Ezekiel 27 - Outline of Ezekiel (Book Notes menu page)
The previous chapter presented the judgment upon Tyre. At the time that Ezekiel spoke, the events described were future. But the prophecy was fulfilled before the time of Christ. The chapter, before us, expands upon Tyre's greatness, the cause of her judgment, and the depth of her fall. Certain elements in the passage parallel and illustrate the judgment which is foretold upon the final form of Gentile world dominion, during the Tribulation period. The descriptions of the 'prince' and 'king' of Tyre, given in ch. 28, further suggest a prophetic association with end time events.
     - Lamentation for Tyre -
1. The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
2 Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation
{ie., a dirge} for Tyrus;
The lamentation in the previous chapter (26:16-18) was voiced by the 'princes of the sea' who trembled at the loss of their great trading partner, in anticipation of devastating effects upon their own economies.
     The lamentation in the present chapter (ch.27) is voiced by Ezekiel, who spoke "the Word of the LORD."
     A lamentation, spoken by the LORD, (A) indicates the certainty of the judgment, because His Word is sure, and (B) shows that He Himself grieves for those whom He must judge (eg., Eze 18:32; 33:11; 2Pet 3:9,10).
3 And say unto Tyrus {ie., Tyre},
O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea,
[which art] a merchant of the people for many isles
{ie., coastlands},
Thus saith the Lord GOD;
O Tyrus, thou hast said, I [am] of perfect beauty.
4 Thy borders [are] in the midst of the seas,
thy builders have perfected thy beauty.
5 They have made all thy [ship] boards
of fir trees of Senir
{ie., from Mount Hermon, in Lebanon}:
they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.
6 [Of] the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars;
the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches [of] ivory,
[brought] out of the isles of Chittim
{ie., Cyprus}.
7 Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt
was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail;
blue and purple from the isles of Elishah
{ie., Crete or Cyprus}
was that which covered thee.
8 The inhabitants of Zidon
{ie., Sidon} and Arvad
{coastal cities, 20 and 50 miles north of Tyre} were thy mariners:
thy wise [men], O Tyrus, [that] were in thee, were thy pilots.
9 The ancients of Gebal
{ie., a coastal city 35 miles north of Tyre}
and the wise [men] thereof were in thee thy calkers:
all the ships of the sea with their mariners
were in thee to occupy
{ie., trade} thy merchandise.
10 They of Persia and of Lud
{ie., Lydia, in western Turkey}
and of Phut
{ie., Libya} were in thine army, thy men of war:
they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.
11 The men of Arvad with thine army [were] upon thy walls round about,
{Arvad was a fortified island city of the fierce Assyrians.}
and the Gammadims were in thy towers:
they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about;
they have made thy beauty perfect.
...thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.
Here is the root of this kingdom's downfall: The proud human heart, which glories in itself, and in what it has made and done.
Tyre had much of which to be proud. -
  • her situation (v.3) -
    Her harbor had north and south entrances, making it accessible despite changing weather.
    Her seaport was situated near well traveled overland routes between Egypt and Babylon.
  • her borders (v.4) - ie., Her region of influence included numerous colonies and trading centers,
    around the Mediterranean Sea, and even beyond.
    The distant port city of Tarshish was one of these.
  • her builders (v.4b) - Her ship builders were skilled craftsmen.
    They used only the best materials, which were imported from only the best sources (v.5-7).
    Where others had superior technology, they enlisted foreign specialists to ensure that their ship's accessories were only the best (eg., benches made by Ashurites {ie., men of Assyria} of imported ivory {or, according to an alternate meaning for 'Ashurites': made of a special type of wood and ivory}, embroidered sails from Egypt, and colorful died fabrics from Cyprus or Crete...).
  • her mariners (v.8) - were skilled and experienced.
  • her calkers {ie., those who sealed against leaks} (v.9) - were the wisest of men.
    From nearby seafaring cities, Tyre employed only the best personnel, to sail her ships and to maintain them.
  • her merchants engaged in trade with ships which came from everywhere (v.9b).
  • her army (v.10,11) - included experienced mercenaries from distant lands.
    The watchtowers of the city were guarded by Gammadim {ie., 'brave warriors'}.
Together, all of these things made the city's beauty perfect (ie., complete).
They took pride in the city which they had built.
     But they neither recognized the One who had given them their resources and abilities, nor did they recognize that Jerusalem was being judged for the same kind of proud rebellion against Him (Eze 16:14,15). As Tyre watched, the LORD was in the process of destroying His own city, which was "the perfection of beauty" (cp. Psa 50:2; Eze 20:48; Lam 2:15). Oblivious to the obvious lesson, they saw the judgment of Jerusalem as opportunity to grow their own economic and commercial interests (Eze 26:2).
As the lamentation continues, Tyre itself will be likened to a great ship,
whose skillful sailors navigate the world's waters to advance their enviable economic superiority.
12 Tarshish [was] thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all [kind of] riches;
with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.
Tarshish was the city to which Jonah had intended to flee (Jonah 1:3). It was located on the southern coast of Spain, somewhat west of the Straits of Gibralta. From Tarshish, Phoenician mariners sailed to points in Africa and Europe.
13 Javan {ie., Greece}, Tubal, and Meshech, they [were] thy merchants:
they traded the persons of men
{ie., slaves} and vessels of brass in thy market.
Meschech and Tubal are regions in north central Europe (usually associated with Russia). cp. Eze 38:2
14 They of the house of Togarmah {ie., Turkey and the Black Sea region}
traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.
15 The men of Dedan
{a Syrian city} [were] thy merchants;
many isles
{ie., coastlands} [were] the merchandise of thine hand:
they brought thee [for] a present horns of ivory and ebony.
16 Syria [was] thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making:
they occupied
{ie., traded} in thy fairs with emeralds, purple,
and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.
17 Judah, and the land of Israel, they [were] thy merchants:
they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith
{a place east of the Jordan River},
and Pannag
{ie., a type of bread}, and honey, and oil, and balm.
18 Damascus [was] thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making,
for the multitude of all riches;
in the wine of Helbon
{ie., a place in Syria, meaning 'fruitful'}, and white wool.
19 Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs:
bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.
20 Dedan
{a region in Arabia} [was] thy merchant
in precious clothes for chariots
{ie., saddlecloths (or) free fitting riding apparel}.
21 Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar
{an Arabian tribe},
they occupied
{ie., traded} with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats:
in these [were they] thy merchants.
22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah
{western and eastern regions of the southern Arabian peninsula},
they [were] thy merchants:
they occupied
{ie., traded} in thy fairs with chief of all spices,
and with all precious stones, and gold.
23 Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba,
Asshur, [and] Chilmad, [were] thy merchants.
(various regions in Assyria and Mesopotamia)
24 These [were] thy merchants in all sorts [of things],
in blue clothes, and broidered work,
and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar,
among thy merchandise.
25 The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market:
and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
The great ship of state enjoyed great prosperity and worldwide influence through its trade.
Throughout this section, the HB word for 'occupied' is the same as the word 'traded.'
Trade, conducted with lands far distant, brought the best that the world had to offer into Tyre.
This is also a picture of several economically prosperous nations in the modern world.
     At present, the nation that prides itself as the 'most glorious in the midst of the seas' is the United States. Yet, perhaps no nation, on earth today, has been so privileged to have and hear the Word of God, as the U.S.A. Surely, the Lord will judge us more severely than less privileged nations, for our worldly pursuits in disregard of Him (cp. Luk 10:13-15; 1Joh 2:15-17).
     The final form of Gentile world dominion will also be at the center of the world economy.
26. Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters:
the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.
27 Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise,
thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers,
and the occupiers of thy merchandise,
and all thy men of war, that [are] in thee,
and in all thy company which [is] in the midst of thee,
shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.
In the first half of v.26, the nations are still singing the praises of the wise and skillful leaders of Tyre,
who had navigated their ship of state into glorious greatness, upon the sea of humanity.
But suddenly, capsized by the fierce wind of judgment, the great ship is broken, and all of its passengers and their treasures sink into oblivion, in the day of their ruin {HB=mappeleth, destruction, fall, ruin, carcase}. Psa 48:7; Eze 26:14,19-21; Rev 18:17
28 The suburbs {ie., open countryside} shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.
29 And all that handle the oar, the mariners, [and] all the pilots of the sea,
shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land;
30 And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly,
and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes:
31 And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth,
and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart [and] bitter wailing.
(Each of these actions are indicative of intense mourning over a death.)
32 And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee,
and lament over thee, [saying],
What [city is] like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
33 When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people;
thou didst enrich the kings of the earth
with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.
34 In the time [when] thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters
thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall.
35 All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee,
and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in [their] countenance.
36 The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee
{ie., make a sound of astonishment};
thou shalt be a terror, and never [shalt be] any more.
Here, the shipping industry laments the loss of Tyre,
for their livelihood went down with that ship of state.
  • They join the lament of the 'princes of the sea'
    {the far flung political entities whose prosperity depended upon Tyre}, in Eze 26:16-18.
  • A similar lamentation of shipmen and merchants, in Isaiah ch.23, gives further detail.
    1. The lamentation over Tyre's destruction (Isa 23:1-7).
    2. The cause of her destruction:
      The LORD's purpose, to punish her pride (Isa 23:8-9).
    3. The means of her destruction:
      The LORD's command, to 'the land of the Chaldeans' (Isa 23:10-14).
    4. Her temporary restoration (after the fall of Babylon),
      followed by her return to sin and future judgment (Isa 23:15-17).
      As we saw, in ch.26 (eg., 26:3), the Babylonians were the first of many nations which would come against Tyre, in waves. About seventy years later, Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians, who would allow the restoration of Tyre (and also of Jerusalem, eg., Jer 25:11,12; 29:10). Tyre would soon return to its ungodly self-indulgence, and suffer further judgment at the hands of Alexander the Great, and other nations.
    5. Her eventual restoration, during the Messianic Kingdom (Isa 23:18).
      Between these two verses (Isa 23:17 and 18), there is a space of many years and a transformation of many hearts. In the Millennial Kingdom, the city and people of Tyre will be holy unto the LORD. They will no longer live to serve themselves, but rather to serve the great King in supplying goods needed to sustain His Kingdom.
      [For a closer look at the above passage, see the Book Notes on Isaiah ch.23. NOTE: This link will open in this window. To return to Ezekiel ch.27, use the window 'Back' function, or the 'Book Notes' button.]
  • The lamentation over Tyre foreshadows a similar lamentation over the fall of Babylon the Great, in Revelation ch.18. (The fall of Babylon the Great, the final form of Gentile world dominion, occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation.)
    • Revelation ch.18 actually contains three lamentations, voiced by...
      1. the kings of the earth, Rev 18:9,10
      2. the merchants of the earth, Rev 18:11-17a
      3. the shipmasters of the sea, Rev 18:17b-19
    • The judgment of Babylon the Great will be sudden and irreversible (Rev 18:8).
      There will be no restoration of the Antichrist's empire.
           However, as we saw in Isaiah 23 (above), Tyre will be restored during the Messianic Kingdom.
      Yet, we have also seen a finality of judgment, in the prophetic lamentations for Tyre (v.36; Eze 26:21; 28:19). In this regard, these prophecies look beyond the judgment of Tyre, to the finality of the fall of Babylon the Great.
           In that context, the phrase "thou... never shalt be any more" (v.36) is amplified by the refrain "no more at all" which occurs seven times, in Rev 18:14,21-23.
           [For a closer look at the above passage, see the Book Notes on Revelation ch.18. NOTE: This link will open in this window. To return to Ezekiel ch.27, use the window 'Back' function, or the 'Book Notes' button.]
    Thus far, we have seen that the judgment of Tyre, as a place (ch.26), and as a political system at the center of the world's economy (ch.27), foreshadows the future judgment of the final form of Gentile world dominion. In ch.28, the LORD will reveal the powerful persons behind the world system, and declare their eternal doom.

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