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A Prophecy concerning Tyre and Sidon

23 A prophecy for Tyre and Sidon:

    Wail, you cargo ships of Tarshish![a]
    For Tyre,[b] your port city, has fallen without a house or a harbor!
    Word has come to them from the land of Cyprus.
Be silent, you inhabitants of the coast
    and you merchants of Sidon,[c] once thronged by seafarers.
On the great waters your revenue
    was the grain from the Nile basin.[d]
    The harvest of the Nile was your revenue.
    You were merchants who traded with the nations.
Sidon, be ashamed,
    for the sea, the stronghold of the sea, declares,
    “I have never gone into labor to give birth to children,
    nor have I raised up sons or daughters.”[e]
When the Egyptians hear it, they will be stunned
    over the destruction of Tyre.
Cross over to Tarshish.
    Wail, you inhabitants of the coast.
Is this your once boisterous city, founded so long ago?
    Is this the city that once sent settlers over the sea?
Who has planned this for imperial Tyre, who once wore her crown?
    Your merchants were nobles,
    and your traders were honored by the world.
Yahweh, the Commander of Angel Armies, has planned it!
    His plan is to eliminate[f] the pride of your presumed splendor
    and to humiliate the honored of the world.
10 Daughter Tarshish, cross over[g] your land
    as one crosses the Nile,
    for there is no more harbor marketplace.[h]
11 Yahweh has stretched out his hand over the sea of humanity
    and has shaken the kingdoms of this world.
    He has given his command to destroy Phoenicia’s[i] fortresses.
12 He said, “Fair Sidon, the oppressed one,
    your celebrating is over.
    Rise and cross over to Cyprus;
    even there you will find no rest.”
13 Behold the land of the Babylonians.
    They are a people who have lost their identity.
    The Assyrians have made it a home for wild animals.
    They erected siege towers against it,
    demolished her palaces,
    and made it a heap of ruins.
14 Wail, you merchant ships of Tarshish,
    for your fortress is destroyed.

15 In that day, Tyre will remain forgotten for seventy years, equal to the life span of a king. After seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song about the prostitute:

16 Take a harp and go about the city,
    you prostitute long forgotten.
    Make your sweet melody and sing many songs
    so that you will be remembered again.

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord Yahweh will restore Tyre, but she will return to her trade. She will prostitute herself again with every kingdom of the world. 18 But her merchandise and earnings will be set apart as holy to the Lord Yahweh. They will neither be stored nor hoarded, but they will supply abundant[j] food and splendid garments for those who live in the presence of the Lord Yahweh![k]


  1. Isaiah 23:1 Tarshish refers most likely to the city of Tartessus, Spain, on the Guadalquivir River. Archaeological evidence suggests it may have been near present-day Sevilla.
  2. Isaiah 23:1 Tyre means “rock, compressed, pressed together.” Tyre, a Phoenician port on the Mediterranean, was once a symbol of power on the sea and a world capital of commerce. It was known as wealthy, influential, and evil. Now it is a small village known as Sur. Isaiah used it as a metaphor for commerce and trafficking.
  3. Isaiah 23:2 Sidon, a coastal town in Lebanon, means “one who lies in wait, to hunt, to trap.”
  4. Isaiah 23:3 Or “Sihor,” a tributary of the Nile, which means “to wipe out, uproot.”
  5. Isaiah 23:4 In this cryptic verse, it appears that Tyre is given the name “sea, the stronghold of the sea.” With poetic impact, the sea is personified and speaks of being childless. There are churches today that are “childless” (without evangelism outreach) and don’t “raise up sons and daughters” (training and equipping them for ministry).
  6. Isaiah 23:9 Or “pollute, defile.”
  7. Isaiah 23:10 Or “farm your land.”
  8. Isaiah 23:10 Or “waistband.” The Hebrew of this verse is uncertain.
  9. Isaiah 23:11 Or “He has given his command to Canaan to destroy its fortresses.”
  10. Isaiah 23:18 See John 10:10; 3 John 2.
  11. Isaiah 23:18 23.18 Or “for those on whom Yahweh’s face shines.” Or “for those who live before Yahweh’s face.”