Friday, June 19, 2009

Tyre and its destruction prophesied

I am keenly interested about the prophecies in the Bible regarding Tyre, so I decided to do some study regarding it.

Tyre is a city in the middle east that was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. God was displeased with this city so a number of prophet prophesied of its destruction. Many cites in the Bible were set for destruction by God but this one in particular I find rather amazing. Why?

It not only explains that it will be destroyed but how it will be destroyed...hundreds of years before it would happen.

The two prophets I will examine that prophecies about this account are Ezekiel and Zechariah. I will start with Zechariah and then talk about Ezekiel. The place it can be found in Zechariah is 9:1-4.

1 ¶ The burden of the word of the LORD Against the land of Hadrach, And Damascus its resting place (For the eyes of men And all the tribes of Israel Are on the LORD);
2 Also against Hamath, which borders on it, And against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.
3 For Tyre built herself a tower, Heaped up silver like the dust, And gold like the mire of the streets.
4 Behold, the Lord will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, And she will be devoured by fire.

Keeping in mind Tyre was a city built on the coast, this passage seems to suggest that God will "destroy her power in the sea". So what is the significance of this? We know that Alexander the Great did something similar exactly to this description. Alexander managed to defeat the people of Tyre on shore, however the people of Tyre had a fortress island which they fleed to enabling them to have safety. Alexander in order to get his army across the sea to attack, decided to pull down the city on shore and cast it into the sea to build a causeway in the sea to the Island. It is still there to this day, he defeated the people of Tyre completely. God foretold this! 1.

Zechariah wrote his book about 520-518 BC 2. Alexander did what was prophesied in 332BC! 1.

So we ask the question "So what? a fluke!", however it was not just one prophet that prophesied this but two.

We now turn to Ezekiel 26-27.
The passages I would like to focus on are 26:1-12,19 and 27:32-34.
Ezekiel amazingly was written between 593 BC and 571 BC 3., about 50-60 years before Zechariah wrote about Tyre.

A little controversy starts around these prophecies as to who it refers to that actually casts Tyre into the midst of the sea. At first glance it looks like Nebuchadnezzar that does it. It is true, as it is prophesied here, that Babylon would siege tyre. In fact Tyre was put under tribute by Babylon 4.
This prophecy seems to state that Babylon cast Tyre into the sea (v12) when it was actually Alexander the Great who did so.
Looking closer at the text tells us this is not so. In a commentary I was reading I thought they had reasonable answer and it seemed very logical. They state that the beginning of this chapter focuses on the king of Babylon and uses the pronoun "he", But when we hit v12 it changes to "they".
As I searched this out more, I found that at the beginning of this chapter it actually starts with using the word "they" (v2-6). I believe God is talking about all the rulers he will bring against Tyre including Alexander. From v7-11 the pronoun "he" is used to focus in and talk about the king of Babylon until we reach verse 12 which then changes the focus out again to other conquerors (speaking obviously of Alexander).
Note: that in v10 the word "their" obviously is refering to multiple horses in Nebuchadnezzar's army because it switches immediately back to "he" in v11.

Here are the passages studied:

Chapter 26:
1 ¶ And it came to pass in the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 "Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’
3 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up.
4 ‘And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.
5 ‘It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations.
6 ‘Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’
7 "For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people.
8 ‘He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you.
9 ‘He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.
10 ‘Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached.
11 ‘With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground.

12‘They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.

19 "For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you,

Chapter 27
32 In their wailing for you They will take up a lamentation, And lament for you: ‘What city is like Tyre, Destroyed in the midst of the sea?
33 ‘When your wares went out by sea, You satisfied many people; You enriched the kings of the earth With your many luxury goods and your merchandise.
34 But you are broken by the seas in the depths of the waters; Your merchandise and the entire company will fall in your midst.

It is prophecies like these that is strong evidence that it is more than just an old Book...but that it is actually true. It is God who foretold these events since He is the only one who can foretell the future. His prophets were merely his loyal servants...what mighty men of God they were too!


  1. That's pretty cool about the causeway, I looked online and I was looking for this 'bridge' type thing and I was looking and looking and finally I found the explanation on how the causeway caused the buildup of sediment so that the island is now totally attached to the mainland ;) a bit disappointing since I wanted to see how it originally looked but still kinda cool none the less. Not to mention one page had google earth on it and I looked all over the world with it for over an hour and that is just too cool :)

  2. It is rather cool how Alexander defeated Tyre. I get the sense he was a brilliant commander.

    Google earth would be cool. I have seen it breefly before but I would imagine it could be hungry on the internet cap :)

  3. Alexander also, allegedly, solved the 'Gordian knot' problem; a knot so complicated that no mere man was supposed to be able to unravel its endlessly intertwined cords.

    Al just sliced it in two with his sword. Bosh!

    Google Earth is one of the best things on the internet. New York has almost all of its buildings up and rendered in 3D!