Isaiah 23:4

4 Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea, for the sea has spoken: “I have neither been in labor nor given birth; I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.”

Read Isaiah 23:4 Using Other Translations

Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.
Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying: "I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men nor brought up young women."
But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says, “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.”

What does Isaiah 23:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 23:4

Be thou ashamed, O Zidon
A city near to Tyre, about twenty five miles from it; Jarchi says it was within a day's walk of it; these two cities, as they were near to each other, so they were closely allied together, and traded much with one another, so that the fall of Tyre must be distressing and confounding to Zidon; and besides, Tyre was a colony of the Zidonians, and therefore, ( Isaiah 23:12 ) , is called the daughter of Zidon, and could not but be affected with its ruin, and the more, as it might fear the same would soon be its case:

for the sea hath spoken;
which washed the city of Tyre; or those that sailed in it; or rather Tyre itself, so called because its situation was by the sea, the island was encompassed with it:

[even] the strength of the sea;
which was enriched by what was brought by sea to it, and was strengthened by it, being surrounded with the waters of it as with a wall, and had the sovereignty over it:

saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up
young men, [nor] bring up virgins;
either the sea itself, which now no more brought great numbers of young people to Tyre, children to be educated, young men to be instructed in trade and business, and virgins to be given in marriage, the city being destroyed; or Tyre, which before was very populous, full of children, young men, and maidens, but now desolate; and which formerly sent out colonies abroad, and was a mother city to many, as Pliny says F19; it was famous for the birth of many cities, as Lepti, Utica, Carthage, and Gades or Cales; but now it was all over with her. Some render it as a wish, "O that I had never travailed" and so the Targum.


F19 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19.

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