This prophecy is dated in the eleventh year, which was the year that Jerusalem was taken, and in the first day of the month, but it is not said what month, some think the month in which Jerusalem was taken, which was the fourth month, others the month after; or perhaps it was the first month, and so it was the first day of the year. Observe here,
I. The pleasure with which the Tyrians looked upon the ruins of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was a great way off, in Babylon, but God told him what Tyrus said against Jerusalem (Ezek. 26:2): “Aha! she is broken, broken to pieces, that was the gates of the people, to whom there was a great resort and where there was a general rendezvous of all nations, some upon one account and some upon another, and I shall get by it; all the wealth, power, and interest, which Jerusalem had, it is hoped, shall be turned to Tyre, and so now that she is laid waste I shall be replenished.” We do not find that the Tyrians had such a hatred and enmity to Jerusalem and the sanctuary as the Ammonites and Edomites had, or were so spiteful and mischievous to the Jews. They were men of business, and of large acquaintance and free conversation, and therefore were not so bigoted, and of such a persecuting spirit, as the narrow souls that lived retired and knew not the world. All their care was to get estates, and enlarge their trade, and they looked upon Jerusalem not as an enemy, but as a rival. Hiram, king of Tyre, was a good friend to David and Solomon, and we do not read of any quarrels the Jews had with the Tyrians; but Tyre promised herself that the fall of Jerusalem would be an advantage to her in respect of trade a commerce, that now she shall have Jerusalem’s customers, and the great men from all parts that used to come to Jerusalem for the accomplishing of themselves, and to spend their estates there, will now come to Tyre and spend them there; and whereas many, since the Chaldean army became so formidable in those parts, had retired into Jerusalem, and brought their estates thither for safety, as the Rechabites did, now they will come to Tyre, which, being in a manner surrounded with the sea, will be thought a place of greater strength than Jerusalem, and thus the prosperity of Tyre will rise out of the ruins of Jerusalem. Note, To be secretly pleased with the death or decay of others, when we are likely to get by it, with their fall when we may thrive upon it, is a sin that does most easily beset us, but is not thought to be such a bad thing, and so provoking to God, as really it is. We are apt to say, when those who stand in our light, in our way, are removed, when they break of fall into disgrace, “We shall be replenished now that they are laid waste.” But this comes from a selfish covetous principle, and a desire to be placed alone in the midst of the earth, as if we grudged that any should live by us. This comes from a want of that love to our neighbour as to ourselves which the law of God so expressly requires, and from that inordinate love of the world as our happiness which the love of God so expressly forbids. And it is just with God to blast the designs and projects of those who thus contrive to raise themselves upon the ruins of others; and we see they are often disappointed.
II. The displeasure of God against them for it. The providence of God had done well for Tyrus. Tyrus was a pleasant and wealthy city, and might have continued so if she had, as she ought to have done, sympathized with Jerusalem in her calamities and sent her an address of condolence; but when, instead of that, she showed herself pleased with her neighbour’s fall, and perhaps sent an address of congratulation to the conquerors, then God says, Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus! Ezek. 26:3. And let her not expect to prosper long if God be against her.
1. God will bring formidable enemies upon her: Many nations shall come against thee, an army made up of many nations, or one nation that shall be as strong as many. Those that have God against them may expect all the creatures against them; for what peace can those have with whom God is at war? They shall come pouring in as the waves of the sea, one upon the neck of another, with an irresistible force. The person is named that shall bring this army upon them—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, that had many kings tributaries to him and dependents on him, besides those that were his captives, Dan. 2:37, 38. He is that head of gold. He shall come with a vast army, horses and chariots, etc., all land-forces. We do not find that he had any naval force, or any thing wherewith he might attack it by sea, which made the attempt the more difficult, as we find Ezek. 29:18; where it is called a great service which he served against Tyrus. He shall besiege it in form (Ezek. 26:8), make a fort, and cast a mount, and (Ezek. 26:9) shall set engines of war against the walls. His troops shall be so numerous as to raise a dust that shall cover the city, Ezek. 26:10. They shall make a noise that shall even shake the walls; and they shall shout at every attack, as soldiers do when they enter a city that is broken up; the horses shall prance with so much fury and violence that they shall even tread down the streets though so ever well paved.
2. They shall do terrible execution. (1.) The enemy shall make themselves masters of all their fortifications, shall destroy the walls and break down the towers, Ezek. 26:4. For what walls are so strongly built as to be a fence against the judgments of God? Her strong garrisons shall go down to the ground, Ezek. 26:11. And the walls shall be broken down, Ezek. 26:12. The city held out a long siege, but it was taken at last. (2.) A great deal of blood shall be shed: Her daughters who are in the field, the cities upon the continent, which were subject to Tyre as the mother-city, the inhabitants of them shall be slain by the sword, Ezek. 26:6. The invaders begin with those that come first in their way. And (Ezek. 26:11) he shall slay thy people with the sword; not only the soldiers that are found in arms, but the burghers, shall be put to the sword, the king of Babylon being highly incensed against them for holding out so long. (3.) The wealth of the city shall all become a spoil to the conqueror (Ezek. 26:12): They shall make a prey of the merchandise. It was in hope of the plunder that the city was set upon with so much vigour. See the vanity of riches, that they are kept for the owners to their hurt; they entice and recompense thieves, and not only cease to benefit those who took pains for them and were duly entitled to them, but are made to serve their enemies, who are thereby put into a capacity of doing them so much the more mischief. (4.) The city itself shall be laid in ruins. All the pleasant houses shall be destroyed (Ezek. 26:12), such as were pleasantly situated, beautified, and furnished, shall become a heap of rubbish. Let none please themselves too much in their pleasant houses, for they know not how soon they may see the desolation of them. Tyre shall be utterly ruined; the enemy shall not only pull down the houses, but shall carry away the stones and the timber, and shall lay them in the midst of the water, not to be recovered, or ever made use of again. Nay (Ezek. 26:4), I will scrape her dust from her; not only shall the loose dust be blown away, but the very ground it stands upon shall be torn up by the enraged enemy, carried off, and laid in the midst of the water, Ezek. 26:12. The foundation is in the dust; that dust shall be all taken away, and then the city must fall of course. When Jerusalem was destroyed it was ploughed like a field, Mic. 3:12. But the destruction of Tyre is carried further than that; the very soil of it shall be scraped away, and it shall be made like the top of a rock (Ezek. 26:4, 14), pure rock that has no earth to cover it; it shall only be a place for the spreading of nets (Ezek. 26:5, 14); it shall serve fishermen to dry their nets upon and mend them. (5.) There shall be a full period to all its mirth and joy (Ezek. 26:13): I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease. Tyre had been a joyous city (Isa. 23:7); with her songs she had courted customers to deal with her in a way of trade. But now farewell all her profitable commerce and pleasant conversation; Tyre is no more a place either of business or of sport. Lastly, It shall be built no more (Ezek. 26:14), not built any more as it had been, with such state and magnificence, nor built any more in the same place, within the sea, nor built any where for a long time; the present inhabitants shall be destroyed or dispersed, so that this Tyre shall be no more. For God has spoken it (Ezek. 26:5, 14); and when what he has said is accomplished they shall know thereby that he is the Lord, and not a man that he should lie nor the son of man that he should repent.