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Frameworks: Isaiah 23: Against Tyre



1.2.2 Second wave Ch.21-23 

Ch.21 Against Babylon, against Edom & against Arabia 

Ch.22 – Against Jerusalem 

Ch.23 Against Tyre


This Chapter:

v.1-3 Tyre's fall prophesied

v.4-6 The effect of her fall on other trading partners

v.7-12 This is clearly a judgment of God

v.13-16 Learn from the recent past, this will happen – and last!

v.17,18 She will eventually be restored and yet her profits will go to God's people


[Introductory Comment: Ezekiel had brought words and lament over Tyre that had taken up three chapters [Ezek 26-28], but this of course comes many years before his words. See our Ezek 26 ‘Preliminary Comments' for description etc. of Tyre that also comes out below. Ezek 27:12-23 shows the extent of Tyre's trading.

Isaiah speaks of Tyre's destruction [v.1] after having been for so long a prosperous trading port [v.2] for the nations [v.3] along with her mother city [that had originally founded Tyre], Sidon [v.4]. Prophetic reference to the sea may mean the peoples of the world [as the term often is used prophetically], and the implication of v.4 may be the world saying Sidon is childless now. This will impact her trading partners across the world [v.5,6] but it is clearly an act of God [v.7-12], a destruction that will last for seventy years [v.13-16] before the Lord restores her for His own purposes [v.17,18]. A chapter of severe warning.]



v.1-4 Tyre's fall prophesied


v.1 (The spotlight shines on that coastal trading centre of Tyre) A prophecy against Tyre:

Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
    For Tyre is destroyed
    and left without house or harbour.
From the land of Cyprus
    word has come to them.

v.2 (The sounds of the prosperous will be ended) Be silent, you people of the island
    and you merchants of Sidon,
    whom the seafarers have enriched.
v.3 (She had been a great trading place) On the great waters
    came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile was the revenue of Tyre,
    and she became the market-place of the nations

v.4 (The mother port of Tyre, about 25 miles north, now made childless – see above) Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
    for the sea has spoken:
‘I have neither been in labour nor given birth;
    I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.'



v.5-6 The effect of her fall on other trading partners

v.5 (When Egypt hears of their downfall of their trading partner they will be in anguish) When word comes to Egypt,
    they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.

v.6 (Up in Tarshish in Spain, similarly) Cross over to Tarshish;
    wail, you people of the island.


v.7-12 This is clearly a judgment of God


v.7 (No longer a city of merriment) Is this your city of revelry,
    the old, old city,
whose feet have taken her
    to settle in far-off lands?
v.8 (How did this comer to powerful Tyre?) Who planned this against Tyre,
    the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants are princes,
    whose traders are renowned in the earth?
v.9 (It was God! He has brought down her pride) The Lord Almighty planned it,
    to bring down her pride in all her splendour
    and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

v.10 (Similarly the Spanish port – you'll have to work harder to trade) Till your land as they do along the Nile,
    Daughter Tarshish,
    for you no longer have a harbour.
v.11 (The Lord decrees this fall) The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea
    and made its kingdoms tremble.
He has given an order concerning Phoenicia
    that her fortresses be destroyed.
v.12 (There will be no escaping it) He said, ‘No more of your revelling,
    Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed!

‘Up, cross over to Cyprus;
    even there you will find no rest.'


v.13 -16 Learn from the recent past, this will happen – and last!


v.13 (Learn from what the Assyrians did in Babylonia) Look at the land of the Babylonians,
    this people that is now of no account!
The Assyrians have made it
    a place for desert creatures;
they raised up their siege towers,
    they stripped its fortresses bare
    and turned it into a ruin.

v.14 (Travellers from Spain, your trading link is gone) Wail, you ships of Tarshish;
    your fortress is destroyed!

v.15 (She will be destroyed for seventy years) At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

v.16 (It will be a source of lament) ‘Take up a harp, walk through the city,
    you forgotten prostitute;
play the harp well, sing many a song,
    so that you will be remembered.'



v.17,18 She will eventually be restored and yet her profits will go to God's people


v.17 (God will restore her….) At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.

v.18 (…. yet use her profits for His people) Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.



Continue to Chapter 24