Therefore thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against you, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against you…
From such obscure peoples as the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, who - except for their occasional association with Israel - are quite aside from the world's history, the prophet passes to deal with Tyre, one of the greatest and most commanding cities whose deeds and fame adorn the annals of mankind. The Ruler of men does not, indeed, allow the meanest to defy his authority with impunity; his sway extends to the most insignificant of peoples, of tribes. But on the other hand, the proudest and the mightiest are subject to his control, and, when rebellious and defiant, must feel the weight of his irresistible hand.
I. THE GREATNESS OF TYRE. The elements of this greatness, the causes which conspired to produce it, were many and various. There may be noticed:
1. Its commanding maritime situation. Partly upon a rock, partly upon the mainland, Tyre sat - a queen. To the east, the north, the south, were countries which poured their produce into the Phoenician port; before her, to the west, were the waters of the great sea, upon whose shores lay the great states and cities of the ancient world. Tyre was thus the highway of the nations.
2. Its commerce. This was carried on with all the known countries accessible to the Tyrian fleets. Her supremacy upon the sea gave Tyre a foremost position among the nations; her adventurous mariners not only visited every port of the Mediterranean, they passed the Pillars of Hercules, and traded with "the islands of the West."
3. Its wealth. Every nation paid tribute to Tyre. The exchange, the mart, of the world, it acquired and retained riches scarcely equaled.
4. Its splendor - such as is described by Ezekiel - was the natural result of the opulence of its enterprising merchants and sea-captains.
5. Its political power was out of all proportion to its territory, its population; its alliance was sought, and its hostility was dreaded.
II. THE ENEMIES OF TYRE. These were many and formidable. It is a sad symptom of human depravity that unusual prosperity should excite general dislike, jealousy, envy, and ill will. "Many nations came up against Tyre, as the sea causeth his waves to come up." But some of these adversaries Tyre could treat with derision or contempt. This was not so, however, with Babylon. A different type of civilization and national life was no doubt exhibited in the great kingdom of the East; but the population and armies of Babylonia were enormous, and the resources of the kingdom all but inexhaustible. When the King of Babylon turned his arms against Tyre, brave and powerful as was the regal city by the sea, there was no disguising the fact that the time of trial and of danger had come.
III. THE SIEGE AND CONQUEST OF TYRE. It is matter of history that the prophet's predictions were fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came up against Tyre, and, notwithstanding its boasted impregnability, laid siege to it, and directed against it all the vast military resources of his kingdom. For long years the siege was maintained. The besieged, having open communication by sea, were able to withstand the assaults of the enemy; and it was only the patience and indomitable perseverance of the Babylonians that gave them the final victory.
IV. THE DESTRUCTION AND DESOLATION OF TYRE. A more striking and detailed prediction than this was never uttered; and never was prediction more strikingly and literally fulfilled. The downfall of Tyre was complete. The walls and towers of the city were broken down. The rock upon which she stood - a stronghold of defiance - was left bare and desolate. The nets of the solitary fisher were spread where magnificence and revelry had reigned. Tyre became a spoil to the nations. Her dependencies were vanquished and destroyed with her; in her they had trusted, in her favor they had basked, and in her ruin they were overwhelmed. The destruction and desolation were in awful contrast to the light and glory, the splendor and power, of bygone days.
APPLICATION. The time of national greatness and prosperity is to any people a time of trial. Then especially does it behoove a nation to beware of pride and self-confidence. For the rebellious, contumacious, and ungodly there is assuredly retribution prepared. The King of all is God of hosts, and he never wants means and agencies to carry out his own righteous and judicial purposes. Resistance to God is vain; it can last but for a short time. And every nation must learn that the Lord is God alone. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.