"Son of man, take up a lament for the king of Tyre and tell him that this is what the Lord GOD says: 'You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
This feeling of superhuman elevation in the King of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called "the holy island," being sacred to Hercules; so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre, as the mother city of their religion as well as of their political existence.
There is no reason why we should not regard the biblical narrative of Adam's trial and fall as fact and as allegory also. There is no real discrepancy between these two principles of interpretation. We are bound to accept it as a narrative of historical fact. Yet it is also an outline picture of every man's history. In each man's case there is the Edenic period of innocence, there is the crisis of first temptation, there is the fall, and then the banishment from Edenic joy. The circumstances of the first probation are more clearly and vividly reproduced in the case of a young prince than in any other. Hence the application to the King of Tyre.
I. THE KING CONSIDERED AS THE IDEAL MAN. Adam was placed in Eden as a monarch. He was placed in dominion over all creatures in earth, or air, or sea. This gave him a great "coin of vantage." In this respect he was made after the pattern of God - he was God-like. All that ministered to his needs was within his reach. Not a thing was denied to him that could meet a want or satisfy a just desire. His home was stored with every form of beauteous vegetation and with every kind of precious gem. And he was priest as well as king. He had access to God at all times. In him creation was summed up. In a similar position was the King of Tyrus placed. All material good was within his reach. There was no temptation to acquire wealth by unlawful means. Tyre and its possessions were to him as a garden, over which he could roam at large, He stood towards men in the stead of God - the dispenser of truth and justice. He was gifted with robust health and with abundant wisdom. He had all that heart could wish. He was placed in an Eden of abundance - "in Eden, the garden of God." Like Adam, he was on his trial.
II. THE TEMPTATION. To every man temptation comes. If his heart be not set upon the acquisition of spiritual riches - wisdom, holiness, and love - he will desire inordinately the lower good, and will break through lawful restraints in order to possess it. This is the core and essence of temptation. In this way the King of Tyre was tested. He was set up by God to exemplify righteousness, and to administer justice among the people. Nor among his own subjects only, but from his high position "the mountain of God" - he could have disseminated righteous principles among all the nations with whom Tyre traded. Yet in this respect the king egregiously failed. His love of gain was too great - was excessive. It overmastered his love of righteousness. What advantage he could not gain by fair and legitimate methods he extorted by violence. This is clear from Ver. 16, "By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence." If the king personally was not the prime instigator of these deeds, he connived at them through unprincipled or corrupt judges. His prosperity and glory made him vain and arrogant. Temptation came to pluck the forbidden fruit, and the king weakly yielded.
III. THE CRIME. The crime was selfishness, covetousness, avarice. This favored and fortunate man was placed in the possession of abundance. There was one thing he might not do. He might not rob others to enrich himself. The possessions of the foreigner ought to have been as much respected and protected as his own. But the devil whispered in his ear counsels of unrighteous enrichment, and he listened, wavered, succumbed. "Iniquity was found in thee." "Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom;" i.e. thou hast twisted it into cunning and craftiness. "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic." He had imagined that no higher power than himself would supervise his deeds. "God is not observant of such things," said his wily tempter. "Thou shalt not surely die." This was his crime. His very brightness - his prosperity - brought him into scenes of new temptation. He might have blessed mankind; but he was set on selfish ends. He was in indecent haste to aggrandize self. He trampled on others' rights, on law and order, that he might swell his self-importance. He chafed against the idea that he, a king, was only a subject to a higher scepter. He would brook no interference with his proud will. This was his crime.
IV. THE RAVISHMENT. "I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God.... I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." The exclusion from Eden is here repeated. The changes of fortune through which Adam passed, every one, in a measure, passes through also. "I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee." No heavier punishment can be passed upon a man than banishment from God's favor. Where God is, there is safety; where God is not, there is ruin. Where God is, there is heaven; where he is not, there is hell. To be forsaken of God - this is despair and woe. God departed from Saul, and straightway he began to descend the slippery plane that landed him in destruction. Appearances are very delusive. The eye is easily deceived. Beneath a fair exterior of prosperity there is often incipient decay, yea, corruption hastening to final ruin. "Pride goeth before a fall." If we have made God our foe, not all the alliances and intrigues in the universe can save us from destruction. - D.
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus.
Who has not sometimes, standing on Brooklyn Bridge, and looking off on the forests of masts, or upon the fleets sailing back and forth upon the river, or at the great warehouses upon one side and the homes beautiful and happy upon the other — who has not sometimes called up in his imagination the picture of Ephesus or Athens or Corinth, where great ships once rode at anchor, whose old-time harbour is now a great morass? Who has not wondered whether the time may not come in some far future age when men shall come and look on the ruins of this great bridge and the ruins of this great city and the harbour filled up with its own filth, and will regret it as we regret the forgotten splendours of Mexico or of Central America? Decay is on all men's institutions. Persia, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Venice, Spain, all lived out their life as we are living ours, and all fell into their decay, their senility, and their grave. Are we to follow them? I do not know. But this I know: that behind all these institutions, behind all these governments and laws, there is an eternal law manifested and revealed. I know not how long this republic shall endure; but I know this, that behind all kingdoms and republics, in them and by them, is manifested the eternal kingdom of God; nay, the very governments that set themselves against that kingdom to break down and destroy it are speaking, whether they will or they will not, the word that endureth forever. "Tell me what lessons you have to teach us, O you nations of the past!" And Babylon lifts up her voice and says, "I have to teach you this: that any nation that puts its foot on the neck of prostrate humanity seals its death warrant and hastens to its own doom." And Greece says, "I have this to tell you: that no art, no philosophy, no culture, can save from death the nation that is immoral." And Rome says, "I have this to tell you: that no power of law will make a nation safe and strong if there be corruption eating out the heart of it." And Venice says, "I have this to say to you: that no nation is rich, though its fleets sail all seas, if it be poor in manhood." And Spain says, "I have this to say to you: that pride, for the nation as for the individual, cometh before a fall!" And then I wonder, as I look upon my own dear native land, whether she will learn these lessons writ so large in all the history of the past. Whether we are to illustrate by our own stupendous and awful ruin that, though a nation have power and culture and wealth and law and pride, it perishes without a God; or whether we shall rather teach this: that a nation whose kings are uncrowned kings, and who beckons from far across the sea the ignorant, the unlearned, and the incompetent, is strong and enduring, because it has enshrined God in its heart and has founded itself on that judgment and that justice which are the foundations of His throne. What the history of the future shall have for our dear land, who can tell? But whether this nation is born to teach a lesson by its folly or its wisdom, by its fidelity or by its infidelity, back of all these transitory and decaying nations stands writ the truth of Him who in national life is speaking, and whose word endureth forever.
H.W. Beecher strikingly compares the great heaps of wealth that some men pile up to the Pyramids of Egypt. There they stand, looking grand on the outside, but within they contain only the dust of kings. So with these fine appearing fortunes which have been heaped up in forgetfulness of God's service. They contain within only the dust of what might have been a kingly character.
PeopleDaniel, Ezekiel, Jacob, Zidon
PlacesSidon, Tigris-Euphrates Region, Tyre
TopicsAccurate, All-wise, Beautiful, Beauty, Completely, Full, Grief, Hast, Lamentation, Lift, Measure, Measurement, Model, Perfect, Perfection, Raise, Says, Seal, Sealest, Sealing, Signet, Song, Sovereign, Sum, Thus, Tyre, Tyrus, Wisdom
Outline1. God's judgment upon the prince of Tyrus for his sacrilegious pride
11. A lamentation of his great glory corrupted by Sidon
20. The judgment of Zion
24. The restoration of Israel
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEzekiel 28:12
4241 Garden of Eden
8322 perfection, human
8483 spiritual warfare, causes
Text: Philippians 2, 5-11. 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that …
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II
The Doctrine of Satan.
I. HIS EXISTENCE AND PERSONALITY. 1. EXISTENCE. 2. PERSONALITY. II. HIS PLACE AND POWER. 1. A MIGHTY ANGEL. 2. PRINCE OF POWER OF THE AIR. 3. GOD OF THIS WORLD. 4. HEAD OF KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. 5. SOVEREIGN OVER DEATH. III. HIS CHARACTER. 1. ADVERSARY. 2. DIABOLOS. 3. WICKED ONE. 4. TEMPTER. IV. OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS SATAN. 1. LIMITED POWER OF SATAN. 2. RESIST HIM. V. HIS DESTINY. 1. A CONQUERED ENEMY. 2. UNDER ETERNAL CURSE. VI. DEMONS. THE DOCTRINE OF SATAN. Throughout the Scriptures Satan is set …
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 We are now come to the last beatitude: Blessed are they which are persecuted . . '. Our Lord Christ would have us reckon the cost. Which of you intending to build a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have enough to finish it?' (Luke 14:28). Religion will cost us the tears of repentance and the blood of persecution. But we see here a great encouragement that may …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
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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