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28 The word of the Eternal came to me with a message about the prince of Tyre.

Tyre’s troubles start not long after Judah is destroyed in 586 b.c. Nebuchadnezzar marches there and begins a siege that lasts for almost 13 years. The part of the city on the mainland is captured by Nebuchadnezzar, but the princes of Tyre continue to rule from their island palace for another two centuries. In 332 b.c. Alexander the Great will use the rubble of the mainland city to construct a bridge to the island. Soon the island of Tyre will be in ruins, as it will remain forever.

Eternal One: Son of man, go to the prince of Tyre, and give him this message. This is what I, Eternal Lord, have to say:

    Your heart is swollen with pride—
        a pride that says, “I am a god.
        I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.”
    But I assure you, prince, you are nothing more
        than a mortal man—a man of mortal destiny.
    Even though you have the self-confidence of a god,
        you are made entirely of flesh and blood.
    But obviously you must be wiser than Daniel, that ancient judge in Ugarit.
        Clearly, you understand every mystery.
    You used your wisdom and discernment to amass a great fortune,
        to fill your treasuries with gold and silver.
    Your knack for trade has built your wealth,
        but your success and riches have made your heart swell with pride.

Because of Tyre’s location off the coast, she receives daily supplies and survives a long war; therefore, her ruler, Ethbaal III, has every human reason to be confident. Such confidence and wickedness is bred into him: Ethbaal’s ancestor, Ethbaal I, was a priest of their goddess Astarte and seized the throne for himself. He was a powerful prince, making political connections and spreading the worship of his goddess all over the region. Ethbaal I’s daughter, Jezebel, was famous for entrenching pagan worship in Israel, so Tyre is indirectly the root of Israel’s wickedness.

Here is what the Eternal Lord has to say:

Eternal One: Because you imagine yourself as wise as a god,
        I am going to recruit outsiders—merciless nations—to take you down.
    They will draw their swords and cut you down to size,
        attacking the beautiful things your wisdom procured and destroying your splendor.
    They will force you down to the pit,
        and you will die the death
        of those struck down in the heart of the sea.
    At that moment, will you protest to your executioners, “But I’m a god!”?
        To those who strike you down you are no god.
        To them, you are nothing more than a mortal man.
10     You will die the death of all who are uncircumcised,
        at the hand of outsiders.

Like the Israelites, the people of Tyre practice circumcision.

So said the Eternal Lord.

11 The word of the Eternal continued giving me His message.

Eternal One: 12 Son of man, sing a lament for the prince of Tyre. Tell him this is what I, the Eternal Lord, have to say:

    You were a paradigm of perfection, human life at its best.
        You had everything a leader needs: immense wisdom and perfect beauty.
13     You lived in Eden, God’s garden.
        You were clothed in magnificent splendor, covered in jewels:
    Sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper,
        lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald.
    All the mountings were made of gold,[a]
        prepared for you on the day you were created.
14     I anointed you the guardian[b] of the garden and stationed you at your post to protect it.
        You were on the divine mountain, the holy mount of God.
        There you walked among the fiery stones.
15     You were entirely pure from the day you were created,
        until wickedness crept in and was found in you!
16     Too much buying and selling—a greedy obsession!
        You became motivated to violence and did wicked things.
    Polluted and disgraced, I drove you off the mountain of God!
        I expelled you, O guardian protector, from the fiery stones.
17     Your heart swelled with pride because of your beauty and talents.
        Your hunger for fame, your thirst for glory corrupted your wisdom.
    This is why I drove you to the ground
        and made an example out of you before a company of kings.
18     You desecrated your sanctuaries
        by pursuing sin after sin and cheating in business.
    I set a flame inside of you, and it devoured you completely.
        I reduced you to a pile of ashes on the ground,
        a sight for all to see.

Ezekiel prophesies that the prince of Tyre will die violently without the benefit of a proper burial and find no peace in the afterlife.

19     All the nations who know you are appalled at what has happened to you.
        The end of your story is a horror:
        you are gone, never to return.

The prince of Tyre’s biography echoes the creation story. Adam, too, is described as a perfect and honored creation of God, given guardianship of the earth and full access to God. Expelled from paradise, wickedness becomes entrenched and spreads until God is forced to execute His judgment.

20 The word of the Eternal came to me with a message against Sidon.

Eternal One: 21-22 Son of man, face Sidon and preach to her. This is what I, the Eternal Lord, have to say:

    Look, Sidon! I am against you;
        My glory will be revealed when I prevail over you.
    They will know that I am the Eternal One
        when I have punished her
        and revealed My holy self to her.
23     I will rain down disease upon her—an epidemic of death!
        Her streets will become rivers of blood!
    The wounded will fall within her walls,
        and the battle will rage on every side!
    Then they will know that I am the Eternal One.

24 As for the people of Israel, they will no longer have to deal with the spiteful, thorny neighbors who mocked their destruction. Then they will know that I am the Eternal Lord.

25 Here is what the Eternal Lord has to say:

Eternal One: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will reveal My holiness through them with all the nations watching. They will live in their own land—the land I gave to My servant, Jacob. 26 They will live safely there, building houses and planting vineyards. They will live safely there when I punish all of their neighbors who mocked them and treated them shamefully. Then they will know that I am the Eternal their God.


  1. 28:13 Meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  2. 28:14 Hebrew, cherub

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