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The Fall of Tyre

23 The [mournful, inspired] oracle ([a]a burden to be carried) concerning [b]Tyre:

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
For Tyre is destroyed, without house, without harbor;
It is reported to them from the land of Cyprus (Kittim).

Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland,
You [c]merchants of Sidon;
[d]Your messengers crossed the sea

And they were on great waters.
The grain of the [e]Shihor, the harvest of the Nile River, was Tyre’s revenue;
And she was the market of nations.

Be ashamed, O Sidon [mother-city of Tyre, now like a widow bereaved of her children];
For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying,
“I have neither labored nor given birth [to children];
I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins.”

When the report reaches Egypt,
They will be in agony at the report about Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish [to seek safety as exiles];
Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland [of Tyre].

Is this your jubilant city,
Whose origin dates back to antiquity,
Whose feet used to carry her [far away] to colonize distant places?

Who has planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?

The Lord of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty,
To bring into contempt and humiliation all the honored of the earth.
Overflow your land like [the overflow of] the Nile, O Daughter of Tarshish;
There is no more restraint [on you to make you pay tribute to Tyre].
He has stretched out His hand over the sea,
He has shaken the kingdoms;
The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to destroy her strongholds and her fortresses [like Tyre and Sidon].

He has said, “You shall never again exult [in triumph], O crushed Virgin Daughter of Sidon.
Arise, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.”

13 Now look at the land of the Chaldeans (Babylonia)—this is the people which was not; the Assyrians allocated Tyre for desert creatures—they set up their [f]siege towers, they stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
For your stronghold [of Tyre] is destroyed.

15 Now in that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the prostitute’s song:

Take a harp, walk around the city,
O forgotten prostitute;
Play the strings skillfully, sing many songs,
That you may be remembered.

17 It will come to pass at the end of seventy years that the Lord will remember Tyre. Then she will return to her prostitute’s wages and will play the [role of a] prostitute [by trading] with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 But her commercial gain and her prostitute’s wages will be [g]dedicated to the Lord; it will not be treasured or stored up, but her commercial gain will become sufficient food and stately clothing for those who dwell (minister) in the presence of the Lord.


  1. Isaiah 23:1 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
  2. Isaiah 23:1 Ancient Tyre was a Phoenician trading center with two separate urban areas; the major trading center was located on a fortified island and the suburban center was located on the adjacent coast. They were connected by a causeway built by Alexander the Great during his siege of Tyre.
  3. Isaiah 23:2 So some versions; MT reads merchant.
  4. Isaiah 23:2 The DSS so read. MT reads Who crossed the sea, they replenished you.
  5. Isaiah 23:3 An Egyptian name meaning “the pond of Horus”; it is probably a branch of the Nile or an unspecified lake.
  6. Isaiah 23:13 Besieging a heavily fortified (walled) city was an ancient military tactic. The attackers would surround the city and cut off all supplies and communication to or from the inhabitants, then they would use siege towers to tear down the walls. The tower was a massive support structure for a heavy beam or log that was sharpened on one end and hung horizontally. It would be pushed against a wall and worked in such a way as to dislodge the stones that had been stacked to form the wall.
  7. Isaiah 23:18 Tyre was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 572 b.c. and lay desolate for seventy years. The new city built on the island was taken by Alexander the Great in 332 b.c. Eventually Christianity prevailed at Tyre. Jesus visited there (Matt 15:21) and so did Paul (Acts 21:3-6). In his commentary on Isaiah Eusebius says that when the church of God was founded in Tyre, much of its wealth was consecrated to God and presented for the support of ministers. This is also the testimony of Jerome, the Latin church father writing in the fourth century.

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