Ezekiel 28:2
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine 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 thine heart as the heart of God:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) I am a God.—The arraignment of the prince occupies Ezekiel 28:2-5, his consequent doom Ezekiel 28:6-10. The point of the charge is inordinate pride, begotten of great prosperity; this prosperity, being attributed to his own powers instead of to its true source, led him to imagine himself almost more than mortal. Similar instances of what may be called “the insanity of prosperity” may be seen in the case of Sennacherib (2Kings 18:33-35); of the then living monarch of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, to whom this prophecy might well serve as a warning (Daniel 3:15; Daniel 4:30; comp. also Daniel 7:25, Daniel 11:36-37); of Pharaoh (Ezekiel 29:3); of Herod (Acts 12:21-23); of the one foretold in 2Thessalonians 2:4; to which list might be added the names of some more modern conquerors, and, in their degree, of many who have been eminently successful in other walks of life, and have consequently sacrificed to their own net (Habakkuk 1:16). It is not to be supposed that the king of Tyre, like some Oriental monarchs and later Roman emperors, actually claimed for himself religious homage; but he had that proud sense of elevation and self-sufficiency which is only translated into words in the expressions of the text.

The seat of God.—This expression is chosen not merely with reference to the great natural beauty and apparently impregnable position of Tyre, but also to the fact that it was called “the holy island,” and looked up to by all its colonies as the central sanctuary of their worship. The Temple of Melkarth was said by the priests to have been founded as far back as 2750 B.C., and Arrian speaks of it as the oldest sanctuary in the annals of mankind. (See also Note on Ezekiel 28:6.)

Ezekiel 28:2. Say to the prince of Tyrus — The name of this prince was Ithobalus, according to the Phenician annals. Because thy heart is lifted up — In pride and self-conceit; and thou hast said — Namely, in thy heart; I am a god — I am like a god. I sit in the seat of God — Inaccessible by mortals. In the midst of the seas — As God is safe from all injury in his throne in heaven, so am I as safe; for the sea secures me. These words express an insolent boast of self-sufficiency, as if he had said, I fear no man, nor stand in need of any: I am seated in a place of impregnable strength: the sea defends me, so that no enemy can assault me. And they represent the excessive pride and carnal security of this prince, who trusted in his own strength, and forgot his dependance upon God. The same crime was in like manner punished in the king of Egypt, Ezekiel 29:3, and afterward in Nebuchadnezzar himself, Daniel 4:30-31. Yet thou art man, and not God — Subject to all the infirmities, casualties, sorrows, and distresses that attend human nature, and to all the changes of human affairs, and hast not any of that innate, invincible power, and of that immutability of condition, which is in God. Though thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God — Hast entertained thoughts which become none but God.

28:1-19 Ethbaal, or Ithobal, was the prince or king of Tyre; and being lifted up with excessive pride, he claimed Divine honours. Pride is peculiarly the sin of our fallen nature. Nor can any wisdom, except that which the Lord gives, lead to happiness in this world or in that which is to come. The haughty prince of Tyre thought he was able to protect his people by his own power, and considered himself as equal to the inhabitants of heaven. If it were possible to dwell in the garden of Eden, or even to enter heaven, no solid happiness could be enjoyed without a humble, holy, and spiritual mind. Especially all spiritual pride is of the devil. Those who indulge therein must expect to perish.Thou hast said, I am a god - Compare Ezekiel 29:3; Daniel 4:30; Acts 12:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

I sit in the seat of God - Words denoting the speaker's pride; but the situation of the island-city, full of beauty, in the midst of the blue water of the Mediterranean, gives force to the expression. Compare the words describing the lot of Tyre as having been in Eden Ezekiel 28:13.

Thou art a man - Rather, thou art man.

Ezekiel 28:2Thou hast said, I am a god - Compare Ezekiel 29:3; Daniel 4:30; Acts 12:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

I sit in the seat of God - Words denoting the speaker's pride; but the situation of the island-city, full of beauty, in the midst of the blue water of the Mediterranean, gives force to the expression. Compare the words describing the lot of Tyre as having been in Eden Ezekiel 28:13.

Thou art a man - Rather, thou art man.

2. Because, &c.—repeated resumptively in Eze 28:6. The apodosis begins at Eze 28:7. "The prince of Tyrus" at the time was Ithobal, or Ithbaal II; the name implying his close connection with Baal, the Phœnician supreme god, whose representative he was.

I am a god, I sit in … seat of God … the seas—As God sits enthroned in His heavenly citadel exempt from all injury, so I sit secure in my impregnable stronghold amidst the stormiest elements, able to control them at will, and make them subserve my interests. The language, though primarily here applied to the king of Tyre, as similar language is to the king of Babylon (Isa 14:13, 14), yet has an ulterior and fuller accomplishment in Satan and his embodiment in Antichrist (Da 7:25; 11:36, 37; 2Th 2:4; Re 13:6). This feeling of superhuman elevation in the king of Tyre was fostered by the fact that the island on which Tyre stood was called "the holy island" [Sanconiathon], being sacred to Hercules, so much so that the colonies looked up to Tyre as the mother city of their religion, as well as of their political existence. The Hebrew for "God" is El, that is, "the Mighty One."

yet, &c.—keen irony.

set thine heart as … heart of God—Thou thinkest of thyself as if thou wert God.

Unto; of.

The princes; king, whose name was either Ethbaal, or Ithobaal.

Thine heart is lifted up; thou art waxen proud, and aspirest above all reason, and boastest extravagantly in thyself, state policy, and power.

Hast said; thought, imagined, or flattered thyself.

A god; or the mighty and strong one, for so the Hebrew is, and perhaps were better so rendered; he gloried in his strength, as if he were a god. The like you have Isaiah 14:14.

In the seat of God: as a magistrate he did bear the name and authority of God; but he thought not of this; he dreams of the stateliness, strength, convenience, safety, and inaccessibleness of his seat, as if he were safe and impregnable as heaven itself.

A man, subject to all the casualties, sorrows, and distresses of man’s state and life, thou art Adam, of earth, not El, nor like unto the Mighty One in heaven.

Thou set thine heart as the heart of God; thou hast entertained thoughts which become none but God, thou hast projected things which none but God can effect, thou hast promised thyself perpetual peace, safety, riches, and happiness in thyself, and from thyself.

Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre,.... Whose name was Ethbaal, or Ithobalus, as he is called in Josephus; for that this was Hiram that was in the days of Solomon, and lived a thousand years, is a fable of the Jewish Rabbins, as Jerom relates: this prince of Tyre is thought by some to be an emblem of the devil; but rather of antichrist; and between them there is a great agreement, and it seems to have a prophetic respect to him:

thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up: with pride, on account of his wisdom and knowledge, wealth and riches, as later mentioned:

and thou hast said, I am a god; this he said in his heart, in the pride of it, and perhaps expressed it with his lips, and required divine homage to be given him by his subjects, as some insolent, proud, and haughty monarchs have done; in which he was a lively type of antichrist, who shows himself, and behaves, as if he was God, taking upon him what belongs to God; pardoning the sins of men; opening and shutting the gates of heaven; binding men's consciences with laws of his own making, and dispensing with the laws of God and man; and calling himself or suffering himself to be called God, and to be worshipped as such; See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:4,

I sit in the seat of God; in a place as delightful, safe and happy, as heaven itself, where the throne of God is; so antichrist is said to sit in the temple of God, in the house and church of God; where he assumes a power that does not belong to him, calling himself God's vicegerent, and Christ's vicar; see 2 Thessalonians 2:4, and the Arabic version here renders it "in the house of God": it follows,

in the midst of the seas; surrounded with them as Tyre was, and lord of them as its king was; sending his ships into all parts, and to whom all brought their wares; thus the whore of Rome is said to sit upon many waters, Revelation 17:2,

yet thou art a man, and not God; a frail, weak, mortal man, and not the mighty God, as his later destruction shows; and as the popes of Rome appear to be, by their dying as other men; and as antichrist will plainly be seen to be when he shall be destroyed with the breath of Christ's mouth, and the brightness of his coming:

though thou set thine heart as the heart of God; as if it was as full of wisdom and knowledge as his; and thinkest as well of thyself, that thou art a sovereign as he, and to be feared, obeyed, and submitted to by all.

Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, {a} 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 settest thy heart as the heart of God:

(a) I am safe as God is safe in the heavens and no one can hurt me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. am a God] I am God. Ezekiel speaks from his own point of view, which recognizes but one God, not from that of polytheism. The prince set his heart as the heart of God; he felt and acted as if divine. There is not the slightest allusion, of course, to actual worship being paid to the prince; it is his own feeling alone, his pride and self-exaltation, that is referred to.

I sit in the seat of God] Naturally the prince speaks of his own abode, Tyre; but he regards, it as divine. He is God and it is the seat of God. There is no doubt allusion to the idea that there was a seat of God or the gods; the prince identified Tyre with it. The beauty and splendour of the place, its richness and renown, possibly also its isolation, make it something not of the earth. In Isaiah 14 the king of Babylon affects to seat himself beside the Most High, here the prince of Tyre identifies himself with God.

Verse 2. - I am a God. We are reminded of Isaiah's words (Isaiah 14:13, 14) as to the King of Babylon. Did Ezekiel emphasize and amplify the boasts of Ethbaal, with a side-glance at the Chaldean king, who also was lifted up in the pride of his heart (Daniel 4:30)? For like examples, see the boast of Hophra, in Ezekiel 29:3; and the praise given to Herod Agrippa by the Tyrians (Acts 12:21). It is noticeable that St. Paul's description of the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:4) presents the same picture in nearly the same words. I sit in the seat of God, etc. Tyro was known as the Holy Island (Sanchon., edit. Orelli, p. 36). The city was thought of as rising from its waters like the rock-throne of God. Though thou set thy heart. The words remind us of the temptation in Genesis 3:5. To forget the limitations of human ignorance and weakness, to claim an authority and demand a homage which belong to God, was the sin of the Prince of Tyre, as it had been that of Sennacherib, as it was of Nebuchadnezzar, as it has been since of the emperors of Rome, and of other rulers. Ezekiel 28:2Fall of the Prince of Tyre

Ezekiel 28:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 28:2. Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thy heart has lifted itself up, and thou sayest, "I am a God, I sit upon a seat of Gods, in the heart of the seas," when thou art a man and not God, and cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:3. Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; nothing secret is obscure to thee; Ezekiel 28:4. Through thy wisdom and thy understanding hast thou acquired might, and put gold and silver in thy treasuries; Ezekiel 28:5. Through the greatness of thy wisdom hast thou increased thy might by thy trade, and thy heart has lifted itself up on account of thy might, Ezekiel 28:6. Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because thou cherishest a mind like a God's mind, Ezekiel 28:7. Therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon thee, violent men of the nations; they will draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and pollute thy splendour. Ezekiel 28:8. They will cast thee down into the pit, that thou mayest die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Ezekiel 28:9. Wilt thou indeed say, I am a God, in the face of him that slayeth thee, when thou art a man and not God in the hand of him that killeth thee? Ezekiel 28:10. Thou wilt die the death of the uncircumcised at the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken it, is the saying of the Lord Jehovah. - This threat of judgment follows in general the same course as those addressed to other nations (compare especially Ezekiel 25), namely, that the sin is mentioned first (Ezekiel 28:2-5), and then the punishment consequent upon the sin (Ezekiel 28:6-10). In Ezekiel 28:12 מלך is used instead of נגיד, dux. In the use of the term נגיד to designate the king, Kliefoth detects an indication of the peculiar position occupied by the prince in the commercial state of Tyre, which had been reared upon municipal foundations; inasmuch as he was not so much a monarch, comparable to the rulers of Bayblon or to the Pharaohs, as the head of the great mercantile aristocracy. This is in harmony with the use of the word נגיד for the prince of Israel, David for example, whom God chose and anointed to be the nâgīd over His people; in other words, to be the leader of the tribes, who also formed an independent commonwealth (vid., 1 Samuel 13:14; 2 Samuel 7:8, etc.). The pride of the prince of Tyre is described in Ezekiel 28:2 as consisting in the fact that he regarded himself as a God, and his seat in the island of Tyre as a God's seat. He calls his seat מושׁב , not "because his capital stood out from the sea, like the palace of God from the ocean of heaven" (Psalm 104:3), as Hitzig supposes; for, apart from any other ground, this does not suit the subsequent description of his seat as God's mountain (Ezekiel 28:16), and God's holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). The God's seat and God's mountain are not the palace of the king of Tyre, but Tyre as a state, and that not because of its firm position upon a rocky island, but as a holy island (ἁγία νῆσος, as Tyre is called in Sanchun. ed. Orelli, p. 36), the founding of which has been glorified by myths (vid., Movers, Phoenizier, I pp. 637ff.). The words which Ezekiel puts into the mouth of the king of Tyre may be explained, as Kliefoth has well expressed it, "from the notion lying at the foundation of all natural religions, according to which every state, as the production of its physical factors and bases personified as the native deities of house and state, is regarded as a work and sanctuary of the gods." In Tyre especially the national and political development went hand in hand with the spread and propagation of its religion. "The Tyrian state was the production and seat of its gods. He, the prince of Tyre, presided over this divine creation and divine seat; therefore he, the prince, was himself a god, a manifestation of the deity, having its work and home in the state of Tyre." All heathen rulers looked upon themselves in this light; so that the king of Babylon is addressed in a similar manner in Isaiah 14:13-14. This self-deification is shown to be a delusion in Ezekiel 28:2; He who is only a man makes his heart like a God's heart, i.e., cherishes the same thought as the Gods. לב, the heart, as the seat of the thoughts and imaginations, is named instead of the disposition.

This is carried out still further in Ezekiel 28:3-5 by a description of the various sources from which this imagination sprang. He cherishes a God's mind, because he attributes to himself superhuman wisdom, through which he has created the greatness, and might, and wealth of Tyre. The words, "behold, thou art wiser," etc. (Ezekiel 28:3), are not to be taken as a question, "art thou indeed wiser?" as they have been by the lxx, Syriac, and others; nor are they ironical, as Hvernick supposes; but they are to be taken literally, namely, inasmuch as the prince of Tyre was serious in attributing to himself supernatural and divine wisdom. Thou art, i.e., thou regardest thyself as being, wiser than Daniel. No hidden thing is obscure to thee (עמם, a later word akin to the Aramaean, "to be obscure"). The comparison with Daniel refers to the fact that Daniel surpassed all the magi and wise men of Babylon in wisdom through his ability to interpret dreams, since God gave him an insight into the nature and development of the power of the world, such as no human sagacity could have secured. The wisdom of the prince of Tyre, on the other hand, consisted in the cleverness of the children of this world, which knows how to get possession of all the good things of the earth. Through such wisdom as this had the Tyrian prince acquired power and riches. חיל, might, possessions in the broader sense; not merely riches, but the whole of the might of the commercial state of Tyre, which was founded upon riches and treasures got by trade. In Ezekiel 28:5 בּרכלּתך is in apposition to בּרב הכמתך, and is introduced as explanatory. The fulness of its wisdom showed itself in its commerce and the manner in which it conducted it, whereby Tyre had become rich and powerful. It is not till we reach Ezekiel 28:6 that we meet with the apodosis answering to 'יען גּבהּ וגו in Ezekiel 28:2, which has been pushed so far back by the intervening parenthetical sentences in Ezekiel 28:2-5. For this reason the sin of the prince of Tyre in deifying himself is briefly reiterated in the clause 'יען תּתּך וגו (Ezekiel 28:6, compare Ezekiel 28:2), after which the announcement of the punishment is introduced with a repetition of לכן in Ezekiel 28:7. Wild foes approaching with barbarous violence will destroy all the king's resplendent glory, slay the king himself with the sword, and hurl him down into the pit as a godless man. The enemies are called עריצי גּוים, violent ones of the peoples - that is to say, the wild hordes composing the Chaldean army (cf. Ezekiel 30:11; Ezekiel 31:12). They drew the sword "against the beauty (יפי, the construct state of יפי) of thy wisdom," i.e., the beauty produced by thy wisdom, and the beautiful Tyre itself, with all that it contains (Ezekiel 26:3-4). יפעה, splendour; it is only here and in Ezekiel 28:17 that we meet with it as a noun. The king himself they hurl down into the pit, i.e., the grave, or the nether world. ממותי חלל, the death of a pierced one, substantially the same as מותי ערלים. The plural ממותי and מותי here and Jeremiah 16:4 (mortes) is a pluralis exaggerativus, a death so painful as to be equivalent to dying many times (see the comm. on Isaiah 53:9). In Ezekiel 28:9 Ezekiel uses the Piel מחלּל in the place of the Poel מחולל, as חלל in the Piel occurs elsewhere only in the sense of profanare, and in Isaiah 51:9 and Poel is used for piercing. But there is no necessity to alter the pointing in consequence, as we also find the Pual used by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 32:26 in the place of the Poal of Isaiah 53:5. The death of the uncircumcised is such a death as godless men die - a violent death. The king of Tyre, who looks upon himself as a god, shall perish by the sword like a godless man. At the same time, the whole of this threat applies, not to the one king, Ithobal, who was reigning at the time of the siege of Tyre by the Chaldeans, but to the king as the founder and creator of the might of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:3-5), i.e., to the supporter of that royalty which was to perish along with Tyre itself. - It is to the king, as the representative of the might and glory of Tyre, and not merely to the existing possessor of the regal dignity, that the following lamentation over his fall refers.

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