113-123 Isaiah Chapter 23
The Fall of Tyre
Tyre was to the north of Israel and was the leading port of Phoenicia. Phoenicia was a great maritime power in the ancient world. The importance of the harbor made it a center for shipping. Tyre became synonymous with commerce and materialism. Tyre was small in size and military power but because of its excellent harbor and seamanship, it became a great commercial empire. The city of Tyre had two parts. It was an inland city and also an island city. The inland city had both been conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, just as Isaiah had prophesied. The island city was later conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.
In the past, King Hiram had supplied King David and King Solomon timber for building the Temple and other projects. King Hiram had also given King Solomon sailors so Israel could also build commerce from the sea. In later years Tyre gave Israel one of the worst rulers they had ever had, Jezebel, the wife of King Ahaz.
Isaiah presents a picture of the sailors from Tyre in the land of Cyprus and for Egypt when hearing of the destruction of the harbor at Tyre. This news causes them to wail in agony.
Money ruled Tyre. The merchants were princes and the traders were men of honor on the earth. To be considered a leader or an honorable man you need not have a royal heritage, be a good or honorable man. The only thing needed to be a success in business. Because of the great success of Tyre, they had become proud and full in their self-glory. The Lord of host purposed to judge and humble Tyre and the Prophet Isaiah announced it. “Pride, pride, pride, is that basic sin to which God is ever opposed, and man is ever expressing.” (Jennings)
God used both the Assyrians and the Babylonians to bring the city of Tyre to ruin.
God who is able to control time decrees the exact amount of years that Tyre will be forgotten. Isaiah states that at the end of the appointed time of God’s judgment Tyre will be remembered again.
After the seventy years of God’s judgment, Tyre in the symbol of a prostitute will go on with here gross materialism with the other kingdoms of the world. But her profit will be set apart for the Lord. The visit of the Lord is believed by commentators to denote the time of the Christian early Church.
After the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar recovered as Isaiah said. Again as with its trade in the ancient times gained wealth and grandeur. And also recovered after the destruction by Alexander. And like its neighbors, Tyre became Christian. When the Apostle Paul visited there he found many Christians in Tyre. (Acts 21:3) Tyre remained Christian until it was taken by the Saracens in 639 A.D. In 1124 it was recovered by the Christians but in 1280 was conquered by the Mamelukes and later taken by the Turks in 1517. Since that time it has sunk into utter decay and is now a mere ruin and has become as the Prophet Ezekiel said a bare rock. (Ezekiel 26:14)