The Word Made Fresh
1The LORD’s word came to me: 2“Son of man, raise a lament for Tyre. 3Tell them who are located on the sea, the merchants of many coastland people, that the LORD says to them,
Tyre, you have said that you are perfect in beauty.
4Your borders are formed by the sea.
Your builders made your beauty in perfection.
5They crafted you from the wood of fir trees in Senir.
They took cedar from Lebanon for your posts.
6From Bashan they used oaks for your oars,
and pines from the Cyprus seaside for your decks,
inlaid with ivory.
7Your sails were of finely embroidered linen from Egypt.
Blue and purple were your awnings from the coasts of Elishah.
8Your oarsmen were from Sidon and Arvad.
Men of skill from Zemer were your pilots.
9Elders and artisans from Gebal were within you.
They caulked the seams of your ships.
Their mariners were with you, bartering for your wares.
10Persia, Lud, and Put provided warriors for your army.
They hung their shields and helmets within you
and gave their splendor to you.
11Your walls were guarded by men of Arvad and Helech,
and your towers by men of Gamad.
They hung their quivers on your walls all around
and made your beauty perfect.
12Tarshish traded with you because of your abundant wealth;
silver, iron, tin, and lead were exchanged for your wares.
13Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you,
exchanging people and bronze vessels for your merchandise.
14Beth-togarmah traded horses and mules for your wares.
15Men from Dedan traded with you;
your special markets were all along the coasts.
They paid you with ivory tusks and ebony.
16Edom also traded with you for your abundant goods;
they paid with turquoise, purple embroidered cloth,
fine linen, coral, and rubies.
17Judah and Israel traded with you;
for your goods they traded wheat from Minith,
oats, honey, oil, and balm.
18Because of your great abundance, Damascus traded with you as well;
for Helbon wine and white wool.
19Danites and Greeks from Uzal traded saddlecloth for your goods;
they bartered with wrought iron, cassia, and sweet cane.
20Dedan traded saddlecloth for riding.
21Arabia and Kedar sold you lambs, rams, and goats for your money.
22Sheba and Raamah traded for your wares the best of spices,
and precious stones, and gold.
23Haran, Canneh, Eden, Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad traded with you.
24They brought expensive clothing of blue and embroidered cloth,
and carpets of various colors, wrapped and bound with cords.
They traded with you in exchange for these goods.
25Ships of Tarshish sailed in your service to trade for you,
and you were filled and loaded heavily on the great seas.
26Your rowers brought you into the high seas,
and the east wind wrecked your ships in the heart of the seas.
27Your wealth, your merchandise, your sailors and pilots,
your caulkers and dealers, and all your warriors
and everyone with you will sink into the heart of the seas
on the day of your destruction.
28The countryside quakes at the sound of the cry of your pilots.
29All that handle the oars and all the other sailors and pilots
are standing on the shoreline,
30crying loudly and bitterly over you,
throwing dust on their heads and rolling in ashes.
31They shave their hair for you and wear sackcloth;
they weep bitterly over you and mourn loudly.
32They wail and cry out in lamentation over you,
“Who has ever been silenced like Tyre in the middle of the ocean?
33When your goods came from the seas you enriched many peoples.
You used your great wealth and abundant merchandise
to enrich the kings of the earth.
34But now the seas have wrecked you,
and you are thrown into the deep waters,
taking your goods and your crew with you.
35All who live along the seashore are mortified,
and their kings terribly frightened, their faces contorted.
36The merchants among the nations snort at you,
for you have come to an ignominious end,
and you shall never exist again.”
1-11: Following the judgment on Tyre, Ezekiel is to raise a lamentation. Tyre is described as a sturdy sailing vessel clad with planks of fir, masts of cedar, oars of oak, decks of boxwood (or pines) inlaid with ivory, and sails of finest linen. Foreigners, each group no doubt renowned for their special abilities, man the oars, guide the rudders, repair the leaks, market the goods, and provide protection. Verse 11 abandons the ship imagery and describes the walls and towers of the city.
12-25: Here we (surely!) have an exhaustive list of Tyre’s customers and wares from all over the known world of the day — some of the places mentioned are unknown today. Tyre’s traders bring in a rich supply of every known commodity: metals of every kind, slaves, animals, ebony and ivory, fine cloths, gems, food, wine, spices, and so forth.
26-36: Now it is all lost to the sea that brought it. Their great “ship” is sunk in the waves, and everyone is aghast at the calamity, certain that such a terrible thing has never happened to any other nation.
The outpouring of anger toward Tyre is a bit surprising as Tyre was an old ally of Israel and Judah – remember King Hiram of Tyre who supplied David and Solomon wood for their building endeavors (2 Samuel chapters 5 and 14; 1 Kings 5 and 9; 1 Chronicles 14; 2 Chronicles 2 et al). But they became haughty in their wealth and international connections, and Ezekiel saw their demise. God judges nations as well as individuals. A warning?