The Prophecy of Tyre, Ezek 26:1-21

In Ezek 26:1-21, Ezekiel gives the prophecy of Tyre.  Tyre was a seaport city on the Mediterranean coast in southern Lebanon.  It was 12 miles north of the border with modern Israel and 25 miles south of Sidon, modern day Saydā.

It was a major Phoenician seaport from 2000 BC.  It became a major trade center and developed trade relations with all of the Mediterranean world.

Tyre had close ties with Israel.  Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers and timber with masons and carpenters to build David a house, 1 Chr 14:1.  Huram king of Tyre, supplied Solomon with timber to build the house of the Lord, 2 Chr 2.

Tyre was subject to the Assyrians during the time that the Assyrian kings had taken the ten northern tribes of Israel captive.  It was under siege by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.  It was during this siege that the inhabitants moved onto an island about a half mile offshore.  There they fortified the island until Tyre stood as nearly impregnable to attack.  After the Babylonian siege, Tyre was ruled by kings of Persia.

The prophecy of Tyre’s destruction

v.2 Tyrus said, Aha, after Jerusalem was attacked by the Chaldeans. Tyre hoped to be replenished by taking possessions from them, when Jerusalem was laid waste.

v.3 Therefore the Lord gave this prophecy of Tyre and her destruction.  The Lord said he would cause many nations to come up against her, like a tsunami.  First, Nebuchadnezzar attacked.  Then other nations followed their attack in subsequent centuries.

v.4 Ezekiel prophesied that the nations would destroy the walls of Tyre, break down the towers, and make her like the top of a rock, which is smooth.

v.5 Tyre would become a place for spreading of nets and a spoil to the nations.

v.6 Her daughters in the field would be slain by the sword.  In Ruth, we see maidens working in the fields with the young men during harvest time, Ruth 2:8, 22-23.  These daughters would be slain in Tyre.

The prophecy of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege

v.7 The first part of Tyre’s destruction was brought on by the Babylonians.  God said specifically that he would bring Nebuchadnezzar against Tyre with horses, chariots, horsemen, companies, and much people.  He attacked with other nations helping him, as in 2 Ki 24:1-2.

v.8 They would slay Tyre’s daughters in the field, as in v.6.  And he would make a fort against her, cast a mount against her, and lift up bucklers against her.  This part of the prophecy indicates that Nebuchadnezzar would lay siege against the city, which he did for 13 years.

v.9 He would also set engines of war against her walls (like Uzziah made, 2 Chr 26:15), and the men would use axes to break down her towers.

v.10 There would be so many horses that the dust kicked up from their hooves would cover the city.  Tyre’s walls would be shaken by the numbers of horsemen and chariots.  God said that they “shall enter like men enter a city with a breach”.

v.11 Once inside the city, the hooves of the horses would tread down the streets.  The men would slay people by the sword.  And the strong garrisons would go to the ground. This all happened according to the prophecy of Tyre.

The prophecy of Alexander the Great’s siege

v.12 God said that the nations would make spoil of her riches, and a prey of her merchandise.  They would break down her walls, and destroy her pleasant houses.  They would lay her stones, dust and timber in midst of the waters.  Alexander the Great did this.  He laid siege against Tyre and took it after a seven months in 332 BC.  He completely destroyed the mainland city and used the rubble to build a causeway to the island which was 2600 feet long and 600-900 feet wide.  This causeway is still there.  So, he was able to destroy the city on the island, which Nebuchadnezzar didn’t do.  He further fulfilled the prophecy of Tyre. The towers he built to attack the walls of the city were 160 feet tall.

v.13 After Alexander’s attack, Tyre’s songs would cease, and harps would no longer be heard in her.

v.14 She would be like the top of rock, a place for spreading nets.  This is what fishermen do.  God said, “Thou shalt be built no more”.  Because the Lord had spoken it, this prophecy was fulfilled.  The ancient city of Tyre is no more.

The reaction in the isles

v.15 God asked, “Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall”? Yes, indeed.  The wounded would cry when slaughter was in midst of her.

v.16 The princes of the sea would come down from their thrones, and lay aside their garments.  They would clothe themselves with trembling, and sit on the ground astonished.

v.17 They would even sing a lamentation for her.

v.18 Because of her destruction, the isles would tremble.  The Isles in the sea would be troubled at her departure.

The Lord’s judgment against Tyre

v.19 The Lord said he would make Tyre a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited.  He said he would bring up the deep upon her, and great waters would cover her.  You can see ruins underneath the water in pictures of what remains today. 

v.20 God said he would bring Tyre down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time.  He said he would set her in the low parts of the earth.  We’ll see more of this type of prophecy in Ezek 32.  God said that she would not be inhabited.  The time of the fulfillment of this part of the prophecy will be right after the return of Jesus, when he sets glory in the land of the living.  See Matt 11:20-22, when Tyre will be judged, probably at the judgment of nations, Matt 25:31-46.

v.21 God said that he would make her a terror and that she would be no more.  He said that she would be sought for but never found again.

After the Persians ruled Tyre, it was under Egyptian, Hellenistic, and Roman rule.  Eventually, it came under Muslim rule and was eventually destroyed by Muslims in 1291 AD.

The remains of the Phoenician city of Tyre are buried underneath the present town and some of the island is just smoothed-off ruins.  Fishing remains a major source of income (a place for spreading nets), along the coast where Tyre was.  This the prophecy of Tyre was completely fulfilled. For more information on the history of this old city of Tyre see Tyre in Britannica.