Ezekiel 27

A Lament for Tyre

The word of the Lord came to me: “You, son of man, sing a lament for Tyre.
Heb “lift up over Tyre a lament.”
Say to Tyre, who sits at the entrance
Heb “entrances.” The plural noun may reflect the fact that Tyre had two main harbors.
of the sea,
Rome, another economic power, is described in a similar way in Rev 17:1.
merchant to the peoples on many coasts, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says:

“‘O Tyre, you have said, “I am perfectly beautiful.”
The city of Tyre is described in the following account as a merchant ship.
Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
your builders have perfected your beauty.
They crafted
Heb “built.”
all your planks out of fir trees from Senir;
Perhaps the hull or deck. The term is dual, so perhaps it refers to a double-decked ship.

they took a cedar from Lebanon to make your mast.
They made your oars from oaks of Bashan;
they made your deck
Or “hull.”
with cypresses
The Hebrew reads “Your deck they made ivory, daughter of Assyria.” The syntactically difficult “ivory” is understood here as dittography and omitted, though some construe this to refer to ivory inlays. “Daughter of Assyria” is understood here as improper word division and the vowels repointed as “cypresses.”
from the Kittean isles.
Heb “from the coastlands (or islands) of Kittim,” generally understood to be a reference to the island of Cyprus, where the Phoenicians had a trading colony on the southeast coast. Many modern English versions have “Cyprus” (CEV, TEV), “the coastlands of Cyprus” (NASB), “the coasts of Cyprus” (NIV, NRSV), or “the southern coasts of Cyprus” (NLT).
The Kittean isles is probably a reference to southeast Cyprus where the Phoenicians had a colony.

Fine linen from Egypt, woven with patterns, was used for your sail
to serve as your banner;
blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah
This is probably a reference to Cyprus.
was used for your deck’s awning.
The leaders
The MT reads “the residents of”; the LXX reads “your rulers who dwell in.” With no apparent reason for the LXX to add “the rulers” many suppose something has dropped out of the Hebrew text. While more than one may be possible, Allen’s proposal, positing a word meaning “elders,” is the most likely to explain the omission in the MT from a graphic standpoint and also provides a parallel to the beginning of v. 9. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:81.a parallel to v. 9.
of Sidon and Arvad
Sidon and Arvad, like Tyre, were Phoenician coastal cities.
were your rowers;
your skilled
Or “wise.”
men, O Tyre, were your captains.
The elders of Gebal
Another Phoenician coastal city located between Sidon and Arvad.
and her skilled men were within you, mending cracks;
Heb “strengthening damages.” Here “to strengthen” means to repair. The word for “damages” occurs several times in 1 Kgs 12 about some type of damage to the temple, which may have referred to or included cracks. Since the context describes Tyre in its glory, we do not expect this reference to damages to be of significant scale, even if there are repairmen. This may refer to using pitch to seal the seams of the ship, which had to be done periodically and could be considered routine maintenance rather than repair of damage.

all the ships of the sea and their mariners were within you to trade for your merchandise.
The reference to “all the ships of the sea…within you” suggests that the metaphor is changing; previously Tyre had been described as a magnificent ship, but now the description shifts back to an actual city. The “ships of the sea” were within Tyre’s harbor. Verse 11 refers to “walls” and “towers” of the city.

10  Men of Persia, Lud, and Put were in your army, men of war.
They hung shield and helmet on you; they gave you your splendor.
11  The Arvadites
Heb “sons of Arvad.”
joined your army on your walls all around,
and the Gammadites
The identity of the Gammadites is uncertain.
were in your towers.
They hung their quivers
See note on “quivers” in Jer 51:11 on the meaning of Hebrew שֶׁלֶט (shelet) and also M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:553.
on your walls all around;
they perfected your beauty.
12  “‘Tarshish
Tarshish refers to a distant seaport sometimes believed to be located in southern Spain (others identified it as Carthage in North Africa). In any event it represents here a distant, rich, and exotic port which was a trading partner of Tyre.
was your trade partner because of your abundant wealth; they exchanged silver, iron, tin, and lead for your products.
13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your clients; they exchanged slaves and bronze items for your merchandise. 14 Beth Togarmah exchanged horses, chargers,
The way in which these horses may have been distinguished from other horses is unknown. Cf. ASV “war-horses” (NASB, NIV, NRSV, CEV all similar); NLT “chariot horses.”
and mules for your products.
15 The Dedanites
Heb “sons of Dedan.”
were your clients. Many coastlands were your customers; they paid
Heb “they returned as your gift.”
you with ivory tusks and ebony.
16 Edom
Many Hebrew mss, Aquila’s Greek translation, and the Syriac version read “Edom.” The LXX reads “man,” a translation which assumes the same consonants as Edom. This reading is supported from the context as the text deals with Damascus, the capital of Syria (Aram), later (in v. 18).
was your trade partner because of the abundance of your goods; they exchanged turquoise, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and rubies for your products.
17 Judah and the land of Israel were your clients; they traded wheat from Minnith,
The location is mentioned in Judg 11:33.
millet, honey, olive oil, and balm for your merchandise.
18 Damascus was your trade partner because of the abundance of your goods and of all your wealth: wine from Helbon, white wool from Zahar, 19 and casks of wine
The MT leaves v. 18 as an incomplete sentence and begins v. 19 with “and Dan and Javan (Ionia) from Uzal.” The LXX mentions “wine.” The translation follows an emendation assuming some confusions of vav and yod. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:82.
from Izal
According to L. C. Allen (Ezekiel [WBC], 2:82), Izal was located between Haran and the Tigris and was famous for its wine.
they exchanged for your products. Wrought iron, cassia, and sweet cane were among your merchandise.
20 Dedan was your client in saddlecloths for riding. 21 Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your trade partners; for lambs, rams, and goats they traded with you. 22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah engaged in trade with you; they traded the best kinds of spices along with precious stones and gold for your products. 23 Haran, Kanneh, Eden, merchants from Sheba, Asshur, and Kilmad were your clients. 24 They traded with you choice garments, purple clothes and embroidered work, and multicolored carpets, bound and reinforced with cords; these were among your merchandise. 25 The ships of Tarshish
Or perhaps “Large merchant ships.” The expression “ships of Tarshish” may describe a class of vessel, that is, large oceangoing merchant ships.
were the transports for your merchandise.

“‘So you were filled and weighed down in the heart of the seas.
26  Your rowers have brought you into surging waters.
The east wind has wrecked you in the heart of the seas.
27  Your wealth, products, and merchandise, your sailors and captains,
your ship’s carpenters,
Heb “your repairers of damage.” See v. 9.
your merchants,
and all your fighting men within you,
along with all your crew who are in you,
will fall into the heart of the seas on the day of your downfall.
28  At the sound of your captains’ cry the waves will surge;
Compare this phrase to Isa 57:20 and Amos 8:8. See M. Greenberg, Ezekiel (AB), 2:561.

29  They will descend from their ships – all who handle the oar,
the sailors and all the sea captains – they will stand on the land.
30  They will lament loudly
Heb “make heard over you with their voice.”
over you and cry bitterly.
They will throw dust on their heads and roll in the ashes;
Note a similar expression to “roll in the ashes” in Mic 1:10.

31  they will tear out their hair because of you and put on sackcloth,
and they will weep bitterly over you with intense mourning.
Heb “and they will weep concerning you with bitterness of soul, (with) bitter mourning.”

32  As they wail they will lament over you, chanting:
“Who was like Tyre, like a tower
As it stands, the meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear. The translation follows the suggestion of M. Dahood, “Accadian-Ugaritic dmt in Ezekiel 27:32, ” Bib 45 (1964): 83-84. Several other explanations and emendations have been offered. See L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 2:83, and D. I. Block, Ezekiel (NICOT), 2:85–86, for a list of options.
in the midst of the sea?”
33  When your products went out from the seas,
you satisfied many peoples;
with the abundance of your wealth and merchandise
you enriched the kings of the earth.
34  Now you are wrecked by the seas, in the depths of the waters;
your merchandise and all your company have sunk
Heb “fallen.”
along with you.
Heb “in the midst of you.”

35  All the inhabitants of the coastlands are shocked at you,
and their kings are horribly afraid – their faces are troubled.
36  The traders among the peoples hiss at you;
you have become a horror, and will be no more.’”
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