Page images


This chapter is a prophecy of the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnez

zar, after a siege of thirteen years ; the inhabitants all fled to sea with their best effects, so that there was only the naked city left, which he entirely destroyed; it was the most famous city for irade, merchandise, and naval strength, in the world. irTHE burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, all trad

T ing ships, especially those of Spain ; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in ; no house of business, or entertainment, no ships entering into the harbour : from the land of

Chittim it is revealed to them ; Greece and Italy have heard 2 that it is wasted. Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle, or penin

sula : thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, 3 have replenished.* And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the

harvest of the river, [is] her revenue ; and she is a mart of na4 tions. Be thou ashamed, 0 Zidon : for the sea hath spoken,

[even] the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, (nor] bring

up virgins ; even Sidon is depopulated by this event, and sends 5 forth no more colonies, nor do any persons come to settle there. As at the report concerning Egypt (so) shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre ; all Egypt shall be astonished at the down

fal of Tyre, which Nebuchadnezzar shall quickly after conquer ; 6 this was to be his wages. Pass ye over to Tarshish ; howl, ye 7 inhabitants of the isle. [Is] this your joyous (city,) whose an

tiquity [is] of ancient days ? 1 her own feet shall carry her afar 8 off to sojourn ; her inhabitants shall fly from home. Who hath

taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning (city,) whose

merchants (are] princes, whose traffickers [are] the honourable 9 of the earth ?|The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the

pride of all glory, [and] to bring into contempt all the honoura10 ble of the earth. Pass through thy land as a river, ( daughter

of Tarshish ; so called because enriched by its Irade at sea ; pass through thy territories, to save thyself in foreign countries, as swift

as a river, for (there is] no more strength ;. thou hast no power 11 to resist the enemy. He, that is, God, stretched out his hand

over the sea, he shook the kingdoms : the Lord hath given a

commandment against the merchant (city,] to destroy the strong 12 holds thereof. And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, () thou

oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon :** arise, pass over to Chita

• Tyre was a colony of Sidon.

+ The produets of Egypt, especially corn, were brought thither and carried to other nations by the Tyrians.

In the time of Joshua (chap. xix. 29) it was called, the strong city Tyre. Many heathen writers speak of it as very ancient.

| Tyre boasted of itself as the queen of cities; and its crade brought immense wealth to its inhabitants.

**Sidon was older than Tyre, and the mother of it: it is mentioned in Genesis, in Jacob's blessing, and called Great Sidon, in Joshua xix, 28.

tim ; there also thou shalt have no rest; the Sidonians shall find 13 no rest in the countries to which they flee.* Behold the land of

the Chaldeans ; this people was not, (till] the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness : they set up the towers

thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; [and] he brought 14 it to ruin.t Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, a

place which they much frequented : for your strength is laid waste. 15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be for

gotten seventy years, according to the days of one king, or fama ily of kings, namely Nebuchadnezzar, his son and grandson ; after

the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot, that is, 16 be restored and rebuilt. I Take an harp, go about the city, thou

harlot that hast been forgotten ; make sweet melody, sing many

songs, that thou mayest be remembered ; she shall endeavour to 17 allure others to traffick with her as before.l! And it shall come to

pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornica

tion, that is, shall traffick, with all the kingdoms of the world upon 18 the face of the earth. And her merchandise and her hire shall

be holiness to the LORD ; she shall make a better use of her wealth 'than before : it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing ; it shall be brought to Jea rusalem for the use of the priests, a prophecy that many should be converted to the Jewish religion, and which had probably a further reference to their embracing the gospel, as many of them did. W'c have an account in Acts xxi. 4. of some disciples there, and Paul's interview with them; and we read in ancient ecclesiastical history af many converts, and some martyrs there,


'1. CEE here an instance of the awful and melancholy change

d that may be brought on the most wealthy and powerful state. It is a thought that often occurs ; yet there is none that is more necessary to be attended to. The rich, populous, and flourishing city of Tyre was destroyed, and its inhabitants forced to flee. This joyous city, full of mirth and diversions, was overwhelmed with sorrow and sadness. We may learn hence the vanity of the world ; and let those who live in wealth and splendor observe how soon it may sink and wither, and they lose their all, and be glad to fy any where for rest. Since wealth increases luxury and debauch

• Some of them Nebuchadnezzar conquered, and their own colonies were in an unsettled state, when Tyre was destroyed.

+ Babylon was a place of no note or eminence at the time of this prophet; the people lived in tents till the Assyrians built that city for their reception; yet the Chaldeans, or Bab. ylonians, should bring Tyre to ruin, though a strong, magnificent, and wealthy city.

I Probably when Cyrus delivered the Israelites, he released the lyrians, and many of them settled near the old city, which was then to return to her former state of prosperity and traffick.

A rich city may be compared to an harlot on that account ; but perhaps here is an allusion to their lewdness, and debauchery, and their being skilled in the arts of fraud and luxury.

ery, we have need to be particularly watchful. But the principal ground of God's controversy with Tvre was its pride, v. 9. Men are very apt to increase in pride as their substance increases ; and therefore it is needful to charge those who are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, since this instance shows how soon they may make themselves wings and ly away.

2. We learn how to employ our substance to the best advantage, namely, to consecrate it to God. Let the merchandise of the trades. man, and the hire of the labourer, be holiness to the Lord, devoted to him, and employed for him in works of piety and charity, in reliev. ing the necessitous, and supporting and encouraging the gospel. We see by v. 18, that when it is treasured and laid up it is not holiness to the Lord ; neither is it so when it is extravagantly spent. As God gives us our substance, it becomes us to employ it for him, then it will turn to the best account. By being rich in good works, ready to distribute, and willing to communicate, we shall lay up in store a good foundation against the time to come.


This chapter contains a general description of the miseries brought up.

on Israel and the neighbouring nations, first by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and then by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

i DEHOLD, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh

D it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; there shall be a general confusion, as at 2 first when the earth was without form. And it shall be, as with

the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress ; as with the buyer, so with the seller ; as with the lender, so with the borrower ; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to

him ; there shall be a general desolation, and all ranks and orders 3 shall be involved in the same calamity. The land shall be utterly

emptied, and utterly spoiled : for the LORD hath spoken this 4 word. The earth mourneth (and) fadeth away, the world lan

guisheth [and] fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do

languish ; who have most to lose, and are least able to bear suffer. 5 ings. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed, or neglected,

the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant ; either the Mc6 saic law, or the covenant with Noah. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate by

fire, sword, or pestilence : therefore the inhabitants of the earth 7 are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the

vine languisheth, and is spoiled by the enemy, all the merry heart8 ed do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them

9 that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall

not drink wine with a song ; strong drink shall be bitter to them

that drink it ; they shall have no relish for their former delights. 10 The city of confusion, either Samaria, or Jerusalem, is broken

down : every house is shut up, that no man may come in ; the Il inhabitants are all gone, either dead, or in captivity. [There is!

a crying for wine in the streets ; all joy is darkened, the mirth 12 of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate

is smitten with destruction ; the enemu may enter when they 13 please. When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among

the people, (there shall be] as the shaking of an olive tree, [and] as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. Nevertheless

u remnant shall be left, and these shall be serious and devout ; 14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty

of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea, over which they 15 have fled. Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires, in the

greatesi distress and the heaviest afflictions, (even] the name of

the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. 16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs,

the dispersed people of God keep up and profess their religion, [even) glory to the righteous God. But I said, My leanness, my leanness, wo unto me! the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously ; yea, the treacherous dealers, or apostate people, have dealt very treacherously ; I am so affected with the

people's hypocrisy toward God, and dishonesty toward one another, 17 that I am consumed arvay. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, 18 (are) upon thee, () inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come

to pass, [that] he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit ; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare : for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake ; an allusion to

the deluge ; they run any where for safety, but still run into dars 19 ger. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dis, 20 solved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel

to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, or, as easily as a cottage ; and the transgression thereof shall be

heavy upon it, sin shall sink it ; and it shall fall and not rise 21 again. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the LORD

shall punish the host of the high ones [that are] on ligh, and

the kings of the earth, the Assyrian and Chaldean moriarchs, who 22 have done so much mischief upon the earth. And they shall be

gathered together, (as) prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be

visited ; that is, the Jews, who had been as prisoners, shall be vis23 ited in mercy, released, and return to their own land. Then the

moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem ; that is, the divine perfections shall be so illustrated, that the bright. ness of them shall obscure the sun and moon, as they do lesser lights ; and before his ancients gloriously ; his priests and an. cient servants, who saw the desolation of their country, shall see all the glory that shall be displayed in the destruction of these mon. archies, in punishing the wicked and sparing and restoring the righteous,


BSERVE how sin defiles and destroys a land. It is that

which makes a land tremble, empties it of its treasures and inhabitants, and brings confusion and desolation upon it. See what sins in particular do this, namely, transgressing the law of nature, the rules of the creation ; changing the ordinances of God, the institutions of revealed religion ; inventing new ones, neglecting the old, and making no conscience of complying with them : this brings great guilt on particular persons, and on nations, that is, not complying with the terms of the everlasting covenant. See then how necessary it is to observe the divine laws and ordinances if we desire to escape the curse.

2. See the difference between carnal and spiritual joys ; the joy of sinners and saints. The joy of the sinner arises from music, wine, and gay company ; and when these are gone, his joys are gone ; his mirth is over, and it ends in heaviness. But the joy of the saint arises from and centres in the blessed God, and the foundation of his comfort will not fail. He can rejoice in tribulation ; and when the judgments of God lay all around him waste, he can joy in the God of his salvation. It is easy to infer who are the happiest people, and in which number we should desire to be found.

3. See the duty of God's people in seasons of affliction.' v. 15. Glorify ye the Lord in the fires, acknowledge his hand in affliction, reverence his power and justice. He who kindles the fire will mod. erate its violence; will be with his servants when they pass through it ; and deliver them out of it: and on all those accounts they should glorify him, trust in him, and wait patiently for his salvation.

4. The various changes in states and kingdoms illustrate the perfections, and display the glory of the Lord. It is he who doeth these things, v. 1. When nations are made desolate, he commands it ; when the high ones of the earth are humbled and punished, it is the King of kings who doeth it. When oppressors are brought down, and God's servants delivered, it is a glorious display of his power and sovereignty, his hatred of oppression and injustice, his faithfulness to his promises, and kindness to his people. Let us then carefully observe bis glories as thus displayed, and lift up our voices, and sing for the majesty of the Lord.

« PreviousContinue »