too,
there is an ulterior reference to Antichrist, who is blasphemously to
arrogate the office of our divine High Priest
pipes--literally, "holes" in musical pipes or flutes.
created--that is, in the day of thine accession to the
throne. Tambourines and all the marks of joy were ready prepared
for thee ("in thee," that is, "with and for thee"). Thou hadst not,
like others, to work thy way to the throne through arduous struggles.
No sooner created than, like Adam, thou wast surrounded with the
gratifications of Eden. FAIRBAIRN, for "pipes,"
translates, "females" (having reference to
that is, musician-women. MAURER explains the
Hebrew not as to music, but as to the setting and
mounting of the gems previously mentioned.
14. anointed cherub--GESENIUS translates from an Aramaic root,
"extended cherub." English Version, from a Hebrew root, is
better. "The cherub consecrated to the Lord by the anointing oil"
covereth--The imagery employed by Ezekiel as a priest is from
the Jewish temple, wherein the cherubim overshadowed the mercy seat, as
the king of Tyre, a demi-god in his own esteem, extended his protection
over the interests of Tyre. The cherub--an ideal compound of the
highest kinds of animal existence and the type of redeemed man in his
ultimate state of perfection--is made the image of the king of Tyre, as
if the beau ideal of humanity. The pretensions of Antichrist are the
ulterior reference, of whom the king of Tyre is a type. Compare "As God
. . . in the temple of God"
I have set thee--not thou set thyself
upon the holy mountain of God--Zion, following up the image.
in . . . midst of . . . stones of fire--In ambitious imagination he
stood in the place of God, "under whose feet was, as it were, a pavement
of sapphire," while His glory was like "devouring fire"
(Ex 24:10, 17).
15. perfect--prosperous [GROTIUS], and
having no defect. So Hiram was a sample of the Tyrian monarch in his
early days of wisdom and prosperity
till iniquity . . . in thee--Like the primeval man thou hast fallen
by abusing God's gifts, and so hast provoked God's wrath.
16. filled the midst of thee--that is, they have filled
the midst of the city; he as the head of the state being involved in
the guilt of the state, which he did not check, but fostered.
cast thee as profane--no longer treated as sacred, but driven out of
the place of sanctity (see
which thou hast occupied (compare
17. brightness--thy splendor.
lay thee before kings--as an example of God's wrath against
18. thy sanctuaries--that is, the holy places, attributed to the king
of Tyre in
as his ideal position. As he "profaned" it, so God will "profane" him
fire . . . devour--As he abused his supposed elevation
amidst "the stones of fire"
so God will make His "fire" to "devour" him.
21. Zidon--famous for its fishery (from a root, Zud, "to
fish"); and afterwards for its wide extended commerce; its artistic
elegance was proverbial. Founded by Canaan's first-born
Tyre was an offshoot from it, so that it was involved in the same
overthrow by the Chaldeans as Tyre. It is mentioned separately, because
its idolatry (Ashtaroth, Tammuz, or Adonis) infected Israel more than
that of Tyre did
The notorious Jezebel was a daughter of the Zidonian king.
22. shall be sanctified in her--when all nations shall see that I am
the Holy Judge in the vengeance that I will inflict on her for sin.
24. no more . . . brier . . . unto . . . Israel--as the idolatrous
nations left in Canaan (among which Zidon is expressly specified in the
limits of Asher,
"A brier," first ensnaring the Israelites in sin, and then being made
the instrument of punishing them.
pricking--literally, "causing bitterness." The same
Hebrew is translated "fretting"
(Le 13:51, 52).
The wicked are often called "thorns"
25, 26. Fulfilled in part at the restoration from Babylon, when
Judaism, so far from being merged in heathenism, made inroads by
conversions on the idolatry of surrounding nations. The full
accomplishment is yet future, when Israel, under Christ, shall be the
center of Christendom; of which an earnest was given in the woman from
the coasts of Tyre and Sidon who sought the Saviour
(Mt 15:21, 24, 26-28;