Isaiah 23

The Fall of Tyre

1 The oracle concerning 1Tyre. Wail, O 2ships of 3Tarshish, For Tyre is destroyed, without house or 4harbor; It is reported to them from the land of 5Cyprus.
2 6Be silent, you inhabitants of the coastland, You merchants of Sidon; Your messengers crossed the sea
3 And were on many waters. 7The grain of the 8Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue; And she was the 9market of nations.
4 Be ashamed, O 10Sidon; For the sea speaks, the stronghold of the sea, saying, "I have neither travailed nor given birth, I have neither brought up young men nor reared virgins.
5 When the report reaches Egypt, They will be in 11anguish at the report of Tyre.
6 Pass over to 12Tarshish; Wail, O inhabitants of the coastland.
7 Is this your 13jubilant city, Whose origin is from antiquity, Whose feet used to carry her to colonize distant places?
8 Who has planned this against Tyre, 14the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?
9 15The LORD of hosts has planned it, to 16defile the pride of all beauty, To despise all the 17honored of the earth.
10 Overflow your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish, There is no more restraint.
11 He has 18stretched His hand out 19over the sea, He has 20made the kingdoms tremble; The LORD has given a command concerning Canaan to 21demolish its strongholds.
12 He has said, "22You shall exult no more *, O crushed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to 23Cyprus; even there you will find no rest."
13 Behold, the land of the Chaldeans -this is the people which was not; 24Assyria appointed it for 25desert creatures -they erected their siege towers, they stripped its palaces, 26they made it a ruin.
14 Wail, O 27ships of Tarshish, For your stronghold is destroyed
15 Now in that day Tyre will be forgotten for 28seventy years like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:
16 Take your harp, walk about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, That you may be remembered.
17 It will come about at 29the end of seventy years that the LORD will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot's wages and will 30play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.
18 Her 31gain and her harlot's wages will be 32set apart to the LORD; it will not be stored up or hoarded, but her gain will become sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the LORD.

Isaiah 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

The overthrow of Tyre. (1-14) It is established again. (15-18)

Verses 1-14 Tyre was the mart of the nations. She was noted for mirth and diversions; and this made her loth to consider the warnings God gave by his servants. Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes. Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the merchants should abandon her. Flee to shift for thine own safety; but those that are uneasy in one place, will be so in another; for when God's judgments pursue sinners, they will overtake them. Whence shall all this trouble come? It is a destruction from the Almighty. God designed to convince men of the vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory. Let the ruin of Tyre warn all places and persons to take heed of pride; for he who exalts himself shall be abased. God will do it, who has all power in his hand; but the Chaldeans shall be the instruments.

Verses 15-18 The desolations of Tyre were not to be for ever. The Lord will visit Tyre in mercy. But when set at liberty, she will use her old arts of temptation. The love of worldly wealth is spiritual idolatry; and covetousness is spiritual idolatry. This directs those that have wealth, to use it in the service of God. When we abide with God in our worldly callings, when we do all in our power to further the gospel, then our merchandise and hire are holiness to the Lord, if we look to his glory. Christians should carry on business as God's servants, and use riches as his stewards.

Cross References 32

  • 1. Joshua 19:29; 1 Kings 5:1; Jeremiah 25:22; Jeremiah 47:4; Ezek 26:1-27:36; Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:9; Zechariah 9:2-4
  • 2. Isaiah 2:16
  • 3. Genesis 10:4; 1 Kings 10:22
  • 4. Isaiah 24:10
  • 5. Genesis 10:4; Isaiah 23:12; Ezekiel 27:6
  • 6. Isaiah 47:5
  • 7. Isaiah 19:7-9
  • 8. Joshua 13:3; 1 Chronicles 13:5; Jeremiah 2:18
  • 9. Ezekiel 27:3-23
  • 10. Genesis 10:15, 19; Joshua 11:8; Judges 10:6; Jeremiah 25:22; Jeremiah 27:3; Jeremiah 47:4; Ezekiel 28:21, 22
  • 11. Exodus 15:14-16; Joshua 2:9-11
  • 12. Isaiah 23:1
  • 13. Isaiah 22:2; Isaiah 32:13
  • 14. Ezekiel 28:2
  • 15. Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 13:11
  • 16. Job 40:11, 12; Daniel 4:37
  • 17. Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 9:15
  • 18. Exodus 14:21; Isaiah 14:26
  • 19. Isaiah 19:5; Isaiah 50:2
  • 20. Isaiah 13:13
  • 21. Isaiah 25:2; Zechariah 9:3, 4
  • 22. Ezekiel 26:13, 14; Revelation 18:22
  • 23. Isaiah 23:1
  • 24. Isaiah 10:5
  • 25. Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 18:6
  • 26. Isaiah 10:7
  • 27. Isaiah 2:16; Ezekiel 27:25, 26
  • 28. Jeremiah 25:11, 22
  • 29. Isaiah 23:15
  • 30. Ezekiel 16:25-29; Nahum 3:4
  • 31. Psalms 72:10, 11; Isaiah 60:5-9; Micah 4:13
  • 32. Exodus 28:36; Zechariah 14:20

Footnotes 10

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account both of the desolation and restoration of Tyre, an ancient city of Phoenicia. Its desolation is described as so complete, that a house was not left in it, Isa 23:1 and by the fewness and stillness of the inhabitants of it, with which it had been replenished, it having been a mart of nations, Isa 23:2,3 and by the shame and pain Zidon, a neighbouring city, was put into, on account of it, Isa 23:4,5 and by the removal of its inhabitants to other places, Isa 23:6,7,12 all which is attributed to the counsel, purpose, and commandment of God, to destroy it; whose view was to stain their pride, and bring them into contempt, Isa 23:8-11 the means and instruments made use of to this purpose were the Assyrians or Chaldeans, Isa 23:13 and its desolation is further aggravated by the loss of its trade; hence the merchants of other countries are called to mourning, Isa 23:1,14 the date and duration of this desolation were seventy years, Isa 23:15 after which it should be restored, and its merchandise and commerce with all the nations of the earth be revived again, Isa 23:15-18.

Isaiah 23 Commentaries

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