Thus said the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded cry…
Thus saith the Lord God to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, etc.? These verses suggest the following observations.
I. THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE SOMETIMES SO AWFUL AS TO FILL THE EXALTED AND MIGHTY WITH AMAZEMENT AND DISMAY. (Vers. 15, 16; cf. Jeremiah 4:7-9.) The isles are the islands of the Mediterranean, and places on the coast also are perhaps referred to. The princes are those of the various island and sea-board settlements, and the wealthy merchant-princes of prosperous commercial centers. Thus it was said of Tyre, "whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth" (Isaiah 23:8). The fall of Tyre would cause them extreme astonishment and trembling for their own safety. The Divine retributions sometimes appall even the stoutest hearts, and lead the highly placed and powerful to realize (at least for a time) their weakness.
II. THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD SOMETIMES AWAKEN THE LAMENTATIONS OF THOSE WHO BEHOLD THEM. "They shall take up a lamentation for thee," etc. (Ver. 17). This verse seems to suggest that the fall of Tyre would be bewailed in mournful threnodies. It is instructive to notice what it was which the neighboring states lamented in the downfall of the island-city. The things which are particularized in the text are such as these: the eclipse of brilliant renown, "How art thou destroyed... the renowned city!" the destruction of distinguished power, "which was strong in the sea;" the overthrow of one which had been so formidable to others, "which caused their terror to be on all that haunt it." Worldly minds mourn the less of worldly prosperity. "When Jerusalem, the holy city, was destroyed" says Matthew Henry, "there were no such lamentations for it; it was nothing to those that passed by (Lamentations 1:12); but when Tyre, the trading city, fell, it was universally bemoaned. Note: Those who have the world in their hearts lament the loss of great men more than the loss of good men" But the ions patriot and prophet Jeremiah bewailed the destruction of Jerusalem in his unrivalled elegies. As Dr. Milman observes, "Never did city suffer a more miserable fate, never was ruined city lamented in language so exquisitely pathetic"
III. THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD SHOULD LEAD THOSE WHO BEHOLD THEM TO EXERCISE SERIOUS REFLECTION. Catastrophes like the fall of Tyre startle peoples and nations into short-lived concern or even alarm. They ought to lead to sober thought and earnest self-examination. They are fitted to impress salutary lessons and to direct to a salutary course of action. May we not say that they are designed to do so? "When God punishes, he does it not merely on account of the ungodly, who must feel such punishment, but also on account of other ungodly persons, that they may become better by such examples." This judgment upon Tyre was fitted to teach:
1. The limitation of human greatness. Unquestionably, Tyre was great; but she was not great enough to stand against the forces of Nebuchadnezzar, or, in after-times, against the might of Alexander. The greatest of human states is pitiably small when God arrays himself against it (cf. Ver. 3).
2. The uncertainty of secular prosperity. Tyro was a rich and prosperous city; but where now are its riches, its great commerce, etc.? Fresh illustrations arise almost daily of the unreliableness of secular success, and the uncertain tenure of temporal possessions. "For riches certainly make themselves wings, like an eagle that flieth toward heaven."
3. The insecurity of those who seem most firmly established. The proud island-city seemed most securely founded and fortified. Her situation was a source of great strength and safety against any adversary. She was able to offer long and stubborn resistance to the powerful and victorious King of Babylon. But she was conquered; and now she is utterly demolished. The very strongest and most stable of cities or empires may slowly, decline into insignificance and feebleness, or speedily reel into ruin.
4. The ruinousness of sin. The intense selfishness and cruel boasting of Tyre against Jerusalem led to her overthrow. No state or kingdom can be strong apart from righteousness. Vice, injustice, oppression, cruelty, will bring the mightiest city or empire to ruin. "The throne is established by righteousness;" "Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness;" "The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established forever." Lessons such as these the fall of Tyro should have impressed upon those who were affected by it. Others' miseries should be our monitors. When God's judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world should learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?