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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 23

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-18

The Doom of Tyre

Tyre was a great mercantile centre of the ancient world, and at the time of the Hebrew monarchy chief state of Phœnicia, the parent of many colonies, and mistress of the Mediterranean. It is uncertain what siege of Tyre is here referred to; but see on Isaiah 23:13.

1-5. The news of the fall of Tyre is spread.

6-9. Tyre must take refuge in her distant colonies, for her doom is purposed by Jehovah.

10-14. But even her colonies will afford no refuge, for the power of Phœnicia will be altogether broken. The fate of Chaldea serves as a warning of coming desolation.

15-18. After seventy years Tyre shall recover her commercial prosperity, but her gains shall be consecrated to Jehovah’s service.

1. Homeward-bound ships are greeted at Chittim (Cyprus) with the news that Tyre has fallen. Ships of Tarshish] Tarshish is probably Tartessus, in Spain; the expression denotes deep-sea ships.

2. Isle] ’coastland,’ i.e. of Phœnicia.

3. Sihor] i.e ’black,’ a name for the Nile (Jeremiah 2:18). River] RV ’Nile.’ Tyre reaped large revenues from Egypt by carrying her corn. Is.. is] RV ’was.. was.’

4. Strength] stronghold, i.e Tyre. Saying, etc.] The once busy quays are deserted, and the prophet pictures the city as a bereaved mother mourning her children.

5. RV ’When the report cometh to Egypt they shall be sorely pained.’

6. Tarshish] Tartessus, in Spain. The Tyrians are bidden to seek refuge in their western colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean. Of these Phoenician colonies Carthage was the most famous.

7. Her own, etc.] RV ’whose feet carried her.’

8. Taken this counsel] RV ’purposed this.’ Crowning city] alluding to the many dependent kings in her colonies.

10. A river] RV ’the Nile.’ There.. strength] ’There is no girdle about thee any more.’ The Tyrian colonies, released from all restraint, throw off allegiance.

11. Against .. city] RV ’concerning Canaan,’ i.e. Phœnicia.

12. Oppressed] or ’defiled.’ Tyre was no longer a virgin citadel. Pass over to Chittim] Flight to Cyprus would not secure safety from Assyria.

13. This people, etc.] According to AV rendering, this v. describes the consolidation of the Chaldeans into a nation by the Assyrians. There is, however, no other record of this, and it is better to read, ’This people is no more; the Assyrian hath appointed it for the beasts of the wilderness’ (i.e. made it desolate): ’they set up their towers’ (siegetowers), ’they overthrew the palaces thereof; he made it a ruin’ (RV). The fate of the Chaldeans at the hand of the Assyrians is quoted as a warning for Tyre. Babylon, the Chaldean capital, was taken by the Assyrians in 710 and 703 b.c. (see on Isaiah 21:1-10). The present. prophecy accordingly should be dated between’ one or other of those years and Sennacherib’s invasion of W. Asia (701).

14. Strength] RV ’stronghold.’

15. Seventy] perhaps a symbolic number for a long period. According to, etc.] i.e. without revolution or change.

16. The v. is figurative of Tyre seeking to renew her commerce.

17. Figurative of her restored traffic.

18. The old occupation will be renewed, but purged of its worldliness.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 23". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/isaiah-23.html. 1909.
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