Isaiah Ch 23 - Failed Prophesy?

Isaiah Ch 23 - An area under attack as contradictory to prophesy in Ezekiel concerning Tyre (Tsor, Sor).

(v 1) The oracle concerning (or burden of) Tyre (Tsor). Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or harbour(entering); It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus (Kittim).

Babylon was the city of the imperial power of the world (the centre of the greatest land power); Tyre was the city of the commerce of the world at that time (the greatest maritime power). The merchants of Tyre were described as the merchant princes of the sea.

Both Sidon and Tyre were Phoenician city states; But Sidon was much older; the thorah and Homer mentioned only the former.

Tyre did not rise into notoriety till after the time of David. But in the Assysian era Tyre had gained a kind of supremacy over the rest of the Phoenician states.

[God brought the city of merchant princes at her height of prosperity to the underworld of the sea (its remains were swept into the sea) to demonstrate sudden and utter destruction of worldly pride.]

"Ships of Tharshish" are ships that sail to Tartessus. It is not improbable that the whole of the Mediterranean may have been called "the sea of Tarshish".

These ships are to howl due to the devastation that has taken place.

The people of Tyre could have fled with their wealth before the houses and harbour were destroyed.

Cyprus was Tyre's nearest colony; the last station on this homeward passage.

(v 2) Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea (Who passed over the sea, they replenished you)

The prophet Isaish now turns to the Phoenicians at home, who have this devastation in prospect.

(v 3) And were on many waters. The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue; And she was the market of nations.

Tyre traded her goods for food. The Phoenicians actually did buy up the corn-stores of Egypt.

Her traders were known from the Indian Ocean ( 1Kings 10v22 ), to the English Channel.

(v 4) Be ashamed, O Sidon; For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying, "I have neither travailed nor given birth, I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins."

The disappearance of merchants of Tyre made the sea look bare.

The war murdered her young men and maidens so much that she appeared to have never given birth to them or brought them up.

(v 5) When the report reaches Egypt, They will be in anguish at the report of Tyre.

Even in Egypt the fate of Phoenicia produced alarm.

(v 6) Pass over to Tarshish; Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland.

Merchants of other city states fleeing from Tyre, in sorrow over her destruction.

The alarming news travelled far.

(v 7) Is this your jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?

Skeptics overlook the fact that Tyre in Ezekiel and Isaish is referred to as a city, and not a locality.

Jubilant city is a description of a (splendid) city, not a village/town of Sur.

Feet is used to describe the aggressive acts of Tyre in colonisation; not that a lady used her feet (by walking or running) to reach distant land for her acts of aggression.

(v 8) Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?

The prince of Tyre would be referred to as a merchant, a member, a citizen of Tyre (Tsor).

Merchants is a notable class of citizens in Tyre. Fishermen did not get a mention.

The bestower of crowns also refer to her colonization as a result of her trade.

(v 9) The Lord of hosts has planned it to defile the pride of all beauty, To despise all the honored of the earth.

The destruction of Tyre took away glass trade, dye trade, and cedar trade which are the pride of Tyre. The trade in prostitution of Tyre would also disappear. A destroyed Tyre could not buy up corn from Egypt. Fishing in Tyre could not start to compare with the large scale of trade depicted in history.

Tyre merchandise was enviable throughout the ancient world in the west; while fishing has never gained such esteemed status.

(v 10) Overflow( Pass over ) your land like the Nile, O daugther of Tarshish, There is no more restraint( Perhaps girdle or shipyard ).

The term daughter is used to describe a city, such as the city of Tyre, or a colony of Tyre.

The term daughters (Eze 26v6) would also be used to describe cities of Tyre on the mainland [since the island could not contain a number of cities]. Skeptics are reluctant to locate these ancient mainland cities of Tyre.

Distanted colonies broke out into anarchy at the collapse of the parent city.

(v 11) He has stretched His hand out over the sea, He has made the kingdoms tremble; The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its strongholds.

Ancient city states in the past normally have kings. Fishing towns and modern cities do not have kings.

Skeptics claim that the fishing town on the peninsula of Sur is Tsor rebuilt. There are buildings on the rock.

There is no continuity of ruling class there.

Sur is not even an important city in the Mediterranean.

Mainland Tyre is not found; therefore impossible to acertain its habitation. It resembles a rocky desert. Tyre is no longer a city state.

(v 12) And He has said, "You shall exult no more, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest."

Virgin daugther is used to signify Tsor, a city, not just a female.

She was politically independent; not married to another stronghold.

The people of Tyre had to flee to Cyprus, their colony, because of the destruction of their city.

Do we have a politically independent merchant stronghold there today?

(v 13) Behold, the land of the Chaldeans - this is the people which was not; Assyria appointed it for desert creatures - they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.

A scene of mainland warfare.

It was so ruined as to be suitable for dwelling of desert animals. Assyria is now history. Tyre is not precluded from settlers forever.

Destruction was carried out with siege towers as in mainland warfare, rather than with ships as marine warfare. Therefore, we are not in discussion of an island city here.

(v 14) Wail, O ships of Tarshish, For your stronghold is destroyed.

Skeptics claim that modern Sur is 23,000 strong, with telephone lines, streets, and housing.

Is the modern fishing village/town of Sur a stronghold in the sea, and of great importance to all other cities/countries of sea trade (ships of Tarshish)?

(v 15) Now it will come about in that day that Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot;

Skeptics claim that Sur was ruined for a short while in history; and that this prophesy of Isaiah contradicts with Ezekiel who predicted that Tyre will be no more.

As Phoenicians were worshippers of Astarte, Tyre probably had a major share of sex trade (prostitution) with the known world at the time. From the earliest times the prostitution of the body was also a common thing in markets and fairs, more especially in those of Phoenicia. Her success and revival in trade might be caused by her harlotry.

This verse is depicting a revival of harlotry rather than Cedar and dye trade. This verse, and the following 2 verses deal with the increase of harlotry.

(v 16) Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered.

Skeptics seem to have forgotten that Tyre was built on its sea trade of dye and cedar, prostitution; and had colonies.

After each disaster in history Tyre recovered after an interval and resumed her trading. - However she is not a significant trader of cedar. Even her harlotry was forgotten for a time.

(v 17) And it will come about at the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot's wages, and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on (of the earth on the face of the land ) the face of the earth.

Jesus and his disciples visited Tyre (Turos). ( Matt 15v21, Mk 3v8, Mk 7 v24 v31, Ac 12v20, Ac 21 v3 v7 )

Rev. Ch 17,18. - the great harlot and the merchants of the world.

(v 18) And her gain and her harlot's wages will be set apart to the Lord; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord.

Some of her settlers turned to Christianity from the first century onward.