Scripture reading – Ezekiel 27


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Ezekiel’s prophecies concerning Tyrus continued in chapter 27, as the LORD revealed His imminent judgment of that great ancient city of trade and commerce. As you study today’s Scripture, don’t become overwhelmed by the many named ports, cities, and towns. Instead, consider the merchandise of those places and understand that Tyrus was the hub of trade in the ancient world. I propose that the seaport of Tyrus was to the ancient world what Venice was to trade in the Middle Ages, and Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles are to trade in the 21st century.

Tyrus, also known as Tyre, was the ancient sea capital of Phoenicia and is the subject of God’s judgment in Ezekiel 27. The fact that Tyrus took such a prominent role in Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates its significance in the prophet’s day and its prophetic importance (Ezekiel 29). Like the prior nations whom Ezekiel predicted would be judged by the LORD and fall to Babylon, the same would be true of Tyrus (Ezekiel 28:1-19). 


Ezekiel 27


A Funeral Dirge for Tyrus (Ezekiel 27:1-2)

The LORD came to Ezekiel, and instructed him to “take up a lamentation for Tyrus” (Ezekiel 27:2). This lamentation foretold Tyrus would suffer not only for her wickedness and idolatry but also for the joy she expressed when Jerusalem was “laid waste” (Ezekiel 26:2).

The Maritime Beauty and Splendor of Tyrus

The Maritime Beauty and Splendor of Tyrus (Ezekiel 27:3-11)

Tyrus was the island fortress of the Phoenicians, and with its two ports, was essentially the “World Trade Center” of the day. Boasting, “I am of perfect beauty” (Ezekiel 27:3b), Ezekiel described the splendor and self-sufficiency of Tyrus by comparing it to a beautiful ship that boasted the best of everything (Ezekiel 27:4-7).

In addition to being a trade hub, Tyrus was also an intersection of humanity (Ezekiel 27:8-11). The vast number of trade ships passing through Tyrus made it necessary for the city to hire sailors from other places to strengthen their security on the coastline. Her army boasted mercenary soldiers from Persia and Lud and Phut (believed to be ancient African tribes). Adding to the city’s beauty were the shields and helmets of her soldiers that adorned the city’s walls (the Phoenicians are believed to have begun that practice, and King Solomon followed their pattern, 1 Kings 10:16-17).


The Trade Centers and Merchandise that Frequented Tyrus (Ezekiel 27:12-25)

Ezekiel 27:12-25 gave a detailed description of the nations and city-states whose ships and goods passed through Tyrus. Tarshish (believed to be ancient Spain, Ezekiel 27:12), Javan (ancient Greece), Tubal and Meshech(regions of the Black and Caspian Seas, Ezekiel 27:13). The list included the ancient city of Rhodes (Dedan, Ezekiel 27:15), cities of Mesopotamia (Ezekiel 27:16), Judah and Israel (known for grain, honey, oil, and balm, Ezekiel 27:17). Arabia and Kedar with its lambs, rams, and goats (Ezekiel 27:21), and spices, jewels, and gold from Sheba and Raamah (Ezekiel 27:22). Finally, all the significant city-states of Mesopotamia supplied beautiful garments of blue, embroidered cloth, and rugs (Ezekiel 27:23-25).

The Effect of Tyrus’ Destruction

The Prophecy that Tyrus Would Fall (Ezekiel 27:26-33)

Nevertheless, for all her wealth, might, and splendor, Tyrus would not be spared God’s judgment. Sadly, that city was portrayed as a sinking ship (Ezekiel 27:26-31). Babylon, described as “the east wind,” would break upon Tyrus as the seas break upon and sink a ship (Ezekiel 27:26). The city, its people, commerce, and wealth would “fall into the midst of the seas in the day of [her] ruin” (Ezekiel 27:27).

Tyrus’ “suburbs” (cities along the mainland) would “shake at the sound of the cry” of her leaders (Ezekiel 27:28). Her sailors would abandon ship (Ezekiel 27:28), and watch in horror and disbelief as Tyrus was destroyed (Ezekiel 27:29). Her neighbors would wail at the news, and bemoan the death of the city (Ezekiel 27:30-31). Recalling her former glory and how her trade enriched them, the cries of her neighbors would express their shock at her fall (Ezekiel 27:32-33).


The Effect of Tyrus’ Destruction (Ezekiel 27:34-36)

What an amazing prophetic story! Tyrus epitomized strength, perfection, and beauty (Ezekiel 27:3-4). Her citizens believed she was invincible, for her “builders [had] perfected [her] beauty” (Ezekiel 27:4). Yet, the LORD sentenced Tyrus for judgment, and no man could save her. The fall of Tyrus plunged the region into a financial collapse (Ezekiel 27:34), which led to the fall of her trade partners (Ezekiel 27:35). Nebuchadnezzar conquered Tyrus. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great destroyed her (Ezekiel 27:36).


Warning: No nation will stand when the LORD has set Himself against it.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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