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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Ezekiel 28

Verses 1-5

Introduction

The section of Ezekiel 26-27 speaks of the city of Tyre. In Ezekiel 28 it is about the leader of Tyre. To the eye, Tyre has a leader who leads the city, but behind that man is a spiritual, demonic power that inspires him. There is a close relationship between the leader and that spiritual power. The leader is the visible representative of this demonic power that is worshiped as a deity.

We also see the combination of a human leader with a demonic power behind him governing him with the king of Babylon. The demonic power behind the king of Babylon is Satan himself (Isaiah 14:12-Ezra :). Another example, which is still future, is the beast, the dictator of Europe in the book of Revelation, who is ruled by Satan (Revelation 13:1-1 Samuel :). Behind an earthly leader who has no regard for God, a demonic power rises.

The Pride of the Leader of Tyre

The word of the LORD comes to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:1). He is to speak the word of the LORD to the leader of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:2). God fathoms the heart of that man and sees that in it is the worst pride of Tyre. He is the personification of the city. His pride is that he says of himself that he is God and that as God he rules the world trade. He imagines himself in his island city as in a house of gods on a mountain of gods, untouchable by men and perfectly safe.

God reminds him that he is nothing more than a man and not God. Despite this, he is so prideful that he makes his heart like the heart of God. He takes the place of God in pride and thinks he can act autonomously, without depending on anyone. He is completely complacent. Complacency is the typical sin of the great ones of the earth that will have its supreme display in the man of sin, the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3-Ruth :).

It is noteworthy that God says of the leader of Tyre that he is an especially wise man, even wiser than Daniel (Ezekiel 28:3; Daniel 1:20; Daniel 5:11Daniel 5:12; Daniel 5:14). The leader of Tyre does not moderate himself to be wise; he is wise. God has endowed him with that special wisdom. Only he has not used that wisdom in the manner of Daniel. He has used his extraordinary abilities to his own honor and fame, without any thought of humility in the knowledge that God has given him that wisdom.

The leader of Tyre used the wisdom granted to him to pursue selfish ends (Ezekiel 28:4). He used his wisdom and insight to increase his riches, to acquire wealth and fill his treasuries with gold and silver. By acting smartly, his wealth was increased (Ezekiel 28:5). But with the increase of his wealth, his pride has also increased. His wealth has corrupted him through and through. In his dealings he has not only been clever, but also dishonest (Ezekiel 28:18). Those who act apart from God think only of themselves and will always operate with lies and deceit.

Verses 6-10

Judgment on the Leader of Tyre

Because the leader of Tyre has become so prideful that he says he is God, the judgment of the Lord GOD will come on him (Ezekiel 28:2; Ezekiel 28:6-Judges :; cf. Acts 12:21-Isaiah :). God will bring the Babylonians upon him who will treat him violently. Then his wisdom will know no way out and his splendor will be desecrated. Nothing will remain of his pretended divine status.

Humiliation will be to the depths of the pit, i.e. the grave, and to the death of the realm of the dead (Ezekiel 28:8). The place where he has felt and behaved himself as God – the heart of the seas (Ezekiel 28:2) – is the place where he will die. Then it is over and out with his playing for God. The LORD holds before him the question of whether, when he is face to face with his murderer, he will persist in claiming to be God (Ezekiel 28:9). What a worthless god he will prove to be when he is in the power of the one who defeated him. He will die a vile death because the Lord GOD has declared it (Ezekiel 28:10). No one will be able to change that.

Wanting to be like God caused the fall into sin (Genesis 3:5-Joshua :). The desire to be like God has been present in man since that moment. Those who live without God are constantly looking for ways to satisfy that desire. The whole world system, which is in the power of Satan, rests on the presumption to be equal to God. Man imagines himself to be God and thinks he has everything under control and can govern everything; and he looks for ways and means to do this better and better. The tragedy of man is that he constantly thinks he can ultimately control everything. God will judge that pride by humbling the proud and punishing them with death, hell. Hell will be full of people who have all imagined themselves to be God in one way or another.

Verses 11-19

Lamentation Over the King of Tyre

When the LORD has described the judgment on the leader of Tyre, He speaks again to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:11). He instructs him to take up a lamentation over the leader of Tyre, whom He now calls “the king” of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:12). He also gives him the words of this lamentation to speak on His behalf to the king of Tyre.

First the king is presented with all the privileges he has received (Ezekiel 28:12-Ezra :). Behind the description of this king in his perfection in wisdom and beauty looms the supernatural form of Satan. The king of Tyre can be identified with Satan. Therefore, reference can also be made to Eden, the garden of God, as a place where he has been present (Ezekiel 28:13). In doing so we will have to think not of paradise on earth (Genesis 2-3) – for there he came as the serpent (Genesis 3:1) – but of God’s court in heaven.

Almost all the precious stones mentioned here are also found in the first, second and fourth rows on the high priest’s breastpiece (Exodus 28:17-Proverbs :). The order there is different and the three stones mentioned in the third row on the breastpiece (Exodus 28:19) are missing here. This is not a comparison to the function of the high priest, but to the brilliance of the position represented by the precious stones.

This splendor makes a great impression on a Jew and especially on a priest – and Ezekiel is a priest. Added to this is the fact that his whole person is covered with precious stones, that is, radiates glory, and not, as in the case of the high priest, only part of his person. The “tambourines and flutes” [as “settings and sockets” can also be translated] symbolize festive joy (Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 10:5).

Satan is originally a cherub, anointed, i.e. appointed by God with a special care for His holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). God gave him his perfect beauty, as well as his function and his musical abilities. God created him perfectly, for God does not create anything that is imperfect. From the day this cherub was created, he is also blameless or perfect in his ways (Ezekiel 28:15). He does what God expects of him; he fulfills the purpose for which God created him. All is going well. “Until” the moment comes when God finds iniquity in him.

The privileged, protective cherub becomes prideful of his position (Ezekiel 28:16) and of all that God has given him. All his actions up to that point are actions to the glory of God. This changes when he begins to act independently of God and thus rebels against God. Then violence arises in him and he begins to sin. God can then no longer maintain him in His presence and removes him from His mountain. The cherub who has become Satan – Satan means opponent, attacker or accuser – is removed from the midst of the other cherubim, which are the “stones of fire”. This is the moment of which it is written: “For the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). From now on, he cannot do anything but sin.

The cause of Satan’s fall is his pride (1 Timothy 3:6), caused by his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17). As a result, his wisdom is also destroyed. True wisdom is the fear of God, or reverence for God, but that is not there with Satan from that moment on.

The judgment that God executes on Tyre leaves nothing of all the fame and prosperity of this mighty king. He is thrown to the earth. Other rulers, who at first admired him so much, now look down on him with contempt. Tyre has come to her prosperity in a dishonest way (Ezekiel 28:18). The sanctuaries she has owned attest to this. By sanctuaries she may mean her palaces, but also her idol temples.

Both places had as a feature “the multitude” of her iniquities which she practiced and which resulted from “the unrighteousness” of your trade. Tyre caused the fire of judgment herself. All the fuel for it she has gathered herself. God only has to light it. As a result, the city has become a heap of ashes before the eyes of all who look upon it.

All who know Tyre are appalled at the fall of this once powerful, prosperous, and impressive trading city (Ezekiel 28:19). From the fall of Tyre emanates a threat that causes horror. It is a warning to all other trading cities to realize that there is a God Who sees and judges everything. For Tyre, it is too late to repent. The city has ceased forever.

Verses 20-24

Judgment on Sidon

The word of the LORD comes to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:20). He is to set his face toward Sidon and then prophesy against it (Ezekiel 28:21). Sidon is about forty miles north of Tyre on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Lord GOD says to Sidon that He will glorify Himself in her midst (Ezekiel 28:22). He will do this by executing judgments on Sidon. Through this He will make Himself known to her as the LORD.

The judgments consist of the pestilence that He will send to the city and the sword that will make many victims, so that the blood fills the streets (Ezekiel 28:23). Once again the LORD points out that by this they will know that He is the LORD.

Sidon receives these judgments upon it because it has scorned and mocked Israel for the judgment God has brought upon His people (Ezekiel 28:24). The jeers and scorn have acted like prickly thorns and painful thistles. Other nations around Israel have also been guilty of this. God will silence all these nations, while there will be restoration for Israel. The following verses show that.

The judgment on Tyre and Sidon does not mean that there is no mercy for individuals in these cities. We see this in the Gospels. The Lord Jesus went near Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) and healed the daughter of a woman from that area (Matthew 15:22-Hosea :). Another example is that among the large crowd of people who came to Him because they had heard of Him were also people from Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:8).

In addition, the Lord notes that the cities where He has been and which have seen His powers but rejected Him will be judged more severely than Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 11:21-Song of Solomon :). In doing so, He also declares that the day of judgment has not yet fully arrived for the two cities, although they have already had much judgment visited upon them.

Verses 25-26

Promise of Restoration for Israel

As is so often the case in Scripture, we see that after the judgment of the nations, there will be blessing for Israel. While the surrounding nations are being ravaged, the LORD will gather the people of Israel from the nations among which He scattered them in His judgment (Ezekiel 28:25). Then they will sanctify Him; they will give Him the place in their midst that He has wanted for so long. The nations will see it. Israel will live in its own land. It is the land that the LORD gave His servant Jacob.

God’s people will then live safely and without worry, for their God protects them (Ezekiel 28:26). From the surrounding nations they will have nothing more to fear, for God judged those nations at the beginning of the realm of peace. Those nations will no longer attack them or even mock them. The judgments have caused them to bow down before God and acknowledge His authority, though by many that will be done only hypocritical. However, no one will be able to deny anymore that He, the LORD, is their God, that He is the God of Israel. To know Him is all that matters. To know Him is everything.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Ezekiel 28". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/ezekiel-28.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.