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the king of Ascalon, went in ships, and built Tyre. But though Tyre was the daughter of Sidon, yet the daughter soon equalled, and in time excelled, the mother; and became the most celebrated place in the world for its trade and navigation; the seat of commerce, and the centre of riches; and is therefore called by Isaiah, xxiii. 3 and 8, a mart of nations,” “ the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth.” It was in this wealthy and flourishing condition, when the prophets foretold its destruction : Isaiah's prediction was 125 years, at least, before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.
An extensive and beneficial trade soon produces luxury and pride. So it fared with the Tyrians; and for those, as also for their other vices, and their insults, and their injuries done to the Jews, the prophets prophesied against them. Isaiah mentions their pride as the great occasion of their fall, xxiii. 9.
Ezekiel, xxvii. 3, describes the luxury of their shipping. He censures likewise the pride of the king of Tyre in arrogating to himself divine honours, xxviii. 2: “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, thus saith the Lord God; because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god; I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God; though thou set thy heart as the heart of God. With thy wisdom and with thy understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures : by thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thy heart is lifted up because of thy riches. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, because thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God, behold, therefore, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness! They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas."
The prophets, Joel and Amos, had both before denounced the Divine judgments upon the Tyrians for their wickedness in general, and in particular for their cruelty to the children of Israel; and for buying and selling them like cattle in the markets.--Thus saith the Lord by the prophet Joel, iii. 5: “ Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things : The children also of Judah, and the children of Jerusalem, have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and I will return your recompence upon your
Amos speaketh to the same purpose, i. 9: .« Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant;" that is, the league and alliance between Hiram, king of Tyre, on the one part, and David and Solomon on the other.
Ezekiel also begins his prophecy with a declaration, that it was occasioned by their insulting over the Jews, upon the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, xxvi. 2, 3 : “ Son of man,
, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aba, she is broken that was the gates of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste; therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, oh, Tyrus! and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up!"
These were the occasions of the prophecies against Tyre; and by carefully considering and comparing the prophecies, we shall find the following particulars included in them, that the city VOL. II.
was to be taken and destroyed by the Chaldeans, who were, at the time of the delivery of the prophecy, an inconsiderable people; and particularly by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; that the inhabitants should fly over the Mediterranean into the isles and countries adjoining; and even there should not find a quiet settlement; that the city should be restored, after 70 years, and return to her gain and merchandise; that it should be taken, and destroyed again; that the people should in time forsake their idolatry, and become converts to the true religion and worship of God; and finally that the city should be totally destroyed, and become a place only for fishermen to spread their nets upon. These particulars were not only distinctly foretold, but likewise exactly fulfilled.
The city was to be taken and destroyed by the Chaldeans, who were, at the time of the delivery of the prophecy, an inconsiderable people. The Assyrians were at that time the great monarchs of the east, the Chaldees were their slaves and subjects, and therefore it is the more extraordi. nary that the prophet should, so many years beforehand, foresee the successes and the conquests of the Chaldees.
Ezekiel lived nearer the time, and he declares expressly that the city should be taken, and de
stroyed by “ Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; a king of kings from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.” “ Ho shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.” Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, had besieged Tyre, but without success; the Tyrians had, with a few ships, beaten his large fleet; but yet Nebuchadnezzar should prevail.
Ezekiel not only foretold the siege, but mentioned it afterwards as a past transaction, xxix. 18: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus, every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled.”
Menander the Ephesian, translated Phænician annals into Greek; and Josephus affirmed upon that authority, that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre thirteen years, when Ithobal was king there, and began the siege in the seventh year of Ithobal's reign ; and that he subdued Syria, and all Phænicia.
The siege continuing so long, the soldiers must needs cndure many hardships. It further appears from the Phænician annals, that the Tyrians afterwards received their kings from Baby