Ezekiel 27:21
Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with you in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they your merchants.
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(21) Arabia . . . Kedar.—Arabia is never used in the Old Testament for the whole of the country now called by that name, but only for the desert part of it occupied by nomadic tribes. Kedar is the name of a nomadic pastoral race descended from Ishmael (Genesis 25:13; comp. Isaiah 60:7).

Ezekiel 27:21-24. Arabia, &c., occupied with thee — Hebrew, ידן סחרי, were the merchants of thy hand; that is, they took off thy manufactures (see Ezekiel 27:15) in exchange for cattle, in which their substance chiefly consisted. Of Kedar and its flocks, see notes on Isaiah 21:16-17; Isaiah 60:7. The merchants of Sheba and Raamah — These were people of Arabia Felix, dwelling near the Persian gulf. They traded in the rich products of their own country, namely, spices, precious stones, and gold, in which it abounded: see note on 1 Kings 10:1; 1 Kings 10:10. Haran, and Canneh, and Eden — By Haran here, it seems, the place is meant where Abraham dwelt when he came out of Ur of the Chaldees, (see Genesis 11:31,) called Charræ by the Romans, and noted for the defeat of Crassus. Canneh some suppose to be the same place that is called Calneh, Amos 6:2, or Calno, Isaiah 10:9, a city near the Euphrates. Others take it for Ctesiphon, a noted city situate upon the river Tigris. Eden is joined with Haran, 2 Kings 19:12, as it is here. The merchants of Sheba — There were two Shebas, as there were two Dedans; one descended from Raamah. (Genesis 10:7,) the other from Jokshan, Abraham’s son, Genesis 25:3. As the 22d verse is explained of the former, so the latter may be understood here: they were both in Arabia. And Chilmad — Both the Chaldee and LXX. explain this by Carmania. In chests of rich apparel, &c. — The rich apparel here spoken of was carefully packed up in chests of cedar, to give these clothes a fine scent, and preserve them from putrefaction.27:1-25 Those who live at ease are to be lamented, if they are not prepared for trouble. Let none reckon themselves beautified, any further than they are sanctified. The account of the trade of Tyre intimates, that God's eye is upon men when employed in worldly business. Not only when at church, praying and hearing, but when in markets and fairs, buying and selling. In all our dealings we should keep a conscience void of offence. God, as the common Father of mankind, makes one country abound in one commodity, and another in another, serviceable to the necessity or to the comfort and ornament of human life. See what a blessing trade and merchandise are to mankind, when followed in the fear of God. Besides necessaries, an abundance of things are made valuable only by custom; yet God allows us to use them. But when riches increase, men are apt to set their hearts upon them, and forget the Lord, who gives power to get wealth.Kedar - The representative of the pastoral tribes in the northwest of Arabia.21. Arabia—the nomadic tribes of Arabia, among which Kedar was pre-eminent.

occupied with thee—literally, "of thy hand," that is, they traded with thee for wares, the product of thy hand (see on [1069]Eze 27:15, 16).

Arabia; a large country, and distinguished into Desert, or sandy, which cannot keep au honest man, but affords thieves enough; next the Stony, or Petraea, which afforded good pasturage for sheep and goats; and the third Felix, or happy, most remote from Tyre.

The princes; for there were many such among those Kedarens, or Scenites, who dwelt in tents, bred and fed cattle, and carried them to Tyre market; furnished the shambles at Tyre, and their altars too for sacrifices. Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar,.... Arabia was a large country, divided into three parts, Arabia Deserts, or the desert; Arabia Petraea, or the rocky; and Arabia Felix, or the happy. Kedar was in Arabia Petrea; its inhabitants were called Kedarenes, descended from Kedar, a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13, they were chiefly shepherds, and dwelt in tents, to which the allusion is in Sol 1:5, these princes were the rich and wealthy among them, who bought up the cattle of the meaner sort, and brought them to Tyre. In Jerom's time Kedar was the country of the Saracens. The Targum calls them the princes of Nebat, the same with Nebajoth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and brother of Kedar, Genesis 25:13.

They occupied with thee: or, "they were the merchants of thine hand (w)"; that took off her manufactures from her, in lieu of "the lambs, and rams, and goats", they brought to market, for her food and sacrifices; keeping of sheep being their chief employment: "in these were they thy merchants": they supplied them with their cattle, and took their wares of them for them.

(w) "negotiatores manus tuae", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "mercatores manna tuae", Cocceius, Starckius.

Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.
21. occupied with thee] Lit. were the merchants of thy hand, i.e. serving thee. Cf. Isaiah 60:7, “all the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered unto thee.” The Arab nomads were rich in flocks. Kedar (Genesis 25:13, second son of Ishmael) was an important people toward the N. of Arabia. In Isaiah 60:7 they are named along with the Nabatheans; in Jeremiah 49:28 they are threatened with destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, as they were threatened at an earlier time with an attack from the Assyrians (Isaiah 21:16). Outside of scripture they are mentioned first in the inscriptions of Assurbanipal (667–626 b.c.), where they are represented as dwelling between the gulf of Akaba and Babylon. Cf. the ref. Jeremiah 2:10.Verse 21. - Arabia. The word, commonly in connection with Dedan, is used in the limited sense which attaches to it in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 9:14; Isaiah 21:13; Jeremiah 25:24)for the tribes of what in Greek and Roman geography were known as Arabia Deserts. Kedar. The name (equivalent to "black-skinned") appears as that of the second son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13). The black tents of Kedar (Psalm 120:5; Song of Solomon 1:5) indicate a nomadic tribe of the Bedouin type, famous, as in Isaiah 60:7 and Jeremiah 49:28, 29, for their flocks of sheep and camels. They appear, also, as having cities and villages in Isaiah 42:11. The name is used in later rabbinic writings for all the inhabitants of Arabia. The lamentation commences with a picture of the glory of the city of Tyre, its situation, its architectural beauty, its military strength and defences (Ezekiel 27:3-11), and its wide-spread commercial relations (Ezekiel 27:12-25); and then passes into mournful lamentation over the ruin of all this glory (Ezekiel 27:26-36).

Introduction and description of the glory and might of Tyre. - Ezekiel 27:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 27:2. And do thou, O son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, Ezekiel 27:3. And say to Tyre, Thou who dwellest at the approaches of the sea, merchant of the nations to many islands, thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Tyre, thou sayest, I am perfect in beauty. Ezekiel 27:4. In the heart of the seas is thy territory; thy builders have made thy beauty perfect. Ezekiel 27:5. Out of cypresses of Senir they built all double-plank-work for thee; they took cedars of Lebanon to make a mast upon thee. Ezekiel 27:6. They made thine oars of oaks of Bashan, thy benches they made of ivory set in box from the islands of the Chittaeans. Ezekiel 27:7. Byssus in embroidery from Egypt was thy sail, to serve thee for a banner; blue and red purple from the islands of Elishah was thine awning. Ezekiel 27:8. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy rowers; thy skilful men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy sailors. Ezekiel 27:9. The elders of Gebal and its skilful men were with thee to repair thy leaks; all the ships of the sea and their mariners were in thee to barter thy goods. Ezekiel 27:10. Persian and Lydian and Libyan were in thine army, thy men of war; shield and helmet they hung up in thee; they gave brilliancy to thee. Ezekiel 27:11. The sons of Arvad and thine army were upon thy walls round about, and brave men were upon they towers; they hung up their shields upon thy walls round about; they have made thy beauty perfect. - The lamentation commences with an address to Tyre, in which its favourable situation for purposes of trade, and the perfect beauty of which she was conscious, are placed in the foreground (Ezekiel 27:3). Tyre is sitting, or dwelling, at the approaches of the sea. מבואת ים, approaches or entrances of the sea, are harbours into which ships sail and from which they depart, just as מבוא העיר sa t, the gate of the city, it both entrance and exit. This description does not point to the city on the mainland, or Old Tyre, but answers exactly to Insular Tyre with its two harbours.

(Note: Insular Tyre possessed two harbours, a northern one called the Sidonian, because it was on the Sidonian side, and one on the opposite or south-eastern side, which was called the Egyptian harbour from the direction in which it pointed. The Sidonian was the more celebrated of the two, and consisted of an inner harbour, situated within the wall of the city, and an outer one, formed by a row of rocks, which lay at a distance of about three hundred paces to the north-west of the island, and ran parallel to the opposite coast of the mainland, so as to form a roadstead in which ships could anchor (vid., Arrian, ii. 20; Strabo, xvi. 2. 23). This northern harbour is still held by the city of Sur, whereas the Egyptian harbour with the south-eastern portion of the island has been buried by the sand driven against the coasts by the south winds, so that even the writers of the Middle Ages make no allusion to it. (See Movers, Phnizier, II. 1, pp. 214ff.).)

ישׁבתי, with the connecting i, which is apparently confounded here after the Aramaean fashion with the i of the feminine pronoun, and has therefore been marked by the Masora as superfluous (vid., Ewald, 211b). The combination of רכלת with 'אל איּים ר may be accounted for from the primary meaning of רכל, to travel about as a merchant: thou who didst go to the nations on many shores to carry on thy trade. Tyre itself considers that she is perfect in her beauty, partly on account of her strong position in the sea, and partly because of her splendid edifices.

(Note: Curtius, iv. 2: Tyrus et claritate et magnitudine ante omnes urbes Syriae Phoenicesque memorabilis. (Cf. Strabo, xvi. 2.22.))

In the description which follows of this beauty and glory, from Ezekiel 27:4 onwards, Tyre is depicted allegorically as a beautiful ship, splendidly built and equipped throughout, and its destruction is afterwards represented as a shipwreck occasioned by the east wind (Ezekiel 27:26.).

(Note: Jerome recognised this allegory, and has explained it correctly as follows: "He (the prophet) speaks τροπικῶς, as though addressing a ship, and points out its beauty and the abundance of everything. Then, after having depicted all its supplies, he announces that a storm will rise, and the south wind (auster) will blow, by which great waves will be gathered up, and the vessel will be wrecked. In all this he is referring to the overthrow of the city by King Nabuchodonosor," etc. Rashi and others give the same explanation.)

The words, "in the heart of the seas is thy territory" (Ezekiel 27:4), are equally applicable to the city of Tyre and to a ship, the building of which is described in what follows. The comparison of Tyre to a ship was very naturally suggested by the situation of the city in the midst of the sea, completely surrounded by water. As a ship, it must of necessity be built of wood. The shipbuilders selected the finest kinds of wood for the purpose; cypresses of Antilibanus for double planks, which formed the sides of the vessel, and cedar of Lebanon for the mast. Senir, according to Deuteronomy 3:9, was the Amoritish name of Hermon or Antilibanus, whereas the Sidonians called it Sirion. On the other hand, Senir occurs in 1 Chronicles 5:23, and Shenir in Sol 4:8, in connection with Hermon, where they are used to denote separate portions of Antilibanus. Ezekiel evidently uses Senir as a foreign name, which had been retained to his own time, whereas Sirion had possibly become obsolete, as the names had both the same meaning (see the comm. on Deuteronomy 3:9). The naming of the places from which the several materials were obtained for the fitting out of the ship, serve to heighten the glory of its construction and give an ideal character to the picture. All lands have contributed their productions to complete the glory and might of Tyre. Cypress-wood was frequently used by the ancients for buildings and (according to Virgil, Georg. ii. 443) also for ships, because it was exempt from the attacks of worms, and was almost imperishable, and yet very light (Theophr. Hist. plant. v. 8; Plinii Hist. nat. xvi. 79). לחתים, a dual form, like חמתים in 2 Kings 25:4; Isaiah 22:11, double-planks, used for the two side-walls of the ship. For oars they chose oaks of Bashan (משּׁוט as well as משׁוט in Ezekiel 27:29 from שׁוּט, to row), and the rowing benches (or deck) were of ivory inlaid in box. קרשׁ is used in Exodus 26:15. for the boards or planks of the wooden walls of the tabernacle; here it is employed in a collective sense, either for the rowing benches, of which there were at least two, and sometimes three rows in a vessel, one above another, or more properly, for the deck of the vessel (Hitzig). This was made of she4n, or ivory, inlaid in wood. The ivory is mentioned first as the most valuable material of the קרשׁ, the object being to picture the ship as possessing all possible splendour. The expression בּתּ־אשּׁרים, occasions some difficulty, partly on account of the use of the word בּת, and partly in connection with the meaning of אשּׁרים , although so much may be inferred from the context, that the allusion is to some kind of wood inlaid with ivory, and the custom of inlaying wood with ivory for the purpose of decoration is attested by Virgil, Aen. x. 137:

"Vel quale per artem

Inclusum buxo, aut Oricia terebintho

Lucet ebur."

But the use of בּת does not harmonize with the relation of the wood to the ivory inserted in wood; nor can it be defended by the fact that in Lamentations 3:3 an arrow is designated "the son of the quiver." According to this analogy, the ivory ought to have been called the son of the Ashurim, because the ivory is inserted in the wood, and not the wood in the ivory.

(Note: The Targum has paraphrased it in this way: דפּין דאשׁכרעין מכבשׁין בשׁן דפיל, i.e., planks of box or pine inlaid with ivory.)


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