[Ezekiel 27:1] THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME AGAIN UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 27:2] NOW, THOU SON OF MAN, TAKE UP A LAMENTATION FOR TYRUS;
Tyre sits at the entrances to the seas and trades with many isles. Tyre
was the major Phoenician city though Sidon was also important. Arvad and
Gebal (Byblos) were also Phoenician cities. The Phoenicians were a
of people who in the later stages of their history identified themselves
as Canaanites. The Phoenicians established colonies in North Africa, France,
Spain, and according to Tacitus also in western and northern Europe. They
mined tin on Cornwall. Carthage in North Africa was a Phoenician colony first
settled by refugees from Tyre. Carthage was
destined to become mighty empire in its own right and wage several wars
with Rome, known as the "Punic" wars. According to Professor Manasheh Harel
("Yechezkiel", Davidson): The four major branches of the Phoenician economy
were (a) ship-building; (b) dyes, especially blue and purple dyes, for wool
and linen fabrics; (c) fishing; (d) trading.
Trading was the most important activity. International trading activities
included the exchange of animals (sheep, goats, horses, mules); agricultural
products for food, clothing, and balm; luxury goods such as precious stones,
gold and silver products, and ivory carvings; Metals such as iron, copper,
tin, and lead; slaves from all over the world. The most important metal in
use was bronze which is an alloy of copper and tin. Most of the tin came
from Britain and the Phoenician monopoly on trade in tin was important.
[Ezekiel 27:3] 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
[Ezekiel 27:4] THY BORDERS ARE IN THE MIDST OF THE SEAS; THY BUILDERS HAVE PERFECTED THY BEAUTY.
Archaeological finds indicate that Cyprus, eastern Greece, and the
northern section of Israel fulfilled important roles in the economy of Tyre.The
major part of the city of Tyre was an island 700 meters from the coast. Assyrian
illustrations depict the walls of Tyre with high towers intermittently protruding.
The topmost section of the wall was covered with shields behind which the
defenders would make their stand. The walled city of Tyre from the coast
had the appearance of a great majestic ship. The ships of Tyre were quite
large and traveled all over the seas. They were the best in the Ancient World.
Different parts of the ship were made of different materials: A certain type
of wood imported from one place would be used for one section of the boat
and another type of wood (brought from somewhere else) would be considered
more appropriate for another part. The prophet uses this aspect of the ships
of Tyre as symbolic of Tyre itself.
[Ezekiel 27:5] THEY HAVE MADE ALL THY SHIP BOARDS
OF FIR TREES OF SENIR: THEY HAVE TAKEN CEDARS FROM LEBANON TO MAKE MASTS
Ezekiel (ch.27) lists the places with whom Tyre traded and what goods
they supplied.27;5: Firtrees (or juniper tree) from Senir and cedars from
Lebanon were used for shipbuilding.
[Ezekiel 27:6] 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.
from Bashan for oars, benches inlaid with ivory from Asher from the Isles
of the Chittim. Bashan and Asher of Israel, Cyprus and Italy: "Bashan" was
in the territory of Menasseh east of the Jordan."Asher" (of Israel) was in
northern Syria where in ancient times elephants were hunted for their ivory."Isles
of the Chittim" meant Cyprus and Islands about Italy which is interesting
since it implies that Israelites from the Tribe of Asher had also reached
those areas. This verse may contain a hint concerning the Israelite presence
on Sardinia which was named after Sered from the Tribe of Zebulon and from
which Isle Hebrews appear to have moved to northern Scotland. "COMPANY
OF THE ASHURITES": In Hebrew "Bath-Ashurim" which most commentators say was
a kind of tree found in Cyprus. This is not how we understood the expression.
Ezekiel is describing the trading activities that had made Tyre a great power
in recent times though changes had already taken place. The Lost Ten Tribes
and several other peoples had been uprooted and exiled by the Assyrians and
Babylonians. The Assyrians had first began to replace the Phoenicians in
the eastern Mediterranean with Greek settlers.
[Ezekiel 27:7] 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 embroidered linen from Egypt (Mitsrayim) for sails, to be
your standard, blue and purple from the Isles of Elishah covered you..."Isles
of Elisha" refers presumably to the Islands of Helas, i.e. of Greece. Though
the manufacturing of purple is believed to have become a Phoenician monopoly
and in the Talmud (Megilla 6.a) is associated with the Israelite Tribe of
Zebulon, some say that the process had Minoan (Cretan) origins.
[Ezekiel 27:8] THE INHABITANTS OF ZIDON AND ARVAD WERE THY MARINERS: THY WISE MEN, O TYRUS, THAT WERE IN THEE, WERE THY PILOTS.
Tyre employed sailors from the Phonenician cities of Sidon ("Zidon") and Arvad.
[Ezekiel 27:9] 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.
<<GEBAL>>: also known as "Byblos". The Greeks purchased
Egyptian papyrus from Gebal. They used the papyrus for writing material.
This could be were our word "bible" comes from."CALKERS" i.e. caulkers who
use tar and other materials to ensure that the boat is water-proof.MARINERS
WERE IN THEE TO OCCUPY THY MERCHANDISE: I would translate this from the Hebrew
as "sailors who mortgaged themselves to you" or instead of "mortgaged themselves"
perhaps "were your guarantors".
The elders and wisemen of Gebal would maintain your ships, all the ships
of the sea and their sailors mortgaged themselves to you.
[Ezekiel 27:10] 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.
From Persia and Lydia and Phut came men to serve in your armies. Lydia was inn the western section of mainland Turkey.
[Ezekiel 27:11] 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 natives of Arwad and your own soldiers manned your walls round
about. Pygmies [Hebrew: "Gamadim"] in your towers hung their shields around
your walls. They perfected your beauty. The above verses indicate international
connections and great specialization in supply and organization. The use
of Pygmies to man very high almost inaccessible towers about the walls probably
had military value. Pygmies make small targets. They are agile and they probably
could climb up heights difficult of access to larger mortals.
[Ezekiel 27:12] 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 a merchandiser of yours. With great capital, through
trade in silver, iron, tin, and lead they laid up surpluses.Tarsis was in
Spain possibly centred on the region of Gibraltar. Tarshish served as a trading
emporium for goods from Spain, Britain, and Gaul. Tarshish according to D'Arbois
de Jubainville once controlled most of Gaul. The Israelites in the time of
Solomon and afterwards traded with Tarshish and may have had a base there.
Later after the Assyrian exile Israelites and Phoenicians were resettled
in the Tarshish area. The Hebrew association with Gibraltar is therefore
of long standing and even today Gibraltar remains a British base.
[Ezekiel 27:13] JAVAN, TUBAL, AND MESHECH, THEY WERE
THY MERCHANTS: THEY TRADED THE PERSONS OF MEN AND VESSELS OF BRASS IN THY
27;13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your merchants. They traded men
and bronzeware in your markets.Javan is Ionia in western Anatolia (the Asian
part of modern Turkey) or Greece which was settled by Javan.Tubal and Meshech
were then also in Anatolia but today are identified with peoples who settled
in Russia, Meshech gave its name to Moscow, Tubal to Tibilis (Tiflis) capital
of Georgia in the Caucasus. There are authorities (such as Josephon and Abarbanel)
who connect Tubal with Spain. People from Anatolia did settle around the
coasts of Spain according to Classical sources.
[Ezekiel 27:14] THEY OF THE HOUSE OF TOGARMAH TRADED IN THY FAIRS WITH HORSES AND HORSEMEN AND MULES.
Togarma son of Gomer son of Japheth is identified with Tilgarimu north
of Carcamish (in northwest Syria) and to the west of Armenia. This was to
become a Cimmerian region.
[Ezekiel 27:15] THE MEN OF DEDAN WERE THY MERCHANTS; MANY ISLES WERE THE
MERCHANDISE OF THINE HAND: THEY BROUGHT THEE FOR A PRESENT HORNS OF IVORY
Men of Dedan were your merchants. Many isles traded with you, ivory
and ebony.The Phoenicians introduced their alphabet to the Indonesian islands.
They probably had contacts with Polynesia. The present day king of Tonga
is a student of ancient Phoenician seacraft.<<EBONY>>: Hebrew
"Eshcor", meaning uncertain, probably a scent of some kind from the east.
[Ezekiel 27:16] 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.
Aram (Syria) was your merchant in precious stones and fabrics.<<FINE
LINEN>>: Hebrew "bootz": Professor Chaim Rabin says that this was actually
cotton from India that was brought overland via Syria to the Mediterranean
[Ezekiel 27:17] 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.
<<THE LAND OF ISRAEL>>: Ezekiel is speaking of a period
prior to the exile of the Ten Tribes. Professor Gershon Brin says that Ezekiel
in this prophecy may well have been using an ancient list of names. Such
lists would be arranged in poetic form singing the raises of Tyre. The Prophets
lived in a culture that was both highly literate while combining characteristics
of illiterate societies. The impression is that they would commit much to
memory, repeat descriptions of events, heroic stories, and words of wisdom
in song in such a way that memory came easy and a good deal
of the general culture was always present in their subconscious. When the
Prophets gave forth their prophecy they would dress their messages in form,
style, expression, even partial content, that was taken from their own experiences
and learning.Judah and the Land of Israel supplied wheat, grains, honey,
oil, and agricultural products.
<<WHEAT OF MINNITH>>: Wheat that grew on the hills near Minith
in Ammon. This was supplied to the coast via Judah. The trade had already
ceased it would seem when Ezekiel prophesied but, as we said, Ezekiel was
describing the situation that had led to the greatness of Tyre.
[Ezekiel 27:18] 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 traded in most of your products, most of its capital was involved
with your trade, it gave over Helbon wine and white wool.
[Ezekiel 27:19] DAN ALSO AND JAVAN GOING TO AND FRO OCCUPIED IN THY FAIRS: BRIGHT IRON, CASSIA, AND CALAMUS, WERE IN THY MARKET.
The Israelite Tribe of Dan and Ancient GreeceIn this verse the Israelite
Tribe of Dan is linked with Javan meaning Greece and Greek legend recalled
the Israelite children of Danaus among the founders of Greek civilization.
Modern archaeological studies (see the Cambridge Ancient History) tend to
identify the mythical "children of Danaus" with Hyksos settlers who left Egypt
and founded early Mycenaean colonies in Greece. Dan and Javan from Uzzal
brought you supplies of iron and steel products.The site of Dan in northern
Galilee was a metallurgical centre. The Dananu in Cilicia (northwest Syria
and southeast Turkey) also belonged to Dan of Israel and here too supplies
of iron ore were available.
<<BRIGHT IRON>>: "barzel osoth": "manufactured iron", possibly
steel according to Menachem ben Chelbo in the Middle Ages.
<<CASSIA, AND CALAMUS>>: Elsehwere I have translated these words
from the Hebrew as referring to forms of metal manufacture.
[Ezekiel 27:20] DEDAN WAS THY MERCHANT IN PRECIOUS CLOTHES FOR CHARIOTS.
[Ezekiel 27:21] ARABIA, AND ALL THE PRINCES OF KEDAR, THEY OCCUPIED WITH
THEE IN LAMBS, AND RAMS, AND GOATS: IN THESE WERE THEY THY MERCHANTS.
[Ezekiel 27:22] 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.
Sheba and Rama brought spices, precious stones and gold.Sheba and Rama
refer to India. Rama is still an ancestral figure in Hindu mythology (B.Sieger).
[Ezekiel 27:23] HARAN, AND CANNEH, AND EDEN, THE MERCHANTS OF SHEBA, ASSHUR, AND CHILMAD, WERE THY MERCHANTS.
<<ASSHUR>>: i.e. Assyria.<<CHILMAD>>: probably Media (cf. Targum).
[Ezekiel 27:24] 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.
Harran and Canneh, Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assyria, and Chilmad
traded with you. These were your merchants in finished products and raw materials
[Ezekiel 27:25] 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.
<<SHIPS OF TARSHISH>>: The list of traders with Tyre of
Phoenicia rounds off by recalling "the ships of Tarshish" as the means through
which Tyre traded."The ships of Tarshish" were the caravans for your markets;
and you were replenished, and made very glorious in the midst of the seas.
[Ezekiel 27:26] THY ROWERS HAVE BROUGHT THEE INTO GREAT WATERS: THE EAST WIND HATH BROKEN THEE IN THE MIDST OF THE SEAS.
[Ezekiel 27:27] 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.
[Ezekiel 27:28] THE SUBURBS SHALL SHAKE AT THE SOUND OF THE CRY OF THY PILOTS.
[Ezekiel 27:29] 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;
[Ezekiel 27:30] 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:
[Ezekiel 27:31] 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.
[Ezekiel 27:32] 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?
[Ezekiel 27:33] 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.
[Ezekiel 27:34] 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.
[Ezekiel 27:35] ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE ISLES SHALL BE ASTONISHED
AT THEE, AND THEIR KINGS SHALL BE SORE AFRAID, THEY SHALL BE TROUBLED IN
<<ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE ISLES>>: Of Britain? The Phoenicians
also settled in West Africa and from there they apparently founded the Olmec
civilization in Mexico. Some West African tribes have traditions that indicate
Phoenician-connected ancestry.The original physical type of the Phoenicians
is uncertain. They are often depicted by the Egyptians as darkish but sometimes as blonde or red-haired
and blue-eyed. Mesopotamian depictions indicate that Africans were present
amongst them from the beginning.
[Ezekiel 27:36] THE MERCHANTS AMONG THE PEOPLE SHALL HISS AT THEE; THOU SHALT BE A TERROR, AND NEVER SHALT BE ANY MORE.