My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ezekiel 27

A lament for Tyre

Tyre, you were beautiful. You ships were made from the best wood and the best sails. You had amazingly talented and happy foreigners as workers and soldiers. All the nations traded with you.

Your ships are sturdy, but will be shipwrecked. The seamen will cry out and mourn. You were so great, but are now shattered. People are now disgusted by you.

Key verse:
36. The merchants among the nations hiss at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.

My thoughts:
The previous chapter, which was written before this chapter, prophesies the result in verse 36. This proves the supernatural prediction of events in the Bible.

The passage reminds me of Herschelle Gibbs hitting six 6s in a row today.


Anonymous Deane said...

The previous chapter, which was written before this chapter, prophesies the result in verse 36. This proves the supernatural prediction of events in the Bible.

Now you're just being provocative. You big tease.

But here's something interesting. These oracles against the foreign nations are almost all dated to 587-585 BC by Ezekiel (see 26.1; 29.1; 30.20; 31.1; 32.1; 32.17, with the reference being to the year after the exile and deportation of King Jehoiachin).

The prediction against Tyre is from 588 BC (26.1).

But Ezekiel revises his prophecy against Tyre in a short prophecy in 29.17-20. This revised prophecy is dated to 571 BC. Here, Ezekiel admits that although Nebuchadnezzar tried very hard against Tyre, he didn't manage to get any plunder from it. His siege, prophesised as succeeding in chapters 26-27, is now admitted to have failed, and it is prophesised that they will plunder Egypt instead.

What happened? Historical sources tell us that the siege against Tyre lasted 13 years. This means that Ezekiel's revised prophecy against Tyre occured once his original prophecy had already failed!

Some comments from the commentaries:

"In the oracles against Tyre, the fall and devastation of Tyre and, quite explicitly in 26.7, her surrender to the great king from the north were expressed. The end of the siege of Tyre appeared quite differently. Whatever the details of the end may have been, Tyre was in any case not destroyed and plundered."
- Walter Zimmerli, Ezekiel

"The date of this oracle [29:17-21] is 26 April 571, Of the dated oracles in Ezekiel this is the latest. What this text attempts to do is to restore the prophet's credibility after the prophecies that he uttered against Tyre (see Ezek. 26:1 - 28:19) did not come true... The biblical tradition had to deal with the failure of the prophetic text."
- Bruce Vawter & Leslie J Hoppe, Ezekiel – A New Heart

"Nebuchadnezzar's campaign against Tyre, after having lasted thirteen years, had come to an end two or three years previously, without having had the result expected by the prophet in his announcement of judgement against Tyre: Tyre was not destroyed or even plundered."
- Walther Eichrodt, Ezekiel

"This oracle [29:17-21], the latest dated oracle in the book, is set in April of 571BC, shortly after the end of Nebuchadnezzar's unsuccessful siege of Tyre. The prophet or his disciples were apparently worried that the earlier prophecies against Tyre had not been fulfilled. To explain this situation, God tells Ezekiel that Egypt is to be given to Nebuchadnezzar as compensation for the effort he expended trying to capture Tyre... As later events developed, Ezekiel's substitute prophecy against Egypt was not fulfilled either. Nebuchadnezzar apparently did campaign in Egypt and may have even exacted tribute from the pharaoh, but the country was not destroyed in the way that the prophet predicted. Josephus, quoting Philostratus ... and Phoenician sources report that Nebuchadnezzar vainly besieged Tyre for thirteen years..."
- Robert R Wilson, “Ezekiel”

9:34 am

Blogger Pete W said...

But Tyre was eventually plundered and destroyed. It's not like there's still a city called Tyre now.

3:42 pm

Anonymous Deane said...

But Tyre was eventually plundered and destroyed.

Every city from antiquity was at some stage "plundered and destroyed".

However, contrary to the details of Ezekiel's prophecy about Tyre, it wasn't done by Nebuchadnezzar, who tried and failed. It was done by Alexander several centuries later, not Nebs, and Ezekiel was still wrong.

Maybe Ezekiel should have been stoned to death?

It's not like there's still a city called Tyre now..

Tyre (now a peninsula, not an island) is in fact rebuilt today on the same site.

8:52 am

Blogger Pete W said...

Oh Deane. Sometimes I feel you deliberately misunderstand me.

1:43 pm

Anonymous Deane said...


And why aren't you at Hebrew? The class is a bit dreary this year. It is in need of some Petisms.

9:39 am

Blogger Pete W said...

I can only make every second week. I was there last week and Petisms abounded. It's just that YOU weren't there last week.

10:08 am

Anonymous Deane said...

Oh, that's alright then. I look forward to some more Petrine wisdom next week.

Last week I was sick in bed, so I couldn't make it in.

I was thinking, a couple of weeks ago, I might name my (entirely hypothetical) first son "Malachi Matthew".

10:27 am

Blogger Pete W said...

To bridge the testamental gap?

I've having five sons. They will be called Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.

11:49 am


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