The word of the LORD
came again unto me, saying,
This chapter may be considered as the second part of the
prophecy concerning Tyre. The prophet pursues his subject in
the manner of those ancient lamentations or funeral songs, in
which the praeficiae or mourning women first recounted whatever
was great or praiseworthy in the deceased, and then mourned his
fall. Here the riches, glory, and extensive commerce of Tyre
are enlarged upon, 1-25.
Her downfall is then described in a beautiful allegory,
executed in a few words, with astonishing brevity, propriety,
and perspicuity, 26;
upon which all the maritime and commercial world are
represented as grieved and astonished at her fate, and greatly
alarmed for their own, 27-36.
Besides the view which this chapter gives of the conduct of
Providence, and the example with which it furnishes the critic
and men of taste of a very elegant and highly finished piece of
composition, it likewise affords the antiquary a very curious
and interesting account of the wealth and commerce of ancient
times. And to the mind that looks for "a city that hath
foundations," what a picture does the whole present of the
mutability and inanity of all earthly things! Many of the
places mentioned in ancient history have, like Tyre, long ago
lost their political consequence; the geographical situation of
others cannot be traced; they have sunk in the deep waters of
oblivion; the east wind hath carried them away.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXVII
Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;
Verse 2. Take up a lamentation for Tyrus
] This is a singular and
curious chapter. It gives a very circumstantial account of the
trade of Tyre with different parts of the world, and the different sorts of merchandise
in which she trafficked. The places
and the imports
are as regularly entered here as they could have been in
a European custom-house.
And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art
a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD
; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am
of perfect beauty.a
Verse 3. The entry of the sea
] Tyre was a small island, or
rather rock, in the sea, at a short distance from the main land.
We have already seen that there was another Tyre on the main land;
but they are both considered as one city.
Thy borders are
in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.b
Verse 4. Thy builders have perfected thy beauty.
] Under the
allegory of a beautiful ship
, the prophet, here and in the
following verses, paints the glory of this ancient city. Horace
describes the commonwealth of Rome
by the same allegory, and is as
minute in his description, Carm
. lib. i. Od. xiv:-
O navis, referent in mare te novi
Fluctus? O quid agis? Fortiter occupa
Portum. Nonne video, ut
Nudum remigio latus,
Et malus celeri saucius Africo,
Antennaeque gemant? ac sine funibus
Vix durare carinae
AEquor! non tibi sunt integra lintea;
Non Di, quos iterum pressa votes malo:
Quamvis Pontica pinus,
Sylvae filia nobilis,
Jactes et genus, et nomen inutile
Nil pictis timidus navita puppibus
Fidit. Tu, nisi, ventis
Debes ludibrium, cave.
Unhappy vessel, shall the waves again
Tumultuous bear thee to the faithless main?
What, would thy madness thus with storms to sport?
Cast firm your anchor in the friendly port.
Behold thy naked decks, the wounded mast,
And sail-yards groan beneath the southern blast.
Nor, without ropes, thy keel can longer brave
The rushing fury of the imperious wave:
Torn are thy sails; thy guardian gods are lost,
Whom you might call, in future tempests tost.
What, though majestic in your pride you stood,
A noble daughter of the Pontic wood,
You now may vainly boast an empty name,
Of birth conspicuous in the rolls of fame.
The mariner, when storms around him rise,
No longer on a painted stern relies.
Ah! yet take heed, lest these new tempests sweep,
In sportive rage, thy glories to the deep.
I give this as a striking parallel to many passages in this
They have made all thy ship
boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.c
Verse 5. Fir trees of Senir
is a mountain which the
Sidonians called Sirion, and the Hebrews Hermon
, De 3:9
. It was
beyond Jordan, and extended from Libanus to the mountains of
the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of
out of the isles of Chittim.d, e
Verse 6. Of the oaks of Bashan
] Some translate alder
, others the pine
. The company of the Ashurites
] The word asherim
several translated boxwood
. The seats
being made of
this wood inlaid with ivory
. Isles of Chittim
] The Italian islands; the islands of Greece;
says Macedonia is meant.
Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee.f
Verse 7. Fine linen
] shesh, cotton cloth
. In this sense the
word is generally to be understood. To be thy sail
] Probably the flag-ensign
, is meant. Blue and purple from the isles of Elishah
, a part of the Peloponnesus
The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men
, O Tyrus, that
were in thee, were thy pilots.
Verse 8. Zidon
] Or Arad
. Two powerful cities on the
Phoenician coast, in the neighbourhood of Tyre, from which Tyre
had her sailors; and the best instructed of her own inhabitants
were her pilots or steersmen.
The ancients of Gebal and the wise men
thereof were in thee thy calkers: all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise.g
Verse 9. The ancients of Gebal
] This was a city of Phoenicia,
near Mount Libanus, Jos 13:5
. It was called Biblos
by the Greeks. Thy calkers
] Those who repaired their vessels; paying
, as it is
termed, pitched hemp into the seams, to prevent the water from
oozing through. To occupy thy merchandise.
] That is, to be thy agents
They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.
Verse 10. They of Persia
] Lud, the Lydians; Phut
, a people of
Africa, see Ge 10:6
. From these places they had auxiliary troops;
for as they traded with the then known world, were rich, and could
afford to give good pay, they no doubt had soldiers and sailors
from every part. Skilful and desperate men will go any where after
The men of Arvad with thine army were
upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadims were in thy towers: they hanged their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect.
Verse 11. The Gammadims were in thy towers
] Some think these
were a people of Phoenicia; others, that tutelar images
others, that the word expresses strong men
, who acted as guards
, the pygmies, who were fabled to be a
little people of a cubit
in height, from gomed
. a cubit
and are are told that this little people were celebrated for their
wars with the cranes
; but nothing of this kind can enter into this
description. Probably a people inhabiting the promontories of
Phoenicia are here intended; and their hanging their shields upon the walls
is a proof that soldiers
are meant, and persons of skill
and prowess too.
thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of
riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.
Verse 12. Tarshish
was thy merchant
] After having given an
account of the naval
equipment of this city, he now
speaks of the various places
with whom the Tyrians
traded, and the different kinds of merchandise imported from those
some understand the Carthaginians
; some think Tartessus
, near the straits of Gibraltar, is meant; others, Tharsis
in Cilicia. The place was famous for all the useful
metals, silver, iron, tin
, and lead
. All these they might have had
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were
thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.h
Verse 13. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech
] The Ionians, the
Tybarenians, and the Cappadocians, or Muscovites. They traded the persons of men
] That is, they trafficked in slaves
. The bodies and souls of men were bought and sold in
those days, as in our degenerate age. With these also they traded
in brazen vessels.
They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.
Verse 14. Togarmah
] The Sarmatians
. Some think Cappadocia
With these they dealt in horses, mules
, and horsemen
; or probably draught horses
and war horses
The men of Dedan were
thy merchants; many isles were
the merchandise of thine hand: they brought thee for
a present horns of ivory and ebony.
Verse 15. The men of Dedan
] Dedan was one of the descendants of
Abraham by Keturah, and dwelt in Arabia, Ge 25:3
might come from that quarter. By way of
distinction ivory is called both in Hebrew shen
, and in Arabic
, the TOOTH, as that beautiful substance is the tooth
of the elephant
thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making: they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds, purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, and coral, and agate.i, j
Verse 16. Syria
] These were always a mercantile people. For the
precious stones mentioned here See Clarke on Ex 28:17
Judah, and the land of Israel, they were
thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.k
Verse 17. Judah, and the land of Israel-traded in thy market wheat
] The words have been understood as articles of merchandise,
not names of places
. So the Jews traded with the Tyrians in wheat, stacte, balsam, honey, oil
, and resin
thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and white wool.
Verse 18. Damascus wine of Helbon
] Now called by the Turks
Haleb, and by us Aleppo. White wool.
] Very fine wool: wool of a fine quality. Some think Milesian wool
Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.l
Verse 19. Dan also and Javan
] It is probable that both these
words mean some of the Grecian islands. Going to and fro
] They both took
: but meuzal
, from uzal
, may be a proper name.
What place is signified I cannot tell, unless it be Azal
, a name,
according to Kamoos
, of the capital of Arabia Felix.
thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots.m
Verse 20. Dedan
] Possibly the descendants of Dedan
, son of Raamah
, see Ge 10:7
. In precious clothes for chariots.
] Either fine carpets, or rich
housings for horses, camels, &c., used for riding.
Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they
Verse 21. Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar
] Arabia Deserta,
on the confines of the Dead Sea. The Kedarenes
inhabited the same
country. These brought lambs, rams
, and goats
for the consumption
of the city.
The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were
thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.
Verse 22. Sheba and Raamah
] Inhabitants of Arabia Felix, at the
entrance of the Persian Gulf, who were famous for their riches and
Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and
Verse 23. Haran
] In Mesopotamia; well known in Scripture. Canneh
] Or Chalane
; see Ge 10:10
. It is supposed to be a cape
or port of Arabia Felix, on the Indian Sea. Eden
] Equally famous: supposed to have been situated near the
confluence of the Tygris
] Different from that in Eze 27:22
. This was probably near
the country of the Edomites. Asshur
] Perhaps the Assyrians. Chilmad
] Possibly Cholmadora
, on the Euphrates. Ptol
. lib. v..
cap. 15. For several of these places, and the persons from whom
they derived their names, see Ge 10:1-32
, and the notes there;
and see Calmet
thy merchants in all sorts of things
, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.o, p
Verse 24. These
were thy merchants in all sorts
of things] The
above people traded with the Tyrians in a great variety of the
most valuable merchandise: blue
or purple cloth, boxes of cedar, covered with skins, and bound with silken cords, and sealed with an engraved seal, finely cut, &c
. See the Chaldee
The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market: and thou wast replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
Verse 25. The ships of Tarshish
] The ships of Tharsis
Cilicia, were the chief of those which traded with thee.
¶ Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.q
Verse 26. Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters
is still considered under the allegory of a ship
; and all the
vessels of different nations trading with her are represented as
towing her into deep waters-bringing her into great affluence. But
while in this state, a stormy east wind
, or a destructive wind,
meaning the Chaldeans, arises, and dashes her to pieces! See the
ode from Horace
, already quoted on Eze 27:4
Thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots, thy calkers, and the occupiers of thy merchandise, and all thy men of war, that are
in thee, and in all thy company which is
in the midst of thee, shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin.r, s
Verse 27. Thy riches
] This vast ship, laden with all kinds of
valuable wares, and manned in the best manner, being wrecked, all
her valuables, sailors, officers
, &c., went to the bottom.
The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.t
Verse 28. The cry of thy pilots.
] When the ship was dashed
against the rocks by the violence of the winds and the waves, and
all hope of life was taken away, then a universal cry was set up
by all on board. I have heard this cry, and nothing more dismal
can be imagined, when the ship by a violent tempest is driving
on a lee shore. Then "All lost! cut away the boat!" is
more dreadful than the cry of fire
And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and
all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land;
And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes:
Verse 30. Shall cry bitterly
] All that were on the land, seeing
this dreadful sight, a gallant ship perishing with all her men and
goods, are represented as setting up a dismal cry at this
heart-rending sight. But what must they have felt who were on
board? Reader, wert thou ever shipwrecked
? Wert thou ever in a hurricane
on a lee rocky shore
, where the helm had lost its
power, and the sails were rendered useless? Dost thou remember
that apparently last moment, when the ship drove up to the
tremendous rocks, riding on the back of a mountainous surge? Then
what was the universal cry? Hast thou ever heard any thing so
terrific? so appalling? so death and judgment-like? No. It is
impossible. These are the circumstances, this is the cry, that the
prophet describes; disorder, confusion, dismay, and ruin. And this
is a scene which the present writer has witnessed, himself a part
of the wretched, when all hope of life was taken away, the yawning
gulf opened, and nothing presented itself to support body or soul
but that GOD who gave to both their being, and ultimately rescued
him and his forlorn companions from one of the worst of deaths, by
heaving the ship from the rocks by the agency of a tremendous
receding wave. My soul hath these things still in remembrance, and
therefore is humbled within me.
And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and
And in their wailing they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and lament over thee, saying
, What city is
like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?
Verse 32. What
city is like Tyrus
] This, to the end of the
chapter, is the lamentation.
When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.
In the time when
thou shalt be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters thy merchandise and all thy company in the midst of thee shall fall.
All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their
The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be
any more.u, v
Verse 36. Shall hiss at thee
, shall shriek
for thee. This powerfully expresses the sensation made on the
feelings of the spectators on the shore when they saw the vessel