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FRAMEWORKS: Ezekiel 27: A lament that will be sung over Tyre


[Preliminary Comment: This is the second of the three chapters spoken over Tyre. Whereas the first one simply spoke out the prophecy decreeing the fall of the city, this chapter makes us realise what an awful tragedy this is. It does it by extolling the wonder of the city and the amazing range of business that Tyre carried on in the world. We will be left to the third chapter to see WHY this terrible tragedy will take place.]



v.1,2   A song of anguish over what will happen to Tyre


v.1  The word of the Lord came to me :

v.2  ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre.


[Notes: The prophecy of the previous chapter had already been morphing into a word of anguish. Now Ezekiel is to make it a full-blown lament, a ‘passionate expression of grief and sorrow'.]



v.3-11 So much of her construction had been the fine work of skilled craftsmen


v.3  Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

‘“You say, Tyre,
    ‘I am perfect in beauty.'
v.Your domain was on the high seas;
    your builders brought your beauty to perfection.
v.5  They made all your timbers
    of juniper from Senir;
they took a cedar from Lebanon
    to make a mast for you.
v.6  Of oaks from Bashan
    they made your oars;
of cypress wood from the coasts of Cyprus
    they made your deck, adorned with ivory.
v.7  Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was your sail
    and served as your banner;
your awnings were of blue and purple
    from the coasts of Elishah.
v.8  Men of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen;
    your skilled men, Tyre, were aboard as your sailors.
v.9  Veteran craftsmen of Byblos were on board
    as shipwrights to caulk your seams.
All the ships of the sea and their sailors
    came alongside to trade for your wares.

v.10  ‘“Men of Persia, Lydia and Put
    served as soldiers in your army.
They hung their shields and helmets on your walls,
    bringing you splendour.
v.11  Men of Arvad and Helek
    guarded your walls on every side;
men of Gammad
    were in your towers.
They hung their shields around your walls;
    they brought your beauty to perfection.


[Notes: The tragedy of what will happen is emphasised by the wonder of what she had been. First he extols the grace, goodness, wonder of the work that went into making that city.]



v.12-23 The incredible extent of those with whom she traded is paraded


v.12  ‘“Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of goods; they exchanged silver, iron, tin and lead for your merchandise.

v.13  ‘“Greece, Tubal and Meshek did business with you; they traded human beings and articles of bronze for your wares.

v.14  ‘“Men of Beth Togarmah exchanged chariot horses, cavalry horses and mules for your merchandise.

v.15  ‘“The men of Rhodes traded with you, and many coastlands were your customers; they paid you with ivory tusks and ebony.

v.16 ‘“Aram did business with you because of your many products; they exchanged turquoise, purple fabric, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies for your merchandise.

v.17  ‘“Judah and Israel traded with you; they exchanged wheat from Minnith and confections, honey, olive oil and balm for your wares.

v. 18  ‘“Damascus did business with you because of your many products and great wealth of goods. They offered wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar

v. 19  and casks of wine from Izal in exchange for your wares: wrought iron, cassia and calamus.

v.20  ‘“Dedan traded in saddle blankets with you.

v.21  ‘“Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your customers; they did business with you in lambs, rams and goats.

v.22  ‘“The merchants of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; for your merchandise they exchanged the finest of all kinds of spices and precious stones, and gold.

v.23  ‘“Harran, Kanneh and Eden and merchants of Sheba, Ashur and Kilmad traded with you.


[Notes: The list of those who did business with Tyre is extensive by anyone's standards.]



v.24-26a Their goods came and went from far afield across the seas


v.24  In your market-place they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multicoloured rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted.

v.25  ‘“The ships of Tarshish serve
    as carriers for your wares.
You are filled with heavy cargo
    as you sail the sea.
v.26  Your oarsmen take you
    out to the high seas.



v.26b-29 But all this maritime business will come to an end…


But the east wind will break you to pieces
    far out at sea.
v.27  Your wealth, merchandise and wares,
    your mariners, sailors and shipwrights,
your merchants and all your soldiers,
    and everyone else on board
will sink into the heart of the sea
    on the day of your shipwreck.
v.28  The shorelands will quake
    when your sailors cry out.
v.29  All who handle the oars
    will abandon their ships;
the mariners and all the sailors
    will stand on the shore.

[Notes: Their success and their amazing prosperity became known everywhere as their merchant navy is wrecked.]



v.30-36 …and when it does there will be great anguishing over your terrible end


v.30  They will raise their voice
    and cry bitterly over you;
they will sprinkle dust on their heads
    and roll in ashes.
v.31  They will shave their heads because of you
    and will put on sackcloth.
They will weep over you with anguish of soul
    and with bitter mourning.
v.32  As they wail and mourn over you,
    they will take up a lament concerning you:
‘Who was ever silenced like Tyre,
    surrounded by the sea?'
v.33  When your merchandise went out on the seas,
    you satisfied many nations;
with your great wealth and your wares
    you enriched the kings of the earth.
v.34  Now you are shattered by the sea
    in the depths of the waters;
your wares and all your company
    have gone down with you.
v.35  All who live in the coastlands
    are appalled at you;
their kings shudder with horror
    and their faces are distorted with fear.
v.36  The merchants among the nations scoff at you;
    you have come to a horrible end
    and will be no more.”'


[Notes: The end result will be pure anguish by not only all those involved but also by all watch from near and far.]



Continue to Chapter 28