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the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 27

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

The dirge of Tyre written in poetical form. Tyre is compared to a fair vessel, to whose equipment the various nations of the world contribute, launching forth in majesty, to be wrecked and to perish. The nations enumerated point out Tyre as the center of commerce between the eastern and western world. This position, occupied for a short time by Jerusalem, was long maintained by Tyre, until the erection of Alexandria supplanted her in this traffic. Compare the dirge of Babylon Isaiah 14:3-23; in each case the city named represents the world-power antagonistic to God.

Verse 3

Entry - literally, “entries.” Ancient Tyre had two ports, that called the Sidonian to the north, the Egyptian to the south; the former exists to the present day. The term “entry of the sea” is naturally enough applied to a harbor as a place from which ships enter and return from the sea. The city was known in the earliest times as “Tyre the port.”

Verse 5

Fir-trees (or, cypress) of Senir - The name by which the Amorites knew Mount Hermon.

Verse 6

The company ... ivory - Rather, “thy benches (or, deck) made they of ivory with boxwood” (or, larch), i. e., boxwood inlaid with ivory.

The isles - (or, coasts) of Chittim is a phrase used constantly for Greece and the Grecian islands. It may probably be extended to other islands in the Mediterranean sea Genesis 10:5, and there ivory may have been brought from the coasts of North Africa.

Verse 7

Or, “Fine linen Genesis 41:42 with embroidery from Egypt was” thy sail that it might be to thee for a banner. Sails from Egypt were worked with various figures upon them which served as a device. Their boats had no separate pennons.

Blue and purple - Tyrian purple was famous. The Tyrians no doubt imported from the neighboring coasts the mollusks from which they dyed the fine linen of Egypt.

Isles of Elishah - See Genesis 10:4. Elishah is considered equivalent to the Greek AEolis on the western coast of Asia Minor. This and the islands adjacent would very naturally have commerce with the Tyrians. In early days the supply of the murex from the coast of Phoenicia had been insufficient for the Tyrian manufactures. The isles of Greece abounded in the mollusks.

That which covered thee - As an awning.

Verse 8

Arvad - See Genesis 10:18. An island off the coast of Sidon, now called Ruad.

Verse 9

Gebal - i. e., Byblos (modern Gebeil) in Phoenicia, the chief seat of the worship of Adonis, and situated on an eminence over-looking the river Adonis, north of Beirut, not far from the Mediterranean sea. The “ancients” is a term for the council that presided over maritime cities.

Verses 10-11

The prophet here leaves the allegory of the ship to describe the armies of the Tyrians composed of mercenary soldiers.

Ezekiel 27:10

Persia - The name of this people does not occur in the more ancient books of the Old Testament; but in the books of the exile and after the exile it is frequent. This exactly corresponds with the record of history. It was just at the time that Ezekiel wrote that the rude and warlike people of Persia were rising into notice, soon about to seize, under Cyrus, the empire of the Asiatic world.

Lud - See Genesis 10:13. The union here of “Lud with Phut,” an undoubtedly African tribe (compare Ezekiel 30:5; Isaiah 66:19) seems to indicate Lud to be of Hamitic race, not the Semitic race. Both names occur repeatedly on Egyptian inscriptions, especially as supplying mercenary soldiers.

Phut - Libyans (see Genesis 10:6).

Ezekiel 27:11

Gammadims - Rendered by Septuagint “watchmen;” by others, “brave warriors;” but more probably the name of some nation of which we have no record. The custom of hanging shields upon the walls of a town by way of ornament seems to have been of purely Phoenician origin, and thence introduced by Solomon into Jerusalem 1 Kings 10:16.

Verses 12-24

The thread broken at Ezekiel 27:8 is taken up, and the various nations are enumerated which traded with Tyre.

Ezekiel 27:12

Tarshish - Tartessus in Spain (marginal references). Spain was rich in the metals named.

Merchant - Especially applied to those who traveled about with caravans to carry on trade (see Genesis 23:16).

Fairs - Or, “wares” Ezekiel 27:33. The word occurs only in this chapter. The foreign merchants gave their wares in return for the products delivered to them by Tyre.

Ezekiel 27:13

Jaran - Greece (Ion), including the Grecian colonies in Sicily and Italy.

Tubal, and Meshech - The Tibareni and Moschi, whose lands were on the Caucasian highlands between the Euxine and Caspian Seas (see the marginal reference), were a fine race of men; from thence slaves have been continually sought. Greece too in ancient times was famous for furnishing slaves.

Ezekiel 27:14

Togarmah - Armenia.

Ezekiel 27:15

Dedan - There were two tribes (Shemite and Hamite), each bearing the name of “Dedan” (see Genesis 10:7). The Hamite (Ethiopian) Dedan may well have supplied for a payment (rather than “for a present”) horns, ivory, and ebony; the Shemite (Arabians), “clothes for chariots” (see Ezekiel 27:20).

Ezekiel 27:16

Syria - “Aram” here included Mesopotamia; and Babylon was famous for its precious stones. Many read “Edom.”

Emeralds - Rather, carbuncle.

Fine linen - The word (בוץ bûts) was used only in the times of the captivity. It is a Phoenician word, which in Greek assumed the form “byssus,” properly “cotton,” as distinguished from “linen;” the Phoenicians spinning their threads from cotton wool, the Egyptians from flax.

Ezekiel 27:17

Minnith - A city of the Ammonites, whose country was famous for wheat 2 Chronicles 27:5. The wheat was carried through the land of Israel to Tyre.

Pannag - This word occurs nowhere else, and has been very variously explained. Some take it to be “sweetwares.” Others see in it the name of a place, fertile like Minnith, perhaps identical with Pingi on the road from Baalbec to Damascus.

Ezekiel 27:18

Helbon - Chalybon, near Damascus, whose wine was a favorite luxury with Persian kings.

White wool - A product of flocks that grazed in the waste lands of Syria and Arabia.

Ezekiel 27:19

Dan also - Hebrew Vedan, a place in Arabia, not elsewhere mentioned.

Going to and fro - Better as in the margin, a proper name, “Meuzal,” or rather, “from Uzal” which was the ancient name of Senaa the capital of Yemen in Arabia. Greek merchants would carry on commerce between Uzal and Tyre.

Bright iron - literally, “wrought iron;” iron worked into plates smooth and polished. Yemen was famous for the manufacture of sword-blades.

Cassia - The inner bark of an aromatic plant.

Calamus - A fragrant reed-like plant (see Exodus 30:23-24). Both are special products of India and Arabia.

Ezekiel 27:20

Dedan - See Ezekiel 27:15. It is remarkable that “Dedan and Sheba” occur both among the descendants of Ham in Genesis 10:7, and among the descendants of Abraham and Keturah in Genesis 25:3. This seems to indicate that there were distinct nomad tribes bearing the same names of Hamite and of Semitic origin; or it may be that whereas some of the nomad Arabs were Hamite, others Semitic, these were of mixed origin, and so traced up their lineage alike to tiara and Shem. Here we have, at any rate, a number of Arabian nomad tribes mentioned together, and these tribes and their caravans were in those days the regular merchant travelers between east and west. By her ships, Tyre spread over Europe the goods which by these caravans she obtained from India and China.

Precious clothes - Or “clothes of covering,” cloths of tapestry.

Ezekiel 27:21

Kedar - The representative of the pastoral tribes in the northwest of Arabia.

Ezekiel 27:22

Sheba - Sabaea, the richest country of Arabia, corresponded nearly with what is now called Yemen or Arabia Felix.

Raamah - Closely connected with “Sheba,” whose seat is supposed to have been in the neighborhood of the Persian Gulf.

Ezekiel 27:23

Haran - Charrae in Mesopotamia.

Canneh - “Calneh” Genesis 10:10, probably Ctesiphon on the Tigris.

Eden - On the Euphrates Isaiah 37:12. “the merchants of Sheba” Here the towns or tribes that traded with Sheba. Sheba maintained a considerable trade with Mesopotamia.

Chilmad - Possibly Kalwada near Bagdad.

Ezekiel 27:24

All sorts of things - See the margin, “made of cedar” Rather, made fast.

Verse 25

Did sing of thee - Or, were thy bulwarks, i. e., bulwarks of thy traffic. Others render it: “were thy caravans,” thy merchandise.

Verse 26

The east wind - Compare the marginal reference

Verse 27

All who have been enumerated as sharing in, and constituting, the glory of Tyre are now recounted as partakers in her wreck.

Verse 28

The suburbs - Or, “precincts.” Tyre rose from the midst of the sea; her “precincts” were the surrounding waters and the adjoining coasts.

Verse 29

As Tyre is figured by a large vessel, so are the subject-states by smaller boats which accompany the great ship. These terrified by the storm approach the land. Tyre is hopelessly swallowed up, crew and all, in the midst of the sea. The small crafts escape to shore.

Verse 31

Utterly bald - See Ezekiel 7:18 note.

Verse 35

The news of Tyre’s ruin shall reach to distant isles, to merchant cities who trade with her. These in their selfish love of gain shall rejoice over her who was once paramount over them, hissing out against her curses and scorn.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ezekiel 27". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/ezekiel-27.html. 1870.
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