INTRODUCTION TO Ezekiel 27
This chapter contains a lamentation on Tyre; setting forth her former grandeur, riches, and commerce; her ruin and destruction; and the concern of others on that account. The prophet is bid to take up his lamentation concerning it, Ezekiel 27:1, observing her situation and magnificence, of which she boasted, Ezekiel 27:3, describing the excellency of her shipping and naval stores, Ezekiel 27:5, declaring who were her mariners, pilots, and caulkers, Ezekiel 27:8, her military men, Ezekiel 27:10 her several merchants, and the things they traded in with her in her fairs and markets, Ezekiel 27:12, then follows an account of her destruction, Ezekiel 27:26, the lamentation of pilots and mariners because of it, Ezekiel 27:28, and of the kings and inhabitants of the isles, and merchants of the people, Ezekiel 27:33.
The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,The word of the Lord came again unto me,.... Upon the same subject, the destruction of Tyre:
saying; as follows:
Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus;Now, thou son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyrus. Compose an elegy, and sing it; make a mournful noise, and deliver out a funeral ditty; such as the "praeficae", or mournful women, made at funerals, in which they said all they could in praise of the dead, and made very doleful lamentations for them: this the prophet was to do in a prophetic manner, for the confirmation of what was prophesied of by him; and it may teach us, that even wicked men are to be pitied, when in distress and calamity.
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.And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea,.... Of the Mediterranean sea; at the eastern part of it, not above half a mile from the continent; and so fit for a seaport, and a harbour for shipping; so mystical Tyre sits on many waters, Revelation 17:1,
which art a merchant of the people for many isles; the inhabitants of many isles brought the produce of them to her; who took them off their hands, or sold them for them to others; these came from several quarters to trade with her in her markets; and who supplied other isles and countries with all sorts of commodities, for which they either resorted to her, or she sent by ships unto them; so Rome is represented as the seat of merchandise, Revelation 18:7,
thus saith the Lord God, O Tyrus, thou hast said; in thine heart, in the pride of it, and with thy mouth, praising and commending thyself; which is not right:
I am of perfect beauty: built on a good foundation, a rock; surrounded with walls and towers; the streets arranged in order, and filled with goodly houses; having a good harbour for shipping, and being a mart for all manner of merchandise, Jerusalem being destroyed, Tyre assumes her character, Psalm 48:2.
Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, Fixed by the Lord himself, and which could never be removed. Tyre stood about half a mile from the continent, surrounded with the waters of the sea, till it was made a peninsula by Alexander:
thy builders have perfected thy beauty. The Sidonians were the first builders of the city, as Justin (q) says; who began and carried on the building of it to the utmost of their knowledge and skill; and which was afterwards perfected by other builders, who made it the most beautiful city in all those parts; unless this is to be understood of her shipbuilders, who brought the art of building ships in her to such a perfection, as made her famous throughout the world; since they are immediately spoken of without any other antecedent.
(q) Ex Trago, l. 18. c. 3.
They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir,.... The same with Sion and Hermon, which the Sidonians called Sirion, and the Amorites Shenir, Deuteronomy 3:9 here, it seems, grew the best of fir trees, of which the Tyrians made boards and planks for shipping; of these the two sides of the ship, as the word (r) here used in the dual number is thought to signify, or the fore and hind decks, were made. The Targum is,
"with fir trees of Senir they built for thee all thy bridges;''
the planks from which they went from one ship to another; but these are of too small consequence to be mentioned; rather the main of the ship is intended, which was built of fir planks; but ours made of oak are much preferable:
they have taken cedars from Lebanon, to make masts for thee; large poles for the yards and sails to be fastened to, for receiving the wind necessary in navigation; called the main mast, the foremast, the mizzenmast, and the boltsprit; all these are only in large vessels; whether the Tyrians had all of these is not certain; some they had, and which were made of the cedars of Lebanon; which, being large tall trees, were fit for this purpose. The Tyrians (s) are said to be the first inventors of navigation.
(r) "tabulata duplicia", Munster; "duas tabulas", Vatablus. (s) "Prima ratem ventis credere docta Tyros." Catullus.
Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars,.... To row the ships with; for their ships probably were no other than galleys, which were rowed with oars, as were the ships of first invention. Bashan was a country in Judea where oaks grew; see Isaiah 2:13. The country of Judea in general was famous for oaks; it abounded with them in the times of Homer (t), who speaks of Typho being buried in a country abounding with oaks, among the rich or fat people of Judea; and he seems to design Bashan particularly, of which Og was king, whom he calls Typho, and of whose bed he makes mention in the same place; hence several places in Judea had their names from the oaks which grew, there, as Elonmoreh, Allonbachuth, Elonmeonenim, Elontabor, and Elonbethhanan, Genesis 12:6 and which one would have thought were fitter to make their ships of; but of these only their oars were made:
the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim; the benches for the towers to sit on, or for others in the cabin and decks; but that these should be wholly of ivory is not very probable; nor was ivory brought from the isles of Chittim, but from other parts; nor is it easy to say who the company of the Ashurites were; some say the Assyrians; but why they should be so called is not plain. Jarchi makes to be but one word, which signifies box trees, as it is used in Isaiah 41:19 and he supposes that these benches, or be they what they will, were made of box trees covered or inlaid with ivory. So the Targum,
"the lintels of thy gates (the hatches) were planks of box tree inlaid with ivory;''
which box, and not the ivory, was brought from the isles of Chittim; either from Cyprus, where was a place called Citium; or from Macedonia, from whence box was fetched; or from the province of Apulia, as the Targum; where there might be plenty of it, as in Corsica, and other places, where particularly the best box grows, as Pliny (u) says. Jerom interprets Cittin of Italy; and Ben Gorion says (w) that Cittim are the Romans.
(t) ', . Homer. Iliad. 2. Vid. Dickinson, Delphi Phoenicix. c. 2. p. 13, 16. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 16. (w) Heb. Hist. l. 1. c. 1. p. 7.
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.Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt,.... From whence came the finest and whitest linen; and which they embroidered with needlework, which looked very beautiful. Pliny (x) says there were four sorts of linen in Egypt, called Tanitic, Pelusiac, Butic, and Tentyritic, from the names and provinces where they were produced; of the second sort the garments of the high priest among the Jews were made; for they say (y), on the day of atonement he was in the morning clothed with Pelusiac garments; that is, with garments made of linen which came from Pelusium, a well known city in Egypt; and which Jarchi (z) says was the best, and in the greatest esteem; and one of the Misnic commentators says (a) that the linen from Pelusium is fine and beautiful, and comes from the land of Raamses; and observes, that, in the Jerusalem Targum, Raamses is said to be Pelusium; but though they are not one and the same place, yet they are both in the same country, Egypt, and near one another; and with this sort of linen the priests of Hercules were clothed, according to Silius (b); and so the "shesh", or linen, of which the garments of the Jewish priests in common were made, was linen from Egypt; and which their Rabbins (c) say is the best, and is only found there. The Phoenicians, of which Tyre was a principal city, took linen of Egypt, and traded with other nations with it, as well as made use of it for themselves; particularly with the Ethiopians, the inhabitants of the isle of Cernes, now called the Canaries, who took of them Egyptian goods, as linen, &c.; in lieu of which they had of them elephants' teeth, the skins of lions, leopards, deer, and other creatures (d): now such fine linen as this
was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail: not content with canvass or coarse linen, which would have done as well, they must have the finest Egyptian linen, and this very curiously embroidered, to make their sails of they spread upon their masts, to receive the wind; at least this they spread "for a flag" (e), standard or ensign, as, the word may be rendered; when they hoisted up their colours on any occasion, they were such as these: "blue and purple, from the isles of Elishah, was that which covered thee"; meaning not garments made of cloth of these colours, which the master of the vessel or mariners wore; but the tilts, or tents, or canopies erected on the decks, where they sat sheltered from the rain, wind, or sun; these were made of stuff died of a violet and purple colour, the best they could get; and which they fetched from the isles of Elishah, or the Aegean sea, from Coa, Rhodia, Nisyrus, and other places famous for purple, as Tyre itself afterwards was. The Targum is,
"from the province of Italy;''
or of Apulia, as others (f); see Revelation 18:12.
(x) Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.((y) Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 7. (z) Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 34. 2.((a) Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, ib. (b) "----Velantur corpore lino, Et Pelusiaco praefulget stamine vertex." L. 3. de Bell. Punic. (c) Aben Ezra in Exodus 25.4. (d) Vid. Reinesium de Lingua Punica, c. 2. sect. 13. (e) "in signum, sive vexillum", Gussetius; so some in Bootius. (f) So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 48. 1.
The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners: thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots.The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy mariners,.... Zidon was a city in Phoenicia, near to Tyre, and older than that, by whose inhabitants it was built; see the notes on Isaiah 23:2 and Arvad was an island in Phoenicia, to the south of Zidon, not far from Tyre. Mr. Maundrell (g) says it is about a league distant from the shore; and is now called by the Turks Ruad. It seemed to the eye to be not above four to six hundred yards long, and wholly filled up with tall buildings like castles: its ancient inhabitants, he observes, were famous for navigation, and had a command upon the continent as far as Gabale later mentioned, Dr. Shaw (h) says it is at present called Rouwadde; and that the prospect of it from the continent is wonderfully magnificent; promising at a distance a continued train of fine buildings and impregnable fortifications; but this is entirely owing to the height and rockiness of its situation; for at present all the strength and beauty it can boast of lies in a weak unfortified castle, with a few small cannon to defend it; so that the prophecy of Jeremiah appears to be fulfilled,
Arpad is confounded, Jeremiah 49:23. This is the Aradus of Strabo, and other writers; and which he says is distant from the land, two and an half miles, and is about a mile in circumference; and is said to be built by the Sidonians (k); the inhabitants of it are the same with the Arvadite, Genesis 10:18, these places brought up abundance of seafaring men, and which furnished Tyre with rowers, as the word (l) signifies; which was the most slavish work in navigation:
thy wise men, O Tyrus, that were in thee, were thy pilots; such, as had learnt the art of navigation; were well versed in geography; understood the charts; knew the shores of different places; where were creeks and promontories, rocks and sands; these were brought up among themselves, and made pilots or governors, as the Targum renders it; who have their names here from the "ropes" (m) the sails are fastened to; and which they loosened or contracted, as they saw fit.
(g) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 19. Ed. 7. (h) Travels, p. 267. Ed. 2.((k) Geograph. 1. 16. p. 518. (l) "remiges", V. L. Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus, Cocceius, Starckius. (m) a "funis, ita dicuntur a contrahendis aut laxandis funibus veli", Vatablus.
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.The ancients of Gebal,.... A promontory of the Phoenicians, the same with the Gabale of Pliny (n), and with the land of the Giblites, Joshua 13:5. It was by the Greeks called Byblus; and so the Septuagint here render the words, the elders of Bybli or Byblus, a place once famous for the birth and temple of Adonis; it is now called Gibyle. Mr. Maundrell (o) says it is pleasantly situated by the seaside, and that at present it contains but a little extent of ground, yet more than enough for the small number of its inhabitants; it is compassed with a dry ditch, and a wall with square towers in it, at about every forty yards' distance; on its south side it has an old castle; within it is a church; besides which it has nothing remarkable; though anciently it was a place of no mean extent, as well as beauty, as may appear from the many heaps of ruins, and the fine pillars that are scattered up and down in the gardens near the town. The old experienced workmen of this place were employed by the Tyrians in mending and refitting their ships, and in the caulking of them, as follows:
the wise men thereof were in thee thy caulkers; or, "the strengtheners of thy breaches" (p), or "chinks"; the seams and commissures of the planks; which they stopped with tow, oakum, or such like stuff; at least this is what is used now, whatever might be by those wise men; and it seems by this that it was reckoned a very great art and mystery, and which only wise men were masters of, at least such the Tyrians employed. The Targum renders it,
"providing thy necessaries;''
as if they were the ships' husbands:
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise; ships from all parts were in her harbours, which brought goods into her, and carried goods out of her, by way of merchandise. So the Targum,
"all that go down into the sea, and the ships; they were rowers, and they brought merchandise into the midst of thee;''
the goods of merchants from divers places; and carried back commodities again they traded for at Tyre; see Revelation 18:19.
(n) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 20. (o) Journey &c. p. 33, 34. (p) "roborantes scissuram tuam", Montanus; "instaurantes fissuras tuas", Munster, Tigurine version; "rimas tuas", Vatablus; "instauratores rupturaram tuarum", Piscator.
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.They of Persia, and of Lud, and of Phut, were in thine army, thy men of war,.... As the Tryrians were a trading people, they hired foreign troops into their service, to fill their garrisons, defend their city, and fight for them in time of war; and these were of various nations, and the most famous for military skill and valour; as the Persians, a people well known, and famous for war in the times of Cyrus, and before, and well skilled in shooting arrows; and they of Lud, or the Lydians, a people in Greece, renowned for war before the times of Croesus their king, as well as in his time; and they of Phut, the Lybians, a people in Africa, skilful in drawing the bow, Isaiah 66:19,
they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; in their garrisons and towers, or places of armoury; which were defensive weapons, the one for the body, the other for the head; this they did in times of peace, when there was no occasion to use them, or when they were off their guard, and not on duty; see Sol 4:4,
they set forth thy comeliness; it being an honour to the Tyrians to have such soldiers in their service. The Targum is,
"they increased thy splendour;''
added to their glory.
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.The men of Arvad, with thine army were upon thy walls round about,.... Placed there for the defence of the city, to watch against an enemy, lest it should be surprised; here they were upon the patrol day and night; see Isaiah 62:6, these were the men of the same place before mentioned, Ezekiel 27:8 which furnished Tyre both with mariners and soldiers:
and the Gammadims were in thy towers: not the Medes, as Symmachus renders it; nor the Cappadocians, as the Targum; much less were they images of their tutelar gods, as Spencer thinks, of a cubit long; nor "pygmies", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; which to mention would not be to the honour of their militia; though Kimchi and Ben Melech call them dwarfs, men of a small stature, of a cubit high, from whence they are supposed to have their name; so Schindler (q): rather they were the inhabitants of some place in Phoenicia; either of Ancon; which in Greek signifies a cubit, as Gamad does in Hebrew; or of Gammade, the same which Pliny (r) corruptly calls Gamale. Hillerus (s) thinks the word signifies "ambidexters", or left handed men, such as Ehud:
they hanged their shields upon thy walls roundabout. Kimchi and Ben Melech observe it was a custom in some places to hang such weapons upon the tops of towers, and upon the walls of them; which might be done, either that they might be ready to take up and make use of, whenever occasion required; or to dismay their enemies, and to show them that they were provided for them:
they have made thy beauty perfect; besides the beauty of her buildings and shipping, there was the beauty of her militia; which was increased by the soldiers from Persia, Lydia, and Lybia, and added to by the men of Arvad, but completed by the Gammadim; and particularly being glided, as probably they were, looked very glittering and beautiful in the rays of the sun.
(q) Lexic. Pentaglott. col. 319, 320. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 91. (s) Onomast. Sacr. p. 159.
Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches,.... Some understand this of the sea, which is sometimes called Tarshish; so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it here: and the Targum,
"from the sea, or they of the sea bring merchandise into the midst of thee:''
that is, those who lived upon the coasts, or on the isles, of the Mediterranean sea. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, render it the Carthaginians, who were a colony of the Tyrians, and no doubt traded with them; but it seems most likely, with others, to intend Tartessus in Spain, a place not far from that where Cadiz now stands; a country which abounded with riches, and with the following things:
with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs; Pliny (t) says, that almost all Spain abounded in metals of lead, iron, brass, silver, and gold; which takes in the several things here mentioned, excepting tin; and that the Spaniards might have from our Cornwall, which they might import into Tyre: though the Phoenicians carried on a commerce with our isle of Britain themselves, whither they came for tin, and disposed of other goods they brought with them. Gussetius (u) observes, that the word does not signify the place of trade and traffic, as it is commonly rendered; but respects the goods traded in, and the manner of trafficking with them, by way of "exchange", as the word should be rendered; and the sense is, that the things before mentioned were what they gave in exchange, battered, and "left", with the Tyrians, for other goods they took of them; and so it is to be understood in all the following places where the word is used. So Ben Melech says it is expressive of merchandise.
(t) Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 3.((u) Ebr. Comment. p. 594, 595.
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.Javan designs Greece, as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it; especially that part of it called Ionia, from Javan the son of Japheth, Genesis 10:2 and Tubal, and Meshech, were also sons of Japheth; the former are the Iberi and Albanians, as Jerom and others, among whom were a city called Thabilaca, by Ptolemy (w); and the latter the Cappadocians, with whom is a city called Mazaca (x).
They traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy markets; or, "the souls of men" (y); they bought up men and women in the several countries to which they belonged, or where they traded, and brought them to Tyre, and sold them for slaves; and the Ionian and Grecian slaves were had in great esteem: and the best brass, of which vessels were made, was had from Corinth, Delus, and Aeginetus; according to Pliny (z), Cappadocia was famous for it also: in the first of these merchandises Tyrus was remarkably a type of antichrist, who is said to deal in such wares, the souls of men, Revelation 18:13. The word here rendered "markets", Gussetius (a) also observes, does not design the place of commerce, but the act of negotiation or trade; and so it is rendered by many (b).
(w) Geograph. l. 5. c. 12. (x) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.((y) "animabus hominum", Pagninus, Vatablus, Cocceius, Starckius. (z) Nat. Hist. l. 34. c. 2.((a) Ebr. Comment. p. 642. (b) , Sept.; "negotiationem tuam", Tigurine version; "in commercio tuo", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Polanus; "mercaturam tuam", Cocceius.
They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.They of the house of Togarmah,.... The Targum is,
"they of the province or country of Germany.''
Jerom understands it of Phrygia, near to which was Cappadocia; and perhaps is here meant, since it abounded with what these people are said to trade with Tyre in:
these traded in thy fairs with horses, horsemen, and mules; for the Cappadocians paid for their yearly tribute to the Persians fifteen hundred horses, and two thousand mules, as Bochart (c) from Strabo observes; and as they sold horses and mules to the Tyrians, so likewise horsemen, men that were skilled in riding and taking care of horses; and these were sold along with the horses, as servants for that purpose.
(c) Phaleg. c. 11. col. 178.
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.The men of Dedan were thy merchants,.... Not Dedan in Idumea or Edom, but in Arabia, from Dedan the son of Raamah, Genesis 10:7,
many isles were the merchandise of thine hands; that is, many isles took off their manufactures from them, in lieu of what they brought them, which were as follow:
they brought thee for a present; that they might have the liberty of trading in their fairs and markets; or rather for a reward, or as a price, for the goods they had of them:
horns of ivory and ebony; Kimchi reads them as separate things; and which the Targum confirms, "horns, ivory, and ebony"; elks' horns, or horns of goats, as the Targum; and "ivory", or the teeth of elephants; and "ebony", which is a wood of a very black colour, hard and heavy, and of which many things are made. The Targum takes it for the name of a fowl, and renders it peacocks; so Jarchi; see 2 Chronicles 9:21, but Ben Melech much better interprets it of a tree, called in Arabia "ebenus". Solinus makes it peculiar to India (d); and so Virgil (e).
(d) Polyhistor. c. 65. (e) "----Sola India nigrum fert ebenum.----" Virgil. Georgic. 1. 2.
Syria was 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.Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making,.... Which they took off of their hands, and for them brought the following things:
they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds; precious stones of a green colour: Jarchi renders it "carbuncles", other precious stones of a different colour; and so the word is translated by Pagninus, Montanus, Grotius, the French, and Diodate; sometimes called "carchedonies", and which the Apostle John calls the "chalcedony", Revelation 21:19, the same with rubies; and so the word here used is rendered by Luther; and, by Abarbinel, precious stones of great value; see Proverbs 3:15, from whence the Syrians had these to trade with at Tyre cannot be easily said; the modern rubies, which are thought to be the true and genuine carbuncles of the ancients, seldom exceed the weight of twenty carats; yet some say the Emperor Rudolphus the second had a ruby as big as a little hen's egg, bought at sixty thousand ducats, and supposed to be worth more; and that Regulus Decan had one of thirty four carats, bought at six minas of gold, that is, a hundred and ninety two pounds of gold; and that the great Mogul had one, which cost a million four hundred and twenty five thousand florins; and that there are some which exceed the weight of fifty carats (f); but there were few, if any of these, that came to the market of Tyre; however, no doubt, some valuable ones were here sold.
Purple, and broidered work, and fine linen; cloth of purple colour, raiment of needlework curiously embroidered, and linen of the best sort. So the Targum,
"purple clothes, and wrought with a needle, and linen of different colours;''
and of such they made their sails, tilts, and tents; see Ezekiel 27:7.
And coral, and agate; the first is a sea plant.
"This opinion is now so well established, that all other sentiments seem almost precluded. P. Kircher supposes entire forests of it at the bottom of the sea; and M. Tournefort, that able botanist, maintains, that it evidently multiplies by seed, though neither its flower nor seed be known. However, the count de Marsigli has discovered some parts therein, which seem to serve the purpose of seeds and flower, it vegetates the contrary way to all other plants; its foot adhering to the top of the grotto, and its branches shooting downwards, there are properly but three kinds of coral, red, white, and black; the white is the rarest and most esteemed; but it is the red that is ordinarily used in medicine; the places for fishing it are the Persian gulf, Red sea, coasts of Africa towards the bastion of France, the isles of Majorca and Corsica, and the coasts of Provence and Catalonia (g).''
Perhaps the Syrians might have theirs from the Red sea, or the Mediterranean. The other, the "agate", is a precious stone, the same with the "achates", first found in Sicily, as Isidore says (h), by a river of the same name; is of a black colour, according to him, having in the middle black and white circles joined and variegated; but they are of different colours, and of different degrees of transparency. The word is variously rendered; by some the ruby; by others the carbuncle; by others the chalcedony; and by others crystal; it is hard to say what is meant. Now the Phoenicians or Tyrians were so deeply engaged in trade with the Syrians, that it became a common proverb, the Phonicians against the Syrians (i); when like are set against like, as the Egyptians against the Egyptians, Isaiah 19:2.
(f) Vid. Braunium de Vestitu Sacerdot. Hebr. 1. 2. c. 11. p. 669. (g) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Coral". (h) Origin, l. 16. c. 11. (i) Vid. Reinesium de Lingua Punic. c. 2. sect. 12.
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.Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants,.... The inhabitants of Judah and Israel; the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the other ten tribes of Israel, they all merchandised with the Tyrians, being near unto them:
they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith; the name of a place, Judges 11:33, where probably the best wheat grew; so the Targum renders it; the Tyrians were supplied with wheat from the land of Israel, in the times of Solomon, long before this, 1 Kings 5:11 as they were in the times of Herod, long after, Acts 12:20, it was four miles from Esbus or Heshbon, in the way to Philadelphia, according to Eusebius:
and Pannag; which some take to be the name of a place, where the best wheat also was; which some say was Phoenicia, or the land of Canaan. The Septuagint render it "ointments": and the Latin interpreter of the Targum "balsam"; with which agrees Josephus ben Gorion (k), who says that at Jericho grew the balsam tree, from whence came a precious oil, which oil is "pannag": and Hillerus (l) translates it balsam: it follows,
and honey, and oil: with which the land of Canaan abounded; for it was a land of oil olive and honey, a land that flowed with milk and honey, Deuteronomy 8:8 so that they had enough for themselves, and to spare for their neighbours, and which they carried to the market of Tyre:
and balm; or balsam, of which there was plenty at Gilead, and near Jericho, however at the latter; we read of the balm of Gilead, Jeremiah 8:22. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it "rosin"; and so the Targum; and this the Tyrians might make use of in their ships (m). The balm, or balsam plant, was peculiar to Judea, as Pliny (n); at least it was the place of it until transplanted into other countries; and so says Solinus (o).
(k) Hist. 1. 4. c. 22. p. 379. (l) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 903. (m) Vid. Scheffer. de Militia Navali, p. 43. 319. (n) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 25. (o) Polyhistor. c. 48.
Damascus was 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.Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making,.... Of the many things manufactured at Tyre, the inhabitants of Damascus, once the chief city of Syria, took some:
for the multitude of all riches: in lieu of the vast quantity of rich things there made, they traded with them for them:
in the wine of Helbon, and white wool; Helbon very probably is the same with the Chalybon of Ptolemy (p), which he places in Syria; a place famous for wine, as Strabo (q) reports; the kings of Persia, he says, through riches fell into luxury, so that they would have wheat brought from Assos in Aeolia, and Chalybonian wine out of Syria, and water from Eulaeus (the river Ulai in Daniel 8:2), which was lightest of all; and so Athenaeus (r) says, the kings of the Persians drink only Chalybonian wine; which, says Posidonius, was made at Damascus in Syria, from whence the Persians transplant vines: Helbon is thought to be the same with Aleppo; the grapes there are all white, and make a strong wine, as Monsieur Thevenot (s) relates; and who also observes, that the wines of Damascus are treacherous and strong: and the wool they bought was such as it came off of the backs of the sheep, and the purer and whiter sort of it; which was brought to Tyre, and by them bought, and dyed purple, for which dye the Tyrians were famous.
(p) Geograph. l. 5. c. 15. (q) Ibid. l. 12. p. 505. (r) L. 1. c. 22. (s) Travels, part 2. B. 1. c. 5. p. 25. & c. 7. p. 33.
Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.Dan also and Javan, going to and fro, occupied in thy fairs,.... Either the inhabitants of the tribe of Dan in general; or of Laish, sometime called Dan, and in later times Caesarea Philippi, which was in that tribe: though Grotius thinks that Taprobane, or the isle of Zeilan, is meant, where, and not in Dan, were the things after mentioned, in plenty; and where also, according to Ptolemy (t), was a city called Dana or Dagana: and Bochart takes Javan not to be Greece, but a people of a country in Arabia, the metropolis of which was Uzal; and so he renders it, as some of the Greek versions do, Javan of Uzal, or Asel, to distinguish it from the other Javan, Ezekiel 27:13, where also, and not in Greece, the sweet spices grew, which these are said to trade in:
bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market; brought from the above places; polished iron or steel, and the sweet spices of cassia and calamus, or the aromatic cane or reed, which came from afar, Jeremiah 6:20.
(t) Geograph. l. 7. c. 4.
Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots.Dedan was thy merchant in precious cloths for chariots. Or, "cloths of freedom" (u); such as freemen and even nobles wore; and yet so extravagant were the Tyrians, that they bought these to line or cover their chariots with; this is different from the Dedan in Ezekiel 27:15, and is either Dedan in Edom or Idumea, Jeremiah 49:8, or in Arabia, the inhabitants of which descended from Dedan, a grandson of Abraham, Genesis 25:3, which agrees with the following.
(u) "pannis libertatis", Vatablus, Piscator; "ingenuorem", Junius & Tremellius. So Ben Melech, and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 30. 2.
Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar, they occupied with thee in lambs, and rams, and goats: in these were they thy merchants.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.
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.The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants,.... This Sheba was the son of Raamah, Genesis 10:7 who settled in Arabia Felix; where, according to Ptolemy (x), is a city called Rhegma; and so Raamah is pronounced in the Septuagint version of Genesis 10:7,
they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices; as with myrrh and frankincense, with which they abounded: Pliny (y) says that the Arabians paid annually to the kings of Persia a thousand talents of frankincense; and that the Sabaeans (z) boiled their food, some with wood of frankincense, and others with wood of myrrh:
and with all precious stones, and gold; as jaspers, emeralds, carbuncles, and others, which Pliny (a) says are found in Arabia; and mention is made of the gold of Sheba, Psalm 72:15 and Bochart thinks that Ophir, from whence the famous gold of that name was fetched, was in Arabia Felix; and it may be observed, that the queen of Sheba gave great quantities of gold, of spices, and of precious stones, to Solomon; and that he had much of these kinds yearly from the spice merchants, and kings of Arabia, 1 Kings 10:10; see Gill on Isaiah 60:6.
(x) Geograph. l. 6. c. 7. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 12. c. 17. (z) "----Solis est thurea virga Sabaeis". Virgil. Georgic. l. 2.((a) Nat. Hist. l. 37.
Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.Haran, and Canneh, and Eden,.... Haran was a city of Mesopotamia, the same with Haran, where Abraham dwelt awhile, Acts 7:2, the Charrae of the Parthians, famous for the defeat of Crassus. Canneh is thought to be the same with Calneh, Genesis 10:10, afterwards called Ctesiphon; and here, by the Targum, Netzibin, a place not far from Tigris; and Eden also was between Tigris and Euphrates. All three places seem to be in Mesopotamia, and not far from each other; the latter is thought by some to be the place where the garden of Eden was.
The merchants of Sheba; this was another Sheba, distinct from that in Ezekiel 27:22, this Sheba was the son of Jokshan, a son of Abraham by Keturah, Genesis 25:3, these were the Sabaeans, who were not far from the former, and dwelt near the Persian sea.
Ashur and Chilmad were thy merchants; or dealt in "thy merchandise"; took goods of them. Ashur designs the Assyrians, who had their name from Ashur, the builder of Nineveh, Genesis 10:11 and Chilmad is by the Targum rendered Media; and by Grotius thought to be the Gaala of Media in Ptolemy (b); and so Hillerus (c) takes it to be a city of Media.
(b) Geograph. l. 6. c. 2.((c) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 108.
These were 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.These were thy merchants in all sorts of things,.... Either all before mentioned throughout the chapter, or rather those only in the preceding verse; also these were merchants in various things after mentioned, and which were the best and most perfect of the kind, as the word (d) used signifies:
in blue cloths, and broidered work; these the Assyrians took of them, a colour in which they much delighted; see Ezekiel 23:6,
and in chests of rich apparel bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise; rich apparel, such as scarlet cloaks, as the Targum, and blue cloths as before; these were well packed up in chests made of "cedar", which they had from Lebanon, and so fit to be put on board a ship, and carried into any part of the world. The Targum adds,
"and sealed with a signet;''
as things well packed up and bound sometimes are, being of worth and value. Some render it, "in chains"; or, "chains were among thy merchandise" (e); such as chains of gold, wore about the neck; and take the word to be of the sam meaning with that in Sol 1:10.
(d) "rebus perfectissimis", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, Cocceius, Starckius. (e) "et torquibus in negotiatione tua", Pagninus; "et torques fuerunt in nundinis tuis", Vatablus. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 71. 2.
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.The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in market,.... The ships of the sea in general; for Tarshish is used for the sea; these from all parts came to Tyre with their several wares, the product of their country from whence they came, and, finding a good market for them at Tyre, spoke greatly in her praise, or, "were thy princes", or "thy chief ones, in thy market" (f); these brought the principal things into it, and took off the chief that were in it, which were of the produce of Tyre:
and thou wast replenished; with goods from all parts, with every thing for their necessity, convenience, pleasure, and delight, and to carry on a traffic with all nations:
and made very glorious in the midst of the seas; with great riches, stately towers and buildings. Here ends the account of Tyre's greatness; next follows her ruin and destruction.
(f) "principes", V. L. Montanus, Castalio, Starckius; "praecipuae", Tigurine version, Grotius. So some in Vatablus.
Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters: the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters,.... Here the city of Tyre is compared to a vessel at sea, with great propriety, it being built in the sea, and its trade chiefly there; and its rulers and governors, or the inhabitants of it, to rowers; literally the men of Zidon and Arvad were her rowers, Ezekiel 27:8, the straits, difficulties, and distresses these brought Tyre into, are compared to great waters; who, by some unadvised step or another, provoked the king of Babylon to come against them with his army, and lay siege unto them:
the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas; a wind very fatal to ships and mariners; see Psalm 48:7, by it are meant Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army; so called, because of their great force and fury; and because Babylon, from whence they came, lay somewhat to the east of Tyre. So the Targum,
"a king who is strong as the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas.''
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.Thy riches,.... That vast mass of wealth Tyre had got by her trade and merchandise, were all lost, at once, and came to nought, which had been many years gathering; see Revelation 18:17,
and thy fairs; to which there were such great resorts from all parts, and where such a prodigious traffic was carried on, were now interrupted by the siege, and put to an end upon the ruin of the city:
thy merchandise; the goods both imported and exported; the wares that were brought in from foreign parts, and sold in her, and what was taken from her in lieu of them; now nothing more of this kind; and what goods were in her, whether her own or others, were all lost and destroyed:
thy mariners; who were the inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad, Ezekiel 27:8, these perished with her:
and thy pilots; who were the wisest, most skilful, and best learned in the art of navigation, and who were of the city itself, these were no more, Ezekiel 27:8,
thy calkers: the wise and ancient men of Gebal, Ezekiel 27:9,
and the occupiers of the merchandise; that traded in her markets and fairs, mentioned from Ezekiel 27:12,
and all thy men of war that are in thee: to fight for her and defend her; the Persians, Lydiaus, and Lybians, the men of Arvad, and the Gammadims, Ezekiel 27:10,
and in all thy company, which is in the midst of thee; the great concourse of people, whether natives or foreigners:
these all shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin: the walls and banks being demolished, the sea broke in upon it, and washed all away in it, and left it a bare rock; see Ezekiel 26:4.
The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots.The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots. Or governors, as the Targum; and so the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions: the allegory of a ship wrecked is still continued: the sense is, that such should be the cry of the principal men of the city when it should be taken, that the noise of it would be heard upon the continent, and in the towns and villages belonging to Tyre, which would make the inhabitants of them tremble: or,
at the sound of the cry of thy pilots the waves are moved, or "tremble" (g); which beat very strong at the time of her fall into the sea.
(g) "commoti sunt fluctus jactni", Junius & Tremellius; "contremiscent fluctus", Piscator.
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 all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea,.... Inferior officers, and the common people; though this may be literally understood of all sorts of seafaring people, differently employed in ships; some at the oar; some at the sails; and others at the helm; but all shall quit their posts,
and shall come down from their ships; either there being no further business for them, an entire stop being put to trade, through the fall of Tyre; or because of danger, and to save themselves, would leave the ship, and betake to their boats, and make for land: hence it follows,
they shall stand upon the land; upon the continent, being safely arrived; looking upon the shipwrecks, and bewailing the loss of Tyre, as in the next verse.
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:And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee,.... The rulers and governors of the city, for having taken a false step in provoking the enemy, and then holding out the siege no longer, as it was thought they might and would: or rather "over thee", or, "for thee" (h); mourning over the city, and lamenting its sad case; see Revelation 18:9,
and shall cry bitterly; with great weeping, howling, and shrieking:
and they shall cast dust upon their heads; a custom used in the eastern countries, in time of mourning and sorrow; see Revelation 18:19,
and they shall wallow themselves in ashes: or roll themselves in them, another custom used in mourning; see Jeremiah 6:26.
(h) "de te", Junius & Tremellius, Polanus, "super te"; Piscator, Cocceius, Starckius.
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 bitter wailing.And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee,.... Either by shaving their heads, or tearing off their hair, as mourners in distress have been used to do:
and gird them with sackcloth; about their loins, as was very customary in such distressed cases:
and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing; not in show only, but in reality; not like the "preficae" or mourning women, though the allusion may be to them, who only mourned outwardly; but these from the very heart, and in great bitterness of spirit this is expressive of the inward grief of their minds on this melancholy occasion, as what follows declares the lamentation they expressed vocally; see Revelation 18:19.
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?And in their wailing they shall takes up a lamentation for thee,.... A mournful song, such as was used at funerals, or in times of calamity; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it:
and lament over thee; saying the following ditty;
what city is like Tyrus, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea? as there was none like it a few years ago for riches, splendour, and glory, so now there is none like it for misery and ruin; see Revelation 18:18. The Targum is,
"who is as Tyre? there is none like unto her in the midst of the sea;''
she is not now Tyre the renowned, but Tyre the destroyed; destroyed in the midst of the sea, from whence she had her riches and her glory: or, "as one dumb or silent in the midst of the sea"; she, in whom was heard the voice of joy and singing, is now mute, and nothing more of that kind is heard in her see Revelation 18:22.
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.When thy wares went forth out of the seas,.... When they were took out of ships, which came to Tyre from all parts, and were landed on the shore, and put up in warehouses, and exposed in markets and The Targum is,
"when thy merchandise went out from among the nations;''
being brought from all parts thither:
thou filledst many people; by selling them in their markets commodities they wanted, for which they came from all quarters; and by sending them to others in ships, where they knew they stood in need of them, and would fetch them a good price; and they had enough to answer the demands of all, and to supply them to the full:
thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and pithy merchandise; by taking off the goods of their subjects, whereby they were able the better to pay their taxes, and support them in their grandeur and dignity; as well as by furnishing them gold and silver, and precious stones, which they gave for the produce of their country; or by the toll and custom of the goods imported or exported.
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.In the time when thou shall be broken by the seas in the depths of the waters..... By the Chaldean army, which came upon them like the waves of the sea, Ezekiel 26:3 by which they were overpowered and destroyed; just as a ship on the mighty waters is dashed and broke to pieces by the waves thereof:
thy merchandise, and all thy company in the midst of thee, shall fall; trade shall cease, and the mixed multitude of traders from all parts shall be seen no more; the natives of the place shall perish; mariners and soldiers, and persons of every rank and degree, age, and sex. The Targum renders it,
"all thine armies.''
Abendana suggests that this respects the destruction of Tyre by Alexander the great.
All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee,.... Both near and afar off; and not only the inhabitants of the isles, properly so called, but all that dwelt on the continent by the seaside; who would all be amazed when they heard of the ruin of Tyro, which they thought inexpugnable, by reason of its natural and artificial strength:
and their kings shall be sore afraid; that it will be their turn next; and as well knowing that they were less able to contend with so mighty a monarch as the king of Babylon, or Alexander the great, than Tyre was; see Revelation 18:9,
they shall be troubled in their countenance; their inward passions of grief and fear shall be seen in their countenances; which will wax pale, be dejected, distorted, and furrowed.
The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee; thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more.The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee,.... As Tyre had done at Jerusalem, Ezekiel 26:2 as she hoped to make better markets upon the fall of Jerusalem, and therefore rejoiced at it; so these merchants upon her fall will hope that her trade will come into their hands, and therefore despise her, hiss, and laugh at her in her abject state. The Targum is,
"shall be astonished at thee;''
struck with wonder, and even with a stupor at her fall: "and thou shalt be a terror"; not only to thyself, but to kings and merchants, and to all the inhabitants of the isles, and to all that trade by sea; who will be struck with surprise and dread when they hear of thy destruction; see Revelation 18:9,
and never shall be any more; upon the same spot, and in the same grandeur and glory: some understand this only of a long time, as seventy years, when it was rebuilt; see Isaiah 23:15, it may respect its last destruction, since which it has not been, nor now is, or ever will be: this will be true of mystical Babylon, the antitype of Tyre, Revelation 18:21.