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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Isaiah 23

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. XXIII.

The miserable overthrow of Tyre. Her restoration after seventy years, and her iniquities.

Before Christ 715.


Verse 1

Isaiah 23:1. The burden of Tyre There can be no wonder that the prophet, foretelling the judgments of the different nations concerned with the Jews, should dwell upon that of Tyre. In this chapter, which contains the 8th and last discourse of the second book of his prophesies, Isaiah paints, in a most lively manner, the calamity which should happen to Tyre, in a discourse consisting of various apostrophes, directed either to the Tyrians themselves or to the inhabitants of Gades in Farther Spain, or to the islands of the Mediterranean sea; and also to the Sidonians and Egyptians, who, together with the insular inhabitants of Greece and Italy, should both admire and bewail the overthrow of Tyre. In the prosecution hereof he compares this calamity of the Tyrians to their abundance, riches, luxury, and most flourishing state, which drew upon them at that time the eyes of all nations, thus greatly exaggerating their calamity. Soon after he sets forth the causes of this strange event; the Supreme One, the God of Israel, against whom their Hercules was unable to defend the Tyrians; and the instrumental causes, the Chaldeans, who, though at that time they had no empire in the world, were yet to he called forth by the Supreme God to execute his judgments. See Isaiah 23:13. But as God, according to his exquisite goodness to mankind, usually tempers his justice and severity with clemency and with grace, and had accordingly determined to call in his good time the Gentiles to the participation of all the blessings of the Gospel, the prophet teaches that this first calamity of the Tyrians should be concluded in 70 years, after which time their nation should flourish in its former manner; and, what seemed beyond all expectation, the Tyrians should receive the kingdom of God, should consecrate their wealth to him, and become converts to the true religion. This is the sum of the present illustrious prophesy; the scene whereof is to be fixed at that time when the Chaldeans, under Nebuchadnezzar, besieged Tyre, which is presented as so besieged in vision to the eyes of the prophet, in all its pomp and glory. The prophesy, besides the inscription, contains two parts; first, the judicial sentence of God upon Tyre, Isaiah 23:1-14 and secondly, the alleviation of that sentence, Isaiah 23:15-18. The sentence is again two-fold; the first part sets forth the judgment of Tyre, Isaiah 23:1-7 the other the causes of that judgment. The former part declares the judgment or calamity of Tyre figuratively, by apostrophes; the first of which is directed to the Tyrian mariners, Isaiah 23:1.; the second to those insolent people with whom the Tyrians traded, or to the Tyrian merchants and traders, Isaiah 23:2. 3.; the third to Sidon, Isaiah 23:4-5.; the fourth to Tyre itself, Isaiah 23:6-7. The latter part of the first section, which sets forth the causes of the judgment, declares the principal cause to be the God of Israel (as the punisher of sin, the origin of all evil). Jehovah, therefore, had determined this calamity upon Tyre; and the prophet denounces it, with a new apostrophe, to the Tyrians, Isaiah 23:8-12. The instrumental causes he declares to be the Chaldeans; with a last apostrophe, to the Tyrian sailors, Isaiah 23:13-14. The latter section, which contains the alleviation of the divine judgment, plainly manifests that this calamity of Tyre should be concluded within 70 years, after which it should flourish again; Isaiah 23:15-17 and reveals the gracious design of God to call the Tyrians to the communion of his visible church, Isaiah 23:18. It has been questioned, which of the Tyres was the subject of the prophesies of Isaiah and Ezekiel. The truest and best answer is, that they pertain to both; some expressions being applicable only to the former, and others only to the latter. But it should be observed, that both Tyres are comprehended under the same name, and both spoken of as one city; part being built on the continent, and part on an island adjoining. Tarshish was Tartessus in Spain; Chittim signifies the isles and countries bordering upon the Mediterranean. The plain meaning of this apostrophe, directed to the ships, that is to say, to the mariners of Tarshish, whose gain proceeded principally from Tyre, is, "Lament and deplore the mournful fall of this city, which you shall hear of while you are trafficking in the most distant ports of the Mediterranean sea." Instead of, so that there is no house, no entering-in, Vitringa reads, both within and without. See Bishop Newton, Vitringa, and, for more concerning Tyre, the Univ. Hist. vol. 2: p 322.


Verse 2-3

Isaiah 23:2-3. Be still, &c.— The second apostrophe is addressed to the islands of the Mediterranean sea, which are here collectively called the isle, and which are summoned to silence and wonder. That this is the true interpretation appears from Ezekiel 26:16-17; Ezekiel 26:19. The order of the apostrophes is observable. The first is directed to the sailors of Tarshish, the inhabitants of the Farthest Spain, the most remote of all; the second to the islands of the Mediterranean sea, which were nearer to Tyre; the third to the Sidonians, who were allied to the Tyrians; and the fourth to Tyre itself. That the Tyrians are called; Isaiah 23:6, the inhabitants of the isle, can be no objection to this interpretation, as they had this attribute in common with other insular people: (The merchants of Sidon, comprehend those of Tyre also) accordingly the 2nd verse may be rendered, Be dumb, ye inhabitants of the isle, thou whom the Sidonian; or, Tyrian merchants, passing over the sea, replenished. The cause is subjoined in the next verse; the meaning whereof is, that the merchandises of Egypt and Arabia, which were esteemed the most excellent, as also of other nations, were carried to Tyre and Sidon, and by their care and industry conveyed to the inhabitants of the islands in the Mediterranean sea. By Sihor, which is its proper name, and the river, is meant the Nile. See Jeremiah 2:18. The 3rd verse might be rendered, And whose produce, namely, Sidon's, was by great waters, the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river of Egypt; and who became the mart of nations. The phrase is metaphorical, and is taken from the produce of well-cultivated lands. See Ezekiel 27:12; Ezekiel 27:36. Bishop Newton and Vitringa.


Verse 4

Isaiah 23:4. Be thou ashamed, O Zidon The calamity of Tyre would more nearly affect Sidon as its mother and nurse, who had always cherished and supported her as a daughter, and placed her greatest confidence in this fortress, which she now saw taken, with shame and concern; wherefore, either Tyre herself is here introduced as deploring her desolation, that she might excite a sense of shame in Sidon; or Sidon is introduced bitterly lamenting her desolation, and setting forth the reason of her shame, since in the destruction of Tyre she would be thought desolate and barren. For though she had brought up more sons and daughters, that is, though the Sidonians had planted more colonies in various parts of the world; yet as Tyre was her first-born daughter, the most celebrated, opulent, and as it were a part of herself, even another Sidon, this being destroyed, she would not be thought to have brought forth any children, and deplores her widowhood with bitter tears. The greatness of this grief which the Sidonians as well as other nations should feel upon the fall of Tyre, is defended in the fifth verse, since it should be not less than if men should hear of the total fall of Egypt, the most flourishing of all countries: as a report concerning Egypt would pain the mind; so shall men be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. This is Vitringa's sense of the passage; while others think that the address is made from Tyre to Sidon; as much as to say, "Be ashamed, O Sidon; thou who art a maritime city, populous, well fortified, and whose strength is in the sea, as well as that of Tyre; and who, on this account, promisest to thyself security and prosperity; now behold Tyre, sprung from thee, and equal to thee, the strength of the sea; who is so reduced as to be equally solitary with her who never had any children; all her inhabitants being cut off and destroyed by famine or by war."


Verse 6-7

Isaiah 23:6-7. Pass ye over to Tarshish The prophet now turns his discourse to Tyre itself; and commands or exhorts such of the inhabitants, not of insular Tyre only, but of the whole maritime coast subject to the dominion of Tyre, as should remain from this overthrow, to go to Tartessus or Gades, that there they might deplore the fate of their city, and mutually lament its destruction with those who would feel their grief, as deriving their original from the same city. Whenever the prophets denounce the downfal of a city or kingdom, they usually describe, by way of contrast, its present flourishing condition, to shew, in a stronger point of view, how Providence shifteth the scene, and ordereth all events. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel observe the same method with regard to Tyre. Isaiah speaks of it here as a place of great antiquity: Is this your triumphant city, whose antiquity is of the earliest date? and it is mentioned as a strong place as early as in the days of Joshua: Joshua 19:29. Strabo mentions it as, next to Sidon, the greatest and most ancient city of the Phoenicians. Quintus Curtius says, it is a city remarkable to posterity, both for the antiquity of its origin, and for its frequent change of fortune. The ironical expression of the prophet, Is this your triumphant city, &c.? implies that the Tyrians were apt to boast of their antiquity; and from Herodotus's account it appears that they did so. Sanchoniathon, the Phoenician historian, who is reckoned to have lived about the time of Gideon, has mentioned in his Fragments that part of Tyre which stood upon the continent. Vitringa renders the last clause of the seventh verse, Whose feet have carried her afar off to sojourn; which he thinks to be strongly descriptive, not only of the Tyrian navigations into distant countries, but also of the variety of colonies which they were so remarkable for planting.


Verses 8-10

Isaiah 23:8-10. Who hath taken this counsel, &c.— The prophet here informs us of the great executor of this judgment, namely, God himself. To do this the more elegantly, he introduces a chorus of men, astonished at this unexpected fate of so glorious a city, and inquiring into the author and causes of it; to which the prophet replies, not only declaring the efficient, but also the final cause of this great and strange event: subjoining afterwards, Isaiah 23:10 an apostrophe to the Tyrians themselves, expressive of the greatness of their calamity. The reader will observe a fine gradation both in the question and the answer. This counsel is taken not only against Tyre, a fortified city, founded on a rock, and defended by the sea, but against Tyre the crowning city, the city which as it were wore a crown among the rest; the royal Tyre, as an ancient writer calls it; excelling in power and glory: whose merchants were princes. Tyre was the most celebrated place in the world for its trade and navigation; the seat of commerce, and the centre of riches; and therefore it is called the mart of nations; Isaiah 23:6. Ezekiel, commenting upon these words, (chap. 27.) recounts the various nations whose commodities were brought to Tyre, and bought and sold by the Tyrians. It was in this wealthy and flourishing condition when the prophets foretold its destruction; particularly Isaiah, even 125 years at least before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The prophet in his reply shews that the counsel was taken by one well equal to the task; the Lord of Hosts: and the reasons which moved him to this counsel, he tells us, were, the pride of this people, and their consequent vices: so Ezekiel censures the pride of the king of Tyre, in arrogating to himself divine honours. He then adds an apostrophe to Tyre; Pass, O Tyre, through thy land; that is to say, as well through Tyre itself as the country subject to it, heretofore excellently fortified, and every way properly defended: and now, behold the same nation, without a girdle; i.e. every where loosed, dissolved, and broken; and pass it like a river, plain, and level with the ground, without fortifications, or any mode of defence: for, as a river flowing gently along, as a plain superficies, in which there is nothing to stop your course, if you pass over it in a boat; so your land, plundered and laid desolate by the enemy, its fortifications levelled with the ground, will supply you with a plain and even superficies, that you may pass over it like a river, without any opposition; for there is no girdle, no strength or fortress, remaining. The prophet here elegantly calls Tyre the daughter of Tarshish or Tartessus, because, though heretofore the people thereof were indebted to Tyre, yet upon the destruction of this city, Tartessus, Gades, or Carthage, should be looked upon as the metropolis of the Tyrian nation. Tartessus should henceforth be considered as another Tyre. All the honourable of the earth, at the end of the 9th verse, would more properly be rendered, All the honourable of the land. See Vitringa; who reads the 10th verse, Pass over thy land as over a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no binding any more.


Verse 11-12

Isaiah 23:11-12. He stretched out his hand We have here the latter member of the period concerning the grand projector and executor of the destruction of Tyre; where, in the 11th verse, the prophet tells us that the God of Israel hath stretched out his hand, hath exerted his power and strength to execute his judgments against Phoenicia, the sea or maritime coast of Syria; the effect of which was the destruction of many kingdoms, and among the rest that of Tyre in particular, by the hand of one to whom he has given commandment for that purpose. See chap. Isaiah 5:25. He therefore addresses the Tyrians, Isaiah 23:12 who, upon this threatening calamity, should be desirous to consult for their own safety, and avoid the oppressions and distresses of their country; exhorting them to speed their flight into Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, to which they frequently sailed, though he by no means assures them of rest even there. Justin expressly informs us, that the Sidonians being besieged, and expelled their city, by the king of Ascalon, went in ships and built Tyre: thus, ancient as this city was, it was the daughter of Sidon; which verifies what the prophet observes, Isaiah 23:2 that the merchants of Sidon, who pass over the sea, replenished her. It is well known, that the Phoenicians were the best navigators of antiquity, and sent forth colonies into several parts of the world; and of all these the Tyrians were the most celebrated for their shipping and colonies; in which respect Tyre exceeded Sidon; sending forth colonies into Africa and Spain, and beyond the Pillars of Hercules. The Tyrians, therefore, having planted colonies at Tarshish, and on the coasts of Chittim, it was natural for them, when they were pressed with dangers and difficulties at home, to fly to their friends and countrymen for refuge and protection; and that they really did so we learn from St. Jerome, upon the authority of Assyrian histories, which are now lost. But though the Tyrians were to pass over to Tarshish, and to Chittim, yet even there they were to find no rest, no quiet settlement. After Nebuchadnezzar had succeeded in Tyre and Egypt, we may suppose he carried his arms farther westward; and if, as history informs us, he proceeded as far as to all those places whither the Tyrians had sent forth colonies, this people might well be said to have no rest, their conqueror pursuing them from one country to another. Besides and after this, the Carthaginians and other colonies of the Tyrians lived in a very unsettled state: their history is made up of little but wars and tumults, even before their three fatal wars with the Romans, in every one of which their affairs grew worse and worse. Sicily and Spain, Europe and Africa, the land and their own element, were theatres of their calamities, till not only the new, but the old Carthage likewise, was destroyed. Thus as the Carthaginians sprung from the Tyrians, and the Tyrians from the Sidonians, and Sidon was the first-born of Canaan; Genesis 10:15 the curse upon Canaan seems to have pursued them to the most distant parts of the earth. See Bishop Newton as above, and Vitringa.


Verse 13-14

Isaiah 23:13-14. Behold the land of the Chaldeans, &c — The prophet in these words sets forth the instrumental cause of the destruction of Tyre, which should subserve the God of Israel in the execution of this singular judgment; and, as this was a very striking and extraordinary matter, he introduces it with a Behold. At the delivery of this prophesy the Chaldeans were an inconsiderable people: This people was not, says the prophet, of any note or eminence, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness; they dwelt before in tents, and led a wandering life in the wilderness, till the Assyrians built Babylon for their reception; they set up the towers thereof, they raised the palaces thereof. Herodotus, Ctesias, and other ancient historians, agree that the kings of Assyria fortified and beautified Babylon; and he, that is, this people,—the Chaldeans and Babylonians, brought it to ruin; that is, Tyre, which is the subject of the whole prophesy. The Assyrians were at that time the great monarchs of the east; the Chaldeans were their subjects and slaves; and therefore it is the more extraordinary that the prophet should so many years before-hand foresee the successes and conquests of the Chaldeans. The verse may be rendered thus; Behold, the land of the Chaldeans. (This people was of no account: the Assyrian founded it for them that inhabit desarts; they set up in towers, they raised its palaces;) that land bringeth her [Tyre] to ruin. He subjoins an apostrophe, not, as before, to the Tyrian merchants and principal inhabitants, but to the mariners, who are called to howling for the fall of that city, whence alone they derived their strength and fortune. See Revelation 18:17 and Vitringa.


Verses 15-17

Isaiah 23:15-17. And it shall come to pass in that day The second part of this discourse contains the alleviation of the calamity decreed upon Tyre. In these verses the prophet informs us, first, that God would circumscribe within certain bounds his severity to Tyre, and within seventy years restore it to its former state; and then, secondly, in the 18th verse, foretels, that in process of time the Tyrians would be converted to the true religion. The former particular is related, first literally, and then figuratively. According to the days of one king or kingdom, means the Babylonian monarchy, which was to continue seventy years. Tyre is represented under the image of a harlot; and thence these figures are borrowed: the plain meaning of the verse is, that she should lie neglected of traders and merchants for seventy years, as long as the Babylonish empire lasted, and after that should recover her liberties and her trade, and draw in several of all nations to deal with her; and particularly the kings of the earth to buy her purples, which were worn chiefly by emperors and kings, and for which Tyre was famous above all places in the world. Seventy years was the time prefixed for the duration of the Babylonian empire. So long the nations were to groan under that tyrannical yoke: accordingly at the end of that period, Cyrus and the Persians subverted that empire, and restored the conquered nations to their liberties. These seventy years may likewise be computed in this manner: Tyre was taken by Nebuchadnezzar in the 32nd year of his reign, and in the year before Christ 573. Seventy years from that time, will bring it down to the year before Christ 503, and the 19th of Darius Hystaspis. At that period, as appears from history, the Ionians had rebelled against Darius, and the Phoenicians assisted him with their fleet; and consequently it is reasonable to conclude that they were now restored to their former privileges. In the succeeding reign we find that they, together with the Sidonians, furnished Xerxes with several ships for his expedition into Greece; and by the time of Alexander, the Tyrians were grown to such power and greatness, that they stopped the progress of that rapid conqueror longer than any part of the Persian empire besides. All this, however, is to be understood of the insular Tyre; for as the old city flourished most before the time of Nebuchadnezzar, so the new flourished most afterwards; and this is the Tyre which henceforth is so much celebrated in history. Bishop Newton and Vitringa.


Verse 18

Isaiah 23:18. And her merchandise, &c. The meaning of the prophet is extremely clear; namely, that the time would come after the restoration of Tyre, in which the Tyrians, out of reverence to the true God, would consecrate their wealth and gain to him, and would readily contribute that gain and wealth to the use and support of the teachers of true religion: in short, that the Tyrians would become converts to that religion. The reader will easily observe that the passage is metaphorical, and that consequently no reasonable objections can be urged against it. See Zechariah 9:1-8. Psalms 45:12; Psalms 72:10. The Tyrians were much addicted to the worship of Hercules, as he was called by the Greeks, or of Baal, as he is denominated in Scripture; but in process of time, by the means of some Jews and proselytes living and conversing with them, some of them also became proselytes to the Jewish religion; so that we find a great multitude of people from the sea-coasts of Tyre and Sidon came to hear our Saviour; and he, though peculiarly sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, yet came into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon; and the first-fruits of the Gospel there was a Tyrian woman, a woman of Canaan as she is called, a Syro-phoenician by nation, Luke 6:17. Matthew 15:21. Mark 7:24. When St. Paul, in his way to Jerusalem, came to Tyre, he found disciples there who were inspired by the Holy Ghost, and prophesied; and with them he tarried seven days, Acts 21:4. In the time of Dioclesian's persecution, the Tyrians were such sincere converts to Christianity, that they exhibited several glorious examples of confessors and martyrs; and when the storm of persecution was blown over, under their Bishop Paulinus, they built an oratory, or rather a temple, for the public worship of God, the most magnificent and sumptuous (to an extreme) in all Palestine and Phoenicia. To these particulars we will only add, that Tyre was erected into an archbishopric, and the first under the patriarchate of Jerusalem having fourteen bishops under its primacy; and in this state it continued several years. See Bishop Newton's Dissertations. Vitringa has shewn at large, that this prophesy concerning Tyre has a further and mystical reference to papal Rome, of which St. John speaks in the very words of this prophet; Thy merchants were the great men of the earth, Revelation 18:23. And he has been at great pains to shew how exactly the remarkable attributes of Tyre, in a mystical sense, belong to the corrupt Romish church. See Revelation 13 throughout.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Tyre was a city in Phoenicia, of great antiquity, and the grand mart of trade for all the commodities of the east and west. It stood on an island, about half a mile from the sea, strongly fortified by art and nature, and deemed impregnable: but when God hath a controversy with any people, their strength is weakness. We have here,

1. Her prosperity. She was a mart of nations, enriched by the traffic of all people, whose merchants resorted thither, peopled at first by a colony from Sidon or Zidon, a few leagues distant from Tyre, and therefore called her daughter, though soon eclipsing her mother city. Thither the products of Egypt were carried, and her revenue increased with the harvest, which the river Sihor, or Nile, by overflowing, produced. A city, full of wealth, and, as the sad effect of it, grown proud and haughty. A joyous city, where pleasure as well as business abounded; and siting as a queen on the seas, her seat of empire, seemed established for ever; her citizens, great as princes, and her merchants among the honourable of the earth.

2. Her fall by Nebuchadnezzar, after a siege of thirteen years. When the city could hold out no longer, the inhabitants stripped the place of every thing valuable, and sailed away, leaving little but empty houses, and a naked rock. The ships of Tarshish or Tartessus, and more generally the ships of the sea of all nations, are called upon to howl over her desolations; no house being left standing by the conqueror, nor is there any more entering into the port, her commerce being utterly ruined. From the land of Chittim it is revealed to them, the Tyrians are informed of the preparations made against them by the Babylonians; or there is no entering in from the land of Chittim, the merchants of Greece and Italy can no longer carry on their trade thither: it is revealed to them that Tyre is destroyed. In mournful silence the inhabitants would sit astonished at their overthrow, and Zidon her neighbour, and nearly connected with her, be ashamed, having placed such confidence in Tyre that it could not be taken; but the waves of the sea carry the tidings, and this proud city, late the strength of the sea, so fortified and strengthened by it, bemoans her desolations; no longer full of inhabitants, and sending out her colonies to distant parts, but now a widow, bereaved of her children. Not Egypt's fall, though so potent a kingdom, would spread a greater terror, or, as the words may be read, when the report cometh to the Egyptians, they will be in pain at the report of Tyre, trembling for themselves when this bulwark between them and the Chaldeans is fallen. Hasting now to forsake the place, the inhabitants are enjoined to embark for Tarshish, and her own feet shall carry her away; those that should be seized by the conqueror, would be led into captivity; or this may signify her ships, whose oars and mariners would serve her instead of feet to escape. Swift as a river, the merchants of Tarshish, who were at Tyre, or the people so called, are urged to hasten away; because the place is no longer defensible, and is ready to fall. Thus for a season her joy should be silenced. The oppressed virgin, the daughter of Zidon, that had never been conquered before, must pass over to the isles of Chittim, Greece, or Italy; or to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily, where colonies of the Tyrians were planted; and yet even there thou shalt have no rest, these countries being doomed to fall under the yoke of their enemies. Note; (1.) When God pursues, there is no flying from our misery. (2.) They who think themselves most secure, feel the heavier anguish in their falls.

3. If it be asked, who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the answer is, one that is fully able to execute his designs, the Lord of Hosts, who would abase their pride, and stain all human glory; that others, warned by their fall, might be admonished of the vanity of every temporal possession, and the folly of being proud, and trusting on that which can profit so little in the day of wrath. As he did of old, when Egypt was smitten under his mighty hand, so hath he now given commandment to the destroyer, and is pleased to use the Chaldean sword. Though this people was not of note and figure till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwelt in the wilderness, who drove out the original inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and translated thither the Chaldeans, who before dwelt scattered in the wilderness; they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces of Babylon, greatly augmenting and fortifying it; he brought it, or he shall bring it, to ruin; these Chaldeans shall be instruments to execute the divine judgments.

2nd, The desolations of Tyre are not designed to be perpetual.

1. Seventy years are appointed for the term of her captivity, as of the Jews, during the days of one king, or kingdom; for so long Nebuchadnezzar and his family reigned before Babylon was taken: and on the conquest Cyrus made, these, among other captive nations, were permitted to resettle in their own country.

2. On their return, Tyre is represented under the character of a harlot, returning from confinement, or recovering from sickness, when all her paramours had forsaken her; and resuming all her former arts to recover her trade, and to engage the return of her merchants, as a harlot, with the harp, by her voice and music seeks to draw in her lovers, and enrich herself by the wages of her fornication: and so far she would succeed, as to become again a general mart, and to increase her wealth, as in her former days of prosperity. Note; (1.) This world's wealth carries a harlot's smiles, and too often seduces the heart into spiritual fornication. (2.) Though our case be reduced never so low, we need nor despair: when God will turn our captivity, he can bring back our lost prosperity.

3. A better state than that of her worldly prosperity closes the prophesy. In the days of the Messiah her gains should be employed in the service of his kingdom, to support the preachers of his Gospel, and be consecrated to his glory; which was fulfilled, Acts 21:3 when we find Christianity planted there; and, according to the custom of the primitive church, no doubt, the inhabitants being rich contributed liberally to the necessities of the saints. Note; (1.) If God give abundance, it becomes then a blessing indeed, when we have, through his grace, a desire to employ it to his glory. (2.) The ministers of the sanctuary have a just claim to a liberal maintenance, and they who honour the maker they serve will be happy to support his ministers for his sake. (3.) They who devote themselves to God's work, must desire no great things in this world; if they have sufficient bread, and durable clothing, they want not niceties and elegance.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Isaiah 23:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/isaiah-23.html. 1801-1803.

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Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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