Bible Study: Ezekiel 28 – Judgment on Tyre’s King and Sidon

The book of Ezekiel is one of the major prophets in the Old Testament. It was authored by Ezekiel who was set as a watchman to the house of Israel.

Ezek 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

The twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel is about judgment on Tyre’s King and Sidon.

Pride of Tyre’s King

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Tyre Today

Ezek 28:1-5 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,’ Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches)”

As we see in chapter 19, where God is speaking about the kings of Israel, here too, God is speaking about the kings of Tyre.

Ezek 19:1 “Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel

From what we can see, the King of Tyre had lifted up his heart as a god and considers himself to sit among the gods.

1Kgs 5:7 So it was, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, for He has given David a wise son over this great people!

It is wrong to assume that the kings of Tyre were practicing a false religion. As we can see, Hiram (King of Tyre) who lived during the reign of King David and his son King Solomon, worshiped the one true God.

1 Kgs 16:31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.

Hiram I lived from 980 – 947 BC who worshiped the Lord our God but in a 100 years, Ithobaal I (father of Jezebel) who lived from (878-847 BC) worshiped Baal. (Refer: List of kings of Tyre)

Josephus records (Antiquities 8.5.3), following Menander the historian, mentions King Hiram I of Tyre built pagan temples. The Tyrians worshiped  god called Melqart which means “King of the City”. Melqart was often titled Ba‘l Ṣūr, “Lord of Tyre”, and considered to be the ancestor of the Tyrian royal family. Hence, it is possible a royal member was made a god and worshiped.

Judgment for Pride of Tyre’s King

Ezek 28:6-9 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas. Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you.

Tyre was invaded by the most terrible of nations:

  • 586–573 BC: Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II
  • 332 BC: Macedonians under Alexander the Great

As we discussed in the earlier two chapters, Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre.

Ezek 28:10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of aliens; For I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.

Why did God say Tyre will die the death of the uncircumcised? It seems to suggest that Tyre was practicing circumcision.

Gen 17:14,23 “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant. … So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him.

Circumcision was a covenant given to Abraham and his household including his servants, and Tyre seems to be practicing it, suggesting, Tyre was also a descendant of Abraham and under God’s covenant. However, the Bible does not mention how.

Tyre’s History

Ezek 28:11-12 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

The descriptions given to king of Tyre like seal of perfection or perfect in beauty or full of wisdom creates more questions than answers.

Lam 2:15 All who pass by clap their hands at you; They hiss and shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem: “Is this the city that is called ‘The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth’?”

Jerusalem was called perfection of beauty. It was called so because it was the joy of the world. For Tyre, God was using the same phrase, meaning, it was a joy of the world, mostly because of being a market city, where you get everything in ancient world.

Ezek 28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

The above verse does not mean the king of Tyre was in the garden of Eden, nor does it represent Satan.

Ezek 31:8-9 The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it; The fir trees were not like its boughs, And the chestnut trees were not like its branches; No tree in the garden of God was like it in beauty. I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches, So that all the trees of Eden envied it, That were in the garden of God.’

Tyre in the garden of Eden was used symbolically as we see in a couple of chapters later. It simply means, Tyre was planned by God just as the other trees in the garden of Eden were planted by God. When God planted Tyre, it wasn’t naked and bare like Jerusalem (Ezek 16:7) but had everything needed for a city, it’s workers and wealth, which was perfect in its beauty.

Ezek 28:14-15 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

As we saw in an earlier post,  seraphim and cherubim are symbols of might, strength, swiftness and knowledge which are not literal but metaphorical.

What is the mountain of God?

Zech 8:3 “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’

Exod 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Horeb is not the same as the Jerusalem. However, both these are referred as Mountain of God in Scripture because God’s presence was on those mountains.

Ezek 28:16-19 By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.” ’

Casting out as a profane thing out of the mountain of God can symbolically represent casting Tyre out of His presence to destroy it and it’s glory. Tyre corrupted its wisdom for the sake of her splendor.

Judgment of Sidon

Ezek 28:20-24 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her, “and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; And they shall know that I am the LORD, When I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her. For I will send pestilence upon her, And blood in her streets; The wounded shall be judged in her midst By the sword against her on every side; Then they shall know that I am the LORD.“And there shall no longer be a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel from among all who are around them, who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

God is punishing Sidon using the three below judgments because it was a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel.

  • Pestilence
  • Blood in streets
  • War on every side

The same is true even for today. God will judge any nation that is like a pricking thorn to Israel.

Nation of Israel

Ezek 28:25-26 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God.” 

In 1948, God gathered the house of Israel and the nation of Israel was formed. They will dwell in their own land, build houses, plant vineyards and dwell safely.

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Syrian Civil War

While Israel dwell safely, God will execute Judgments on all around those who despise them. Whether it was the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 or Syrian civil ware in 2011, these judgments destroyed them.