[Ezekiel 28:1] THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME AGAIN UNTO ME, SAYING,
This chapter speaks of Tyre ("Tyrus") and Sidon ("Zidon" or "Tsidon") the
chief Phoenician cities. Sidon was considered the oldest city and there was
a tradition that Tyre had been founded by people from Sidon. "Sidonian" was
a term that could be applied to Phoenicians in general. Sidonian sailors
manned the navy of Tyre. Between Tyre and Sidon, Tyre became the most
important and there was a certain degree of rivalry between the two. We
refer to them as "Phoenicians" which is what the Greeks and Romans called
them but they referred to themselves as Canaanites.
[Ezekiel 28:2] SON OF MAN, SAY UNTO THE PRINCE OF
TYRUS, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; BECAUSE THINE HEART IS LIFTED UP, AND THOU
HAST SAID, I AM A GOD, I SIT IN THE SEAT OF GOD, IN THE MIDST OF THE SEAS;
YET THOU ART A MAN, AND NOT GOD, THOUGH THOU SET THINE HEART AS THE HEART
The king of Tyre had made himself into a deity. This was a common
phenomenon in ancient times. The Pharaohs of Egypt and several of the
Emperors of Rome made themselves out to be gods. Other monarchs claimed to
be representatives of gods and have divine rights. This continued in Europe
until relatively recent times. The Divine Right of Kings was an important
political doctrine up until the 1700s and in some cases (such as Russia to
a degree?) up until about 100 years ago.
[Ezekiel 28:3] BEHOLD, THOU ART WISER THAN DANIEL; THERE IS NO SECRET THAT THEY CAN HIDE FROM THEE:
Daniel in the Book of Daniel was from the same generation as Ezekiel
(though a bit younger) and he became famous throughout the kingdom of
Nebuchadnessar for his wisdom and understanding of hidden matters.
Archaeological findings from the Phoenician city of Ugarit on the north
Syrian coast indicate that there had once been another Daniel. This
previous hero called "Daniel" had been a king and renowned for his wisdom
and justice. He had probably belonged to the Tribe of Manasseh. Some modern
commentators say that this is the "Daniel" Ezekieil is referring to. Daniel
in the Book of Daniel belonged to the family of David from Judah.
[Ezekiel 28:4] WITH THY WISDOM AND WITH THINE UNDERSTANDING
THOU HAST GOTTEN THEE RICHES, AND HAST GOTTEN GOLD AND SILVER INTO THY TREASURES:
[Ezekiel 28:5] BY THY GREAT WISDOM AND BY THY TRAFFICK HAST THOU INCREASED
THY RICHES, AND THINE HEART IS LIFTED UP BECAUSE OF THY RICHES:
[Ezekiel 28:6] THEREFORE THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; BECAUSE THOU HAST SET THINE HEART AS THE HEART OF GOD;
[Ezekiel 28:7] BEHOLD, THEREFORE I WILL BRING STRANGERS UPON THEE,
THE TERRIBLE OF THE NATIONS: AND THEY SHALL DRAW THEIR SWORDS AGAINST THE
BEAUTY OF THY WISDOM, AND THEY SHALL DEFILE THY BRIGHTNESS.
[Ezekiel 28:8] THEY SHALL BRING THEE DOWN TO THE PIT,
AND THOU SHALT DIE THE DEATHS OF THEM THAT ARE SLAIN IN THE MIDST OF THE
[Ezekiel 28:9] WILT THOU YET SAY BEFORE HIM THAT SLAYETH THEE, I AM
GOD? BUT THOU SHALT BE A MAN, AND NO GOD, IN THE HAND OF HIM THAT SLAYETH
[Ezekiel 28:10] THOU SHALT DIE THE DEATHS OF THE UNCIRCUMCISED BY THE
HAND OF STRANGERS: FOR I HAVE SPOKEN IT, SAITH THE LORD GOD.
[Ezekiel 28:11] MOREOVER THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 28:12] SON OF MAN, TAKE UP A LAMENTATION UPON THE KING OF
TYRUS, AND SAY UNTO HIM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; THOU SEALEST UP THE SUM,
FULL OF WISDOM, AND PERFECT IN BEAUTY.
[Ezekiel 28:13] THOU HAST BEEN IN EDEN THE GARDEN
OF GOD; EVERY PRECIOUS STONE WAS THY COVERING, THE SARDIUS, TOPAZ, AND THE
DIAMOND, THE BERYL, THE ONYX, AND THE JASPER, THE SAPPHIRE, THE EMERALD,
AND THE CARBUNCLE, AND GOLD: THE WORKMANSHIP OF THY TABRETS AND OF THY PIPES
WAS PREPARED IN THEE IN THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED.
All the precious stones mentioned here (apart from gold) were amongst the
12 stones in the breast plate of the High Priest in the Temple.
SARDIUS: "Odem"="ruby"?= Reuben
TOPAZ: "pitda"= Shimeon
DIAMOND: yaholam = Zebulon
BERYL: "tarshish" = Asher
ONYX: shoham = Joseph
JASPER: yahspeh = Benjamin
SAPPHIRE: sapir = Issachar
EMERALD: Nopheck = Judah
CARBUNCLE: baraket = Levi
The above identifications of the Hebrew stones with the tribes and with
stones known to us are the most commonly accepted but other theories exist.
Anyway, according to the system we accepted, the tribes Dan, Naphtali, and
Gad were left out.
Does this have something to do with the exile? Dan and Naphtali were
themselves sea-going tribes and Phoenician in their culture. The
mastercraftsman who assisted King Solomon in building the Temple came from
Tyre and he was related to both Dan and Naptali.
Hiram, king of Tyre sent to Solomon,
"a cunning man, endued with understanding .. "
"The son of a woman of the daughters of DAN, and his father was a
man of Tyre,..."(2-Chronicles 2;12 13).
"And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre: He was a
widow's son of the Tribe of Nephtali and his father was a man of Tyre, a
worker in brass [i.e. Bronze]: (1-Kings 7; 13 14).
Whether the man, Hiram, was named Hiram or just sent by Hiram or
whether his father had been a citizen of Tyre from Nephtali and his mother
from Dan or his mother from Dan and/or Nephtali and his father from Tyre
does not really matter at present. The writer of Scripture knew his texts
and what he intended. The important thing is that Israelites from Dan and
Nephtali were interconnected with TYRE and with crafts for which Tyre had a
Israelite-Tyrian Co-Operation in the past:
IN THE BOOK OF KINGS (1-Kings 9;26 28) it relates how under King Solomon a
fleet was fitted out to sail from the Red Sea around Africa to Ophir
(either in Peru of South America or an area of Southern Africa) and to
return via Tarshish on the Atlantic Ocean. Phoenician sailors, "shipmen
that had knowledge of the sea", lent by Hiram king of Tyre were to
accompany the Israelite subjects of Solomon.
"And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion geber, which is
beside Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom.
"And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had
knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
"And they came to Ophir and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents,
and brought it to king Solomon." (1-Kings 9;26 28).
"For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram:
every three years once came the ships of Tarshish..(2-Chronicles 9;21).
King Solomon had embarked on maritime enterprises in partnership
with the presumably more experienced sea faring Phoenicians. Almost a
hundred years after the demise of Solomon his descendant King Jehoshaphat
(ca.867-851) of Judah (1-Kings 22;48-49, 2-Chronicles 20;35-37) and King
Ahaziah of ten-tribed northern Israel attempted to renew the sea connection
and "made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold". This was done through
partnership of Judah in the south with the northern kingdom of Israel. The
ships were all wrecked, apparently while still at port at Ezion Geber. King
Ahaziah the son of Ahab of Israel offered to send his servants with the
servants of the king of Judah and to renew the attempt but the king of Judah declined.
[Ezekiel 28:14] THOU ART THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT
COVERETH; AND I HAVE SET THEE SO: THOU WAST UPON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF GOD;
THOU HAST WALKED UP AND DOWN IN THE MIDST OF THE STONES OF FIRE.
[Ezekiel 28:15] THOU WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS FROM THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE.
[Ezekiel 28:16] BY THE MULTITUDE OF THY MERCHANDISE
THEY HAVE FILLED THE MIDST OF THEE WITH VIOLENCE, AND THOU HAST SINNED: THEREFORE
I WILL CAST THEE AS PROFANE OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD: AND I WILL DESTROY
THEE, O COVERING CHERUB, FROM THE MIDST OF THE STONES OF FIRE.
The Prophet is speaking about the King of Tyre and the verses have been
[Isaiah 14:12] HOW ART THOU FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, O
LUCIFER, SON OF THE MORNING! HOW ART THOU CUT DOWN TO THE GROUND, WHICH DIDST
WEAKEN THE NATIONS!
understood as also alluding to a mystical being, a kind of angel who was
expelled. This person was identified by Greek Jews with Lucifer and with
the Satan. Later the Christians took this identification up.
Cf. Isaiah and our Commentary there:
"LUCIFER, SON OF THE MORNING" in Hebrew "Hilel ben Shachar". Here Babylon
is epitomized by a prince of Tyre who like Babylon ascribed to himself divinity.
Christian tradition identified "Lucifer" with an angel who rebelled against
God and became the Satan or devil. A whole doctrine has developed around
this concept. The tradition has Jewish folk-lore roots derived from
Apocryphal Literature and obscure sources. The concept of fallen angels
does exist in legend. There is such a thing as a "Satan" and there are
forces of evil. "Satan" in Hebrew means adversary. We all have internal and
external adversaries to doing what we should. We should strive to overcome,
cast down, or re-channel all negative forces.
On the simple level the Prophet is referring to a real political entity
that once existed. On the other hand the imagery used does lend itself to
<<AND I WILL DESTROY THEE, O COVERING CHERUB, FROM THE MIDST OF THE STONES
OF FIRE>>: Was this man himself? Was the real "satan" a force inside of us?
[Ezekiel 28:17] THINE HEART WAS LIFTED UP BECAUSE
OF THY BEAUTY, THOU HAST CORRUPTED THY WISDOM BY REASON OF THY BRIGHTNESS:
I WILL CAST THEE TO THE GROUND, I WILL LAY THEE BEFORE KINGS, THAT THEY MAY
<<THY BEAUTY>>: God made us in His image. The problem is
that we tend to attribute what little we become to our own credit instead
of to He to whom the credit belongs.
[Ezekiel 28:18] THOU HAST DEFILED THY SANCTUARIES
BY THE MULTITUDE OF THINE INIQUITIES, BY THE INIQUITY OF THY TRAFFICK; THEREFORE
WILL I BRING FORTH A FIRE FROM THE MIDST OF THEE, IT SHALL DEVOUR THEE, AND
I WILL BRING THEE TO ASHES UPON THE EARTH IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THEM THAT BEHOLD
[Ezekiel 28:19] ALL THEY THAT KNOW THEE AMONG THE PEOPLE SHALL BE ASTONISHED
AT THEE: THOU SHALT BE A TERROR, AND NEVER SHALT THOU BE ANY MORE.
[Ezekiel 28:20] AGAIN THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 28:21] SON OF MAN, SET THY FACE AGAINST ZIDON, AND PROPHESY AGAINST IT,
<<ZIDON>>: i.e. Sidon.
[Ezekiel 28:22] AND SAY, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD;
BEHOLD, I AM AGAINST THEE, O ZIDON; AND I WILL BE GLORIFIED IN THE MIDST
OF THEE: AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD, WHEN I SHALL HAVE EXECUTED
JUDGMENTS IN HER, AND SHALL BE SANCTIFIED IN HER.
[Ezekiel 28:23] FOR I WILL SEND INTO HER PESTILENCE, AND BLOOD INTO
HER STREETS; AND THE WOUNDED SHALL BE JUDGED IN THE MIDST OF HER BY THE SWORD
UPON HER ON EVERY SIDE; AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.
[Ezekiel 28:24] AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE A PRICKING BRIER UNTO THE
HOUSE OF ISRAEL, NOR ANY GRIEVING THORN OF ALL THAT ARE ROUND ABOUT THEM,
THAT DESPISED THEM; AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD GOD.
We know that Philistine and Phoenician ships (from Tyre and Sidon?)
transported many Israelites to Spain and settled them there. We also know
that for a short period Phoenicians ruled over Tarshish and southern Spain
in general. There was a Port of Manasseh in the Tarshish area (near
Gibraltar), metal produced in the region was called "Samarian" metal, the
major fortress was built with a design known almost exclusively from
Samaria, Israelites place-names appeared, they were known as "Iberi" or
Hebrews, etc. From Southern Spain the Hebrews later moved to the northwest
of Spain and from there to Gaul, Britain, and Ireland. It may be that when
Nebuchnezzar of Babylon attacked Tyre and Sidon the captured Israelites in
Spain were enabled to assert their independence?
[Ezekiel 28:25] THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; WHEN I SHALL
HAVE GATHERED THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL FROM THE PEOPLE AMONG WHOM THEY ARE SCATTERED,
AND SHALL BE SANCTIFIED IN THEM IN THE SIGHT OF THE HEATHEN, THEN SHALL THEY
THEIR LAND THAT I HAVE GIVEN TO MY SERVANT JACOB.
This is referring to the End Times and a return to the Land of Israel. Even
so, Scripture can deliver several pertinent messages at one and the same
time. It may be that the Prophet was saying that now the captured
Israelites will be freed and they will move away from areas under foreign
domination to place that they will be able to call their own that God has
given them, e.g. to the British Isles?
[Ezekiel 28:26] AND THEY SHALL DWELL SAFELY THEREIN,
AND SHALL BUILD HOUSES, AND PLANT VINEYARDS; YEA, THEY SHALL DWELL WITH CONFIDENCE,
WHEN I HAVE EXECUTED JUDGMENTS UPON ALL THOSE THAT DESPISE THEM ROUND ABOUT
THEM; AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD.