Read Ezekiel 25-28
The history of cities can be quite fascinating. Tyre, the ancient home to the Phoenicians, has a long history with Israel, from the days of King David and his son Solomon when Hiram assisted in the construction of the temple. The cedar trees of Lebanon will not fall by themselves. And by this task and others Tyre made considerable profits and the supply of wheat. (Ezekiel 27:17) Trade was the the renown and principle activity of the city of Tyre. It took Solomon seven years to build this house, and there were cherubim in the design of the temple, for Ezekiel to allegorically prophesy of a cherubim is relevant to the city. Historically the second father and king of Tyre, Hiram ruling roughly from 980-947 BC, is acquainted with not only David’s house but the design and construction of the temple. 2 Chronicles 2:3-14 clearly outlines their particular roles in the master crafting of the temple. They send a highly skilled man over to Jerusalem whose name is Huram-abi. His mother is from the daughters of Dan. His father is a man of Tyre. The wisdom of the architecture is unrivaled. Solomon is renown for his wisdom, wealth, and the glory of the temple is still referenced today. Tyre is home to these architects. Consider the potential of her beauty, unmatched, unparalleled second only to Solomon’s kingdom. The velvety indigo color of royalty characterized the Phoenicians. And when the first city of glory, Zion begins to divide and crumble, the door of prominence is wide open. Temptation must always have opportunity and hundreds of years later the city is given over to the temptation and seduction of their own beauty. Egotheism rivals their monotheistic worship of Melqart, the son of Baal. It was not always so!
Understand the attitude towards Solomon from Hiram, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord” (2 Chronicles 2:11). This suggests a respect for the God of Israel. Tyrians worship Melqart, which will not save them from the destruction. Ezekiel uses 3 allegories to deliver this oracle, the scraping of a rock, the sinking of the ship, the dethroning of the king, all in unison lament, Tyre will fall regardless of who they worship.
The beginning of the downfall of Tyre comes through the seduction of wealth and great esteem of their impressive and impregnable island city, on the sea. They were known for creating the Phoenician alphabet, and their extensive maritime and engineering skills. However the song from The Greatest Showman, NEVER ENOUGH, comes to mind. Their city is the origin and primary exporter of a beautifully sought after purple dye. And the extensive trade and maritime ships all worked like yeast in the the city puffing up the pride of its kings. So, when Ezekiel pronounces judgment, he describes Tyre like a ship full of all of this merchandise yet they cannot stop the storm that is coming. It is titanic in its destruction. The Mediterranean basin will be struck a devastating blow that causes them to lament as Babylon will lay siege.
Jezebel, wife of king, Ahab, and a massive promoter of Baal worship, comes from Tyre. Her father is Ethbaal, king of the Phoenician city-state of Tyre and she kills many of the prophets of God during the days of Elijah and Elisha will anoint Jehu, to serve her judgement. Tyre has the similarities of the prostitute of Revelation 17:1 both are sitting on many waters. Likewise when the prostitute falls, the kings of the earth mourn because of her luxuries and trade are no more. This woman is dressed in purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls very similar descriptions to the Phoenicians of Tyre. Revelation 17:18– the woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.
Geographical Tyre is a bit like Manhattan Island in New York full of the wealth and riches of the nation. Mark Twain often said, ‘History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.’ As the trade towers fell, there is a trade epicenter in the Levantine coast about to fall. Winston Churchill said, ‘Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Either way, history rhymes or it repeats there is a clear warning in Ezekiel’s lament for all kings and all cities of immense luxury and trade.
Ezekiel will prophesy over Tyre, as we read Ezekiel 26:1-6 the Lord lays it flat on the table. Tyre says, Aha! The gate to the nations is broken and its doors have swung open to me. She lies in ruins I will prosper. And the Sovereign, Lord, says, I am against you. I will bring many nations against you, like the sea, casting up its waves.
Nebuchadnezzar comes against it, from 586-573 BC and cuts off the mainland portion of Tyre for 13 years. The siege begins just one year after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem on 2 Adar 587, which is March 16. A vassal king serving Babylon replaces the King of Tyre. Then roughly 280 years later, in 332 BC, Alexander the Great believing himself to be the embodiment of Hercules comes to conquer. In Ezekiel 26:4 scraping of the dust is a ‘fait accompli’ for the Tyrians. And it’s Alexander, who overthrows Tyre, using the rubble left by Nebuchadnezzar throwing the stones into the sea to make mole. This is a bridge if you will, or crossway to the island to overthrow it. The overthow by Alexander kills or sells into slavery 30,000 Tyrians.
As for the analogy of the anointed cherub, this is a clear depiction of the fall of one who has had great purpose in the house of God, and yet exalted themselves with tremendous pride. (Ezekiel 28:17-18)
Sidon will not escape either. The Abrahamic covenant stands, I will curse those that curse you, as much as it’s blessings had previously profited Tyre and Sidon, I will bless those that bless you.
Invulnerability ends for the prideful. Ezekiel closes this oracle with a promise tying the assured destruction of Tyre and Sidon to the equally assured promise to Israel. The prophet finishes with a guarantee, the double faced, malicious neighbors will no longer trouble Israel in the future. The unchanging consolations of Psalm 37 stands, those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. And Psalm 2:2-11 the kings of the earth rise up, and the Lord rebukes them. I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain. Therefore, you, kings, be wise; be warned, rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Judah will return to the land. Israel will be gathered they will not remain scattered. This proves God is holy in the sight of all nations. God is holy. YAHWEH is perfectly seen in Jesus Christ, who not only is able to attain a perfect life, but he continues to maintain absolute perfection for all time.
Christ is NOT like the Florida Gators 🐊 following their 2008 championship. They were the number one ranking team possibly the greatest college football team of all time. What incredible pressure they faced internally and externally in the 2009 championship playoff, where although undefeated in the season they were unable to maintain the dynasty of their national championship. The Gator’s loss was humbling 32-13. What lessons we can learn from lives all around us. The king of Tyre could never really attain godlike status let alone maintain it.
There is only one way to achieve perfection in the eyes of God. The wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of our God. (1 Corinthians 3:19) Jesus is wiser than Solomon. (Matthew 12:42) and Jesus is the exact radiance of God‘s glory. (Hebrews 1: 3) The glory that filled the temple, and by God’s Spirit fills believers still today. Jesus is the unblemished blessed son, Hiram spoke of prophetically when he blessed the God of Israel, who had given King, David, a wise son who would build a temple made without hands, eternal in the heavens for us who believe. (2 Corinthians 5) Consider how clear it is for us, in Hebrews 10:12,14 But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever, sat down at the right hand of God… For by one offering he has perfected forever, those who are being sanctified. The luxuriant pride of life is not what is guaranteed as much as it’s a life of sanctifying safety, building houses, and planting vineyards. The reigning CHAMPION King Jesus promises us, a life abundant, more than that a life eternal is ahead for God’s people.
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses 🐎 but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.