Ezekiel 26:21
I will make you an object of horror, and you will be no more. You will be sought, but will never be found,' declares the Lord GOD."
The Humiliation of TyreA. B. Davidson.Ezekiel 26:21
The Sin and Doom of TyreW. Jones Ezekiel 26:1-21
Glory DepartedJ.R. Thomson Ezekiel 26:15-21
National Disaster Becomes a Public LessonJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 26:15-21

And I shall set glory in the land of the living. Accepting this rendering as expressing the meaning of the original, and as applicable to Judah, we see in it -

I. A REMARKABLE DESIGNATION OF THE HOLY LAND. It is here called "the land of the living." Hengstenberg views "the land of the living" as standing in "contrast to Sheol, the land. of the dead, to which in the foregoing the inhabitants of Tyre are assigned." The expression seems to refer particularly to Palestine. The ' Speaker's Commentary' says, "The land of the living is the land of the true God, as opposed to the land of the dead, to which is gathered the glory of the world." And Matthew Henry, "The holy land is the land of the living; for none but holy souls are properly living souls." There was propriety in applying this designation to that land, because there:

1. The living God was known and worshipped. "In Judah is God known: his Name is great in Israel," etc. (Psalm 76:1, 2); "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God," etc. (Psalm 42:2). The people of other lands had riches, honors, power; but they were idolaters. Their gods were no gods, but dead idols. In the highest sense no land can be called living whose deity or deities are dead, unreal, mere human inventions. To the people of Judah and Jerusalem the living and true God had revealed himself through law-giver, prophet, and. poet, and through his hand in their history as a nation.

2. The living Word was possessed. The sacred writings of the Jews are far superior to those of heathen nations. They were true: "the Word of truth" (Psalm 119:43, 142, 160). They were vital and lasting: ".living oracles" (Acts 7:38); "the Word of God, which liveth and abideth" (1 Peter 1:23). They were life-giving . "Thy Word hath quickened, me" (Psalm 119:50, 93). Moreover, their Scriptures were light-giving: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105, 130).

3. The living ordinances were observed. The pure worship of the living and true God was instituted and practiced there, and, after the return from the Captivity, without any admixture of idolatry. Worship, when it is directed to the true Object and offered in a true spirit, develops and strengthens the noblest life of the worshipper. To the pious Jews the means of grace were as "wells of salvation." In these respects, then, Palestine was appropriately called "the land of the living." And with even greater fullness and force may the designation be applied to this favored land of ours.

II. AN ENCOURAGING ASSURANCE CONCERNING THE HOLY LAND. "I shall set glory in the land of the living" Let us look at this assurance:

1. In its primary signification. By the side of the utter overthrow of Tyre, Ezekiel predicts the renewal of the Divine favor and of prosperity to Jerusalem. Brief as the clause is, it indicates the return of the people of Judah from captivity to their own land, the rebuilding of the temple of Jehovah, the re-establishment of religious ordinances, and the restoration of the sacred city. And all these things were in due season accomplished. And thus interpreted, the assurance given in the text is the more significant from the fact that, after their return home, the Jews never obscured the Divine glory by the practice of idolatry. They neither gave God's glory to another nor his praise unto graven images.

2. In its other and grander signification. The text prophetically points to the coming of the Messiah and the proclamation of the glorious gospel. In the work of redemption by Jesus Christ we have a much more illustrious display of the glory of God than in the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the temple, etc. And this glory is ever increasing amongst men as the triumphs of the gospel are multiplied. The enemies of the cause of God are being vanquished by truth and love, and his true kingdom is constantly being established more and more deeply and widely in this world. And at length "all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord."

CONCLUSION. Even in the darkest seasons of its history there is always a bright and inspiring hope for the true Church of God. By its unfaithfulness it may bring upon itself severe chastisement from its great Head; but it shall arise from the dust purified and strengthened, and go forward in its glorious course, "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners." - W.J.

I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more.
All prophecy is moral, is based on moral considerations. What the prophet aims his threats against is not the prosperity of Tyre, but its pride of heart, which was rebellion against Jehovah — God over all. The humiliation of Tyre was morally as good as its ruins, in so far as it showed that there were higher forces in the world than itself.

(A. B. Davidson.).

Take up a lamentation for Tyrus.
The men of the world are wise, choosing the fittest places for their own advantage and interest. Let us learn so much of the men of the world, to be wise for our spiritual interest, and seat ourselves near the waters of the sanctuary, that so, trading with God and Christ, we may abound with spiritual treasure.

2. Outward excellences lift up men's hearts, beget vain confidences, and cause them to boast. This is the great wickedness of cities enriched by God, that they forget Him, and glory in external excellences.

3. No situation, strength, or outward advantage can secure proud cities.

4. Artists will put forth themselves to the utmost to show their skill. "Thy builders have perfected thy beauty"; they concealed not their art; what skill soever they had in architecture, they strove to manifest the same.

(W. Greenhill, M. A.)

To Ezekiel, as to the prophets generally, Tyre is the representative of commercial greatness, and the truth which he here seeks to illustrate is that the abnormal development of the mercantile spirit had in her case destroyed the capacity of faith in that which is truly Divine. The real god of Tyre was not Baal nor Melkarth, but the king, or any other object that might serve as a symbol of her civic greatness. Her religion was one that embodied itself in no outward ritual; it was the enthusiasm which was kindled in the heart of every citizen of Tyre by the magnificence of the imperial city to which he belonged. The state of mind which Ezekiel regards as characteristic of Tyre was perhaps the inevitable outcome of a high civilisation informed by no loftier religious conceptions than those common to heathenism. It is the idea which afterwards found expression in the deification of the Roman emperors — the idea that the state is the only power higher than the individual to which he can look for the furtherance of his material and spiritual interests, the only: power, therefore, which rightly claims his homage and his reverence. None the less, it is a state of mind which is destructive of all that is essential to living religion; and Tyre in her proud self-sufficiency was perhaps further from a true knowledge of God than the barbarous tribes who in all sincerity worshipped the rude idols which represented the invisible power that ruled their destinies. And in exposing the irreligious spirit which lay at the heart of the Tyrian civilisation the prophet lays his finger on the spiritual danger which attends the successful pursuit of the finite interests of human life. The thought of God, the sense of an immediate relation of the spirit of man to the Eternal and the Infinite, are easily displaced from men's minds by undue admiration for the achievements of a culture based on material progress, and supplying every need of human nature except the very deepest, the need of God. The commercial spirit is indeed but one of the forms in which men devote themselves to the service of this present world; but in any community where it reigns supreme we may confidently look for the same signs of religious decay which Ezekiel detected in Tyre in his own day. At all events, his message is not superfluous in an age and country where energies are well-nigh exhausted in the accumulation of the means of living, and whose social problems all run up into the great question of the distribution of wealth.

(John Skinner, M. A.)

Why was Tyrus rebuked and stripped and humbled? Because it came to pass in the case of Tyrus, as it comes to pass in our case, that too much prosperity begets a spirit of sneering. And God will not have any sneering in His school. How did Tyrus sneer? She sneered religiously, which is the worst kind of sneering. "Because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha." That "Aha" cost Tyrus her life. He who sneers at Jerusalem challenges God; he who mocks the humble poor defies high Heaven. Tyrus versus Jerusalem, — the case so limited, Jerusalem might go down; but so long as Jerusalem stands for godliness, the true worship, the right conception of things, he who offends Jerusalem has to fight Omnipotence. Can Tyrus fail? When Tyrus fails all the islands of the sea know of it: "Then all the princes of the sea shall come down," etc. Behold them all! — princes of Polynesia coming down from their thrones, stripping themselves, themselves folding up the garments and putting them away, and then replacing the garments embroidered and golden with garments of trembling. Why? Because famed Tyrus has fallen. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen. We should learn from ruins. O vain man, poor boaster, you shall beg tomorrow! You that steep your arms to the elbows in gold shall write a begging letter ere the year closes. Riches make to themselves wings and fly away, and the great Babylon which you have builded is but a bubble in the air. Lay not up for yourselves riches where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: have riches in heaven; have riches in the word of God. See the uselessness of what is called environment. Tyrus had environment enough; her shipboards, trees of cedar; her masts made of the cedars of Lebanon; her oars of the oaks of Bashan; fine linen with broidered work from Egypt, blue and purple from the isles of Elishah; treasure upon treasure. So much for environment! We think if we had more pictures on the walls we should pray more; if we had a larger garden behind the house we should be more spiritually minded. It is not so. A man's heaven is in his heart; a man's hell is within. Moreover, what is environment? Who are we that we should define environment and say, Under such and such circumstances such and such moral issues would take place? Never! unless there be something more. Only the Spirit can make man right, and only Christ, according to the faith, to the Christianity which I solemnly accept, can get at the spirit with renewing and sanctifying energy. All other teachers are reformers. Christ is a Saviour. When Christ gets into a man's heart, all the rest follows — all the cleanliness comes the same day, and on the morrow comes music, and on the third day comes the dawn of heaven.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Part of the city was on an island, and part on the mainland. Alexander, the conqueror, was much embarrassed when he found so much of the city was on an island, for he had no ships. But his military genius was not to be balked. Having marched his army to the beach, he ordered them to tear up the city on the mainland and throw it into the water, and build a causeway two hundred feet wide to the island. So they took that part of the city which was on the mainland, and with it built a causeway of timber and brick and stone, on which his army marched to the capture of that part of the city which was on the island, as though a hostile army should put Brooklyn into the East River, and over it march to the capture of New York. That Tyrian causeway of ruins which Alexander's army built is still there, and by alluvial deposits has permanently united the island to the mainland, so that it is no longer an island but a promontory. The sand, the greatest of all undertakers for burying cities, having covered up for the most part Baalbec and Palmyra and Thebes and Memphis and Carthage and Babylon and Luxor and Jericho, the sand, so small and yet so mighty, is now gradually giving rites of sepulture to what was left of Tyre. But, oh, what a magnificent city it once was! Mistress of the sea! Queen of international commerce! All nations casting their crowns at her feet! Where we have in our sailing vessels benches of wood, she had benches of ivory. Where we have for our masts of ships sails of coarse canvas, she had sails of richest embroidery.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Cities are not necessarily evils, as has sometimes been argued. They have been the birthplace of civilisation. In them popular liberty has lifted up its voice. Witness Genoa, Pisa, Venice. The entrance of the representatives of the cities in the legislatures of Europe was the deathblow to feudal kingdoms. Cities are the patronisers of art and literature. Cities hold the world's sceptre. Africa was Carthage, Greece was Athens, England is London, France is Paris, Italy is Rome.

I. COMMERCIAL ETHICS ARE ALWAYS AFFECTED BY THE MORAL OR IMMORAL CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO HAVE PRINCIPAL SUPREMACY. Officials that wink at fraud, and that have neither censure nor arraignment for glittering dishonesties, always weaken the pulse of commercial honour.

II. SO ALSO OF THE EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF A CITY. There are cities where educational affairs are settled in the low caucus in the abandoned parts of the cities, by men full of ignorance and rum. It ought not to be so; but in many cities it is so. I hear the tramp of the coming generations. What that great multitude of youth shall be for this world and the next will be affected very much by the character of our public schools. Instead of driving the Bible out, you had better drive the Bible further in.

III. THE CHARACTER OF OFFICIALS IN A CITY AFFECTS THE DOMESTIC CIRCLE. In a city where grog shops have their own way, and gambling hells are not interfered with, and for fear of losing political influence officials close their eyes to festering abominations — in all those cities the home interests need to make imploration. The family circles of the city must inevitably be affected by the moral character or the immoral character of those who rule over them.

IV. THE RELIGIOUS INTERESTS OF A CITY ARE THUS AFFECTED. The Church today has to contend with evils that the civil law ought to smite; and while I would not have the civil government in anywise relax its energy in the arrest and punishment of crime, I would have a thousand-fold more energy put forth in the drying up of the fountains of iniquity. The Church of God asks no pecuniary aid from political power; but it does ask that, in addition to all the evils we must necessarily contend against, we shall not have to fight also municipal negligence.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

"Thus said the Lord." This account of the trade of Tyre intimates to us that God's eye is upon men, and that He takes cognisance of what they do when they are employed in their worldly business, not only when they are at church, praying and hearing, but when they are in their markets and fairs, and upon the exchange, buying and selling, which is a good reason why we should in all our dealings keep a conscience void of offence, and have our eye always upon Him whose eye is always upon us.

( M. Henry.)

Ezekiel, Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadrezzar
Babylon, Edom, Jerusalem, Tyre
Affirmation, Age, Bring, Declares, Dreadful, Fear, Horrible, Says, Sought, Sovereign, Terror, Terrors, Though, Wastes, Yet
1. Tyrus, for insulting Jerusalem, is threatened with destruction
7. The power of Nebuchadnezzar against her
15. The mourning and astonishment of the sea at her fall

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 26:21

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Ezekiel 26:19-21

     5508   ruins

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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