Isaiah 23 (The Message)

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1 Wail, ships of Tarshish, your strong seaports all in ruins! When the ships returned from Cyprus, they saw the destruction. 2 Hold your tongue, you who live on the seacoast, merchants of Sidon. Your people sailed the deep seas, buying and selling, 3 Making money on wheat from Shihor, grown along the Nile - multinational broker in grains! 4 Hang your head in shame, Sidon. The Sea speaks up, the powerhouse of the ocean says, "I've never had labor pains, never had a baby, never reared children to adulthood, Never gave life, never worked with life. It was all numbers, dead numbers, profit and loss. 5 When Egypt gets the report on Tyre, what wailing! what wringing of hands! Nothing Left Here to Be Proud Of 6 Visit Tarshish, you who live on the seacoast. Take a good, long look and wail - yes, cry buckets of tears! 7 Is this the city you remember as energetic and alive, bustling with activity, this historic old city, Expanding throughout the globe, buying and selling all over the world? 8 And who is behind the collapse of Tyre, the Tyre that controlled the world markets? Tyre's merchants were the business tycoons. Tyre's traders called all the shots. 9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies ordered the crash to show the sordid backside of pride and puncture the inflated reputations. 10 Sail for home, O ships of Tarshish. There are no docks left in this harbor. 11 God reached out to the sea and sea traders, threw the sea kingdoms into turmoil. God ordered the destruction of the seacoast cities, the centers of commerce. 12 God said, "There's nothing left here to be proud of, bankrupt and bereft Sidon. Do you want to make a new start in Cyprus? Don't count on it. Nothing there will work out for you either." 13 Look at what happened to Babylon: There's nothing left of it. Assyria turned it into a desert, into a refuge for wild dogs and stray cats. They brought in their big siege engines, tore down the buildings, and left nothing behind but rubble. 14 Wail, ships of Tarshish, your strong seaports all in ruins 15 For the next seventy years, a king's lifetime, Tyre will be forgotten. At the end of the seventy years, Tyre will stage a comeback, but it will be the comeback of a worn-out whore, as in the song: 16 "Take a harp, circle the city, unremembered whore. Sing your old songs, your many old songs. Maybe someone will remember." 17 At the end of the seventy years, God will look in on Tyre. She'll go back to her old whoring trade, selling herself to the highest bidder, doing anything with anyone - promiscuous with all the kingdoms of earth - for a fee. 18 But everything she gets, all the money she takes in, will be turned over to God. It will not be put in banks. Her profits will be put to the use of God-Aware, God-Serving-People, providing plenty of food and the best of clothing.
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