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Ezekiel 27



    Oracle Against the Nations
Lament Over Tyre Lamentation For Tyre Lamentation Over Tyre A Funeral Song for Tyre Second Lament Over the Fall of Tyre
27:1-9 27:1-9 27:1-11 27:1-9 27:1-9a
(3c-9) (3c-9) (3c-11) (3c-9) (3c-9a)
27:10-11 27:10-11   27:10-11  
27:12-25 27:12-26 27:12-36 27:12-34  
(25b) (25-26) (25b-36) (25b-34) (25-27)

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the four modern translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



 1Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2"And you, son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre; 3and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, 'Thus says the Lord God,
 "O Tyre, you have said, 'I am perfect in beauty.'
  4Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
 Your builders have perfected your beauty.
  5They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir;
 They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you.
 6Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars;
 With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus.
  7Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
 So that it became your distinguishing mark;
 Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah.
 8The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers;
 Your wise men, O Tyre, were aboard; they were your pilots.
  9The elders of Gebal and her wise men were with you repairing your seams;
 All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise.

27:1 This is a literary marker for a new subject or development of a larger unit (i.e., 26:1-28:26). Notice that it occurs in 26:1; 27:1; 28:1,11,20.

27:2 "take up" This is a Qal imperative (BDB 669, KB 724, cf. v. 12; 19:1; 26:17).

▣ "lamentations" See note at 26:17.

27:3 This chapter is an allegorical personification of Tyre as the beautiful and well-equipped merchant ship. A good title would be "The Flagship Tyre of the Materialistic Fleet."

▣ "I am perfect in beauty" This was the problem, the arrogance of the king of Tyre (cf. vv. 4,11; 28:2-5,15,17 and possibly 26:20).

27:5 Notice the poetic parallelism.

1. fir (juniper) from Senir, v. 5

2. cedar from Lebanon, v. 5

3. oaks from Bashan, v. 6

4. boxwood from Cyprus, v. 6

5. sails from Egypt, v. 7

6. awnings from Elishah (BDB 47), v. 7

7. rowers from Sidon and Arvad (BDB 71), v. 8

8. wise men from Tyre as pilots, v. 8

9. maintenance workers from Gebal (BDB 148), v. 9

This ship was made of the best and most beautiful material and manned by the best possible crew.

▣ "Senir" This (BDB 972) is the Amorite term for Mount Hermon (cf. Deut. 3:9; I Chr. 5:23; Song of Songs 4:8).

27:6 "of boxwood" The MT reads "daughters of Ashurim," but by making the construct (BDB 123 and 81) into one word, "made with boxwood" (see UBS, Fauna and Flora of the Bible, p. 99). This tree is mentioned in Isa. 41:19; 60:13. A type of tree fits the context better than a place name.


NASB"distinguishing mark"
TEV"easily recognized from afar"
NJB"your flag"

This term (BDB 651) normally stands for a military banner or sign. Here it refers to a characteristic type of sail that denotes "the flagship of Tyre"!

▣ "purple" It was a very expensive dye made from the mollusk shell of Murex, which are found in abundance along this portion of the Mediterranean coast.

▣ "Elishnah" From Gen. 10:4 we learn this was a tribe of Javan (Greece, cf. I Chr. 1:7). It seems to refer to inhabitants of the Aegean Islands, possibly Cyprus. The NIV Study Bible (p. 1263) identifies it as a city on the east side of Cyprus, but this is speculation.

27:8 "Arvad" This (BDB 71) is another off-shore island about 100 miles north of Tyre. It was a Phoenician settlement.

27:9 "Gebal" This (BDB 148) is the modern city Byblos, which is located on the coast between Sidon and Arvad.

 10"Persia and Lud and Put were in your army, your men of war. They hung shield and helmet in you; they set forth your splendor. 11The sons of Arvad and your army were on your walls, all around, and the Gammadim were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they perfected your beauty."

27:10-25 This section lists many nations. It is similar to Genesis 10. Some nations are listed as part of Tyre's military and some as her trading partners. It is somewhat hyperbolic to demonstrate Tyre's influence, power, and commercial reach.

A. military

1. Persia

2. Lud

3. Put

4. Arvad

5. Gammad

B. trading partners

1. Tarshish

a. silver

b. iron

c. tin

d. lead

2. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech

a. slaves

b. bronze vessels

3. Beth-togarmah

a. horses

b. mules

4. Dedan and coastlands

a. ivory

b. ebony

5. Syria (Aram)

a. emeralds

b. purple dye

c. embroidered cloth

d. fine linen

e. coral

f. rubies

6. Judah and Israel

a. wheat

b. pannag (BDB 815, only here, some kind of food)

c. honey

d. olive oil

e. balm/balsam resin

7. Damascus

a. wine

b. white or reddish gray (BDB 856 construct 850) wool

8. Vedan and Javan (spelled different from v. 13)

a. iron

b. cassia spice

c. calamus, aromatic reed ("sweet cane")

9. Arabia and Kedar

a. lambs

b. rams

c. goats

10. Sheba and Raamah

a. spices

b. jewels

c. gold

11. Haran, Canneh, Eden, Sheba, Asshur, Chilmad

a. blue cloths

b. embroidered cloth

c. carpets in many colors

d. ropes


27:10 "Persia and Lud and Put" These same countries had mercenaries in many armies (cf. 30:5; 38:5; Jer. 46:9). Lud, in some translations, refers to North Africa and in others, to Asia Minor. Put, in the Septuagint, refers to the Libyans (i.e., North Africa), but from Gen. 10:6 it seems to be on the coast of Africa by the Red Sea. Some of these geographical sites can be identified with people from Genesis 10 who later become tribes, localities, and countries.

▣ "They hung shield and helmet in you" This was a type of standard decoration for military installations. Tyre used mercenaries who displayed their national military insignias (e.g., I Kgs. 10:16-17).

27:11 "Arvad" The place name "Arvad" (BDB 71) is mentioned in Gen. 10:18 (from Canaanite line, cf. I Chr. 1:16). It is a city located (as Tyre is) just off the coast on a small island in the northern area of Phoenician territory.

NRSV, TEV"Gamad"
Peshitta"your army"
Targum of

This term (BDB 167, KB 196) is found only here. BDB assumes it means "valorous men," but the LXX and Peshitta assume "guardians" or "wall soldiers." It may be a place name referring to another coastal city near Arvad (NIV Study Bible, p. 1263). The thrust of the phrase is that although Tyre had numerous mercenaries, she trusted the defense of her protective walls to her own soldiers.

▣ "they perfected your beauty" This is a repeated phrase. See note at v. 4. It is significant because of its use in chapter 28.

 12"Tarshish was your customer because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth; with silver, iron, tin and lead they paid for your wares. 13Javan, Tubal and Meshech, they were your traders; with the lives of men and vessels of bronze they paid for your merchandise. 14Those from Beth-togarmah gave horses and war horses and mules for your wares. 15The sons of Dedan were your traders. Many coastlands were your market; ivory tusks and ebony they brought as your payment. 16Aram was your customer because of the abundance of your goods; they paid for your wares with emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral and rubies. 17Judah and the land of Israel, they were your traders; with the wheat of Minnith, cakes, honey, oil and balm they paid for your merchandise. 18Damascus was your customer because of the abundance of your goods, because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth, because of the wine of Helbon and white wool. 19Vedan and Javan paid for your wares from Uzal; wrought iron, cassia and sweet cane were among your merchandise. 20Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. 21Arabia and all the princes of Kedar, they were your customers for lambs, rams and goats; for these they were your customers. 22The traders of Sheba and Raamah, they traded with you; they paid for your wares with the best of all kinds of spices, and with all kinds of precious stones and gold. 23Haran, Canneh, Eden, the traders of Sheba, Asshur and Chilmad traded with you. 24They traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of many colors and tightly wound cords, which were among your merchandise. 25The ships of Tarshish were the carriers for your merchandise.
 And you were filled and were very glorious
 In the heart of the seas.

27:12 "Tarshish" It is surprising that this term (BDB 1077) appears to be a place name because it is also a person in Gen. 10:4. Several other persons from Genesis 10 are mentioned in this context (i.e., Elishah, Arvad). The term is used in several senses in Scripture.

A. Persons

1. grandson of Javan (Greece) and brother to Elishah in Gen. 10:4; I Chr. 1:7

2. grandson of Benjamin in I Chr. 7:20

3. one of the powerful seven princes of Persia in Esther 1:14

B. Places

1. Phoenician mining city in southern Spain on the Guadalquiver River

2. Phoenician colony in north Africa, Carthage (LXX translation of 27:12)

3. Phoenician colony in Indian Ceylon

4. Phoenician colony on Sardina (city of Nora)

5. an idiom for the end of the earth

C. Things

1. precious stones (cf. Exod. 28:20; 39:13; Ezek. 10:9; 28:13; Dan. 10:6; Rev. 21:20)

2. special ships (cf. I Kgs. 10:22; 22:48; II Chr. 9:21; Ps. 48:7; Isa. 2:16; 23:1; 60:9)


27:13 "Javan" Because of the spelling "ionia" (BDB 402), most commentators refer this to Greece. It is spelled differently from the same word used in v. 19 (BDB 402).

▣ "Tubal and Meshech" In Gen. 10:2 and I Chr. 1:5 these are listed as sons or descendants of Japheth, one of Noah's three sons.

1. Gomer (his son Togarmah, cf. v. 14; Gen. 10:3)

2. Magog

3. Madai

4. Javan

5. Tubal

6. Meshech

7. Tiras

The significance is that several of these are mentioned as tribes or peoples in Ezekiel 38-39 (i.e., #1,2,5,6). They were inhabitants of eastern Turkey (Anatolia). They are mentioned by

1. Herodotus (3:94; 7:28)

2. Josephus (Antiq. 1.124)


"the lives of men" This refers to the slave trade (cf. Joel 3:4-8; Amos 1:9, 10; Rev. 18:12).

27:14 "Beth-togarmah" This is identified with Armenia (cf. Gen. 10:3).

27:15 "Dedan" This is a descendant of Ham (cf. Gen. 10:7; I Chr. 1:9) and a brother of Sheba (cf. Ezek. 38:13,14). The same group is mentioned in v. 20 as an Arabian tribe (possibly related to a specific desert oasis close to Tema). The LXX changed it to Rhodes. Because it is identified in context with "coast lands" (BDB 912). It is possible that it relates to a region north of Tyre known as "Danuna" in the Amarna letters (IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 713).

27:16 "Syria" Some Hebrew manuscripts and the Peshita relate this to Edom, which involves an emendation of the Hebrew text (see NAB, NEB, REB).

"Edom" is spelled אדמ, while "Aram" is spelled ארל. As you can see the letters d and r are formed in similar ways and easily confused in copying. The MT has "Aram" (BDB 74). Why Damascus is listed separately in v. 18 is uncertain. Aram was a coalition of independent tribes/clans north of Palestine and west of Assyria. Damascus may have had special autonomy.

NJB, REB"garnets"
JB, Josephus"carbuncle"

This term (BDB 656) refers to some kind of precious stone (cf. 28:13). It was one of the jewels in the High Priest's breastplate (cf. Exod. 28:13; 39:11).

▣ "rubies" This rare term (BDB 461) occurs only here and in Isa. 54:12. It may be related to the Aramaic root "to sparkle" or "a red-hot rod." Rubies were not common in this area of the world until a later date.

27:17 Notice it says "Judah and the land of Israel." Judah was still (or until very recently) an existing nation, but Israel had been exiled by Assyria in 722 b.c. and was no longer a nation.

▣ "Minnith" This is a location in Ammon (cf. Jdgs. 11:33) which produced especially fine wheat.

NKJV, NRSV"millet"
NJB, JPSOA"pannag"

This term (BDB 815) appears only here in the OT. In context it refers to some type of merchandise, probably food. In Akkadian the root means "pastry."

27:18 "Helbon" This (KB 316 II, i.e., "forest place") refers to a grape-growing area several miles north of Damascus.

NRSV, JPSOA"white wool"

The KB 1019 denotes the BDB meaning comes from Arabic. It also notes that it can refer to a territory northwest of Damascus, called "es-Sahra."



Both lexicons, BDB (255) and KB (259), assert the meaning as "uncertain." Some scholars think it is a place name near Medina, Arabia. Most assert a textual corruption.  However, since it is linked to Javan (Greece) it may be another name for them (i.e., Homer and the History Channel video, "Decoding the Exodus"). The Septuagint has "and wine from" instead of a name.

▣ "Uzal" This may be (1) the capital of Yemen (BDB 23); (2) a word for "yarn" (BDB 23); or (3) a city (Izalla) in Cilicia (IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 713).

27:20-22 "Dedan, Arabia, Kedar, and Raamah" These all refer to Arabian tribes.

27:23 All of these locations are in Mesopotamia and most are associated with Assyria. The Jewish Study Bible asserts that the first three of these are all Syrian cities (p. 1094, cf. Gen. 12:4; 10:10; II Kgs. 19:12; Isa. 10:9; 37:12; Amos 1:5).

▣ "Asshur" Asshur (BDB 78) is a son of Shem (cf. Gen. 10:22; I Chr. 1:17). It becomes a region synonymous with Assyria. One of the national gods of Assyria is named Asshur. Asshur became the name of one of the capitals of Assyria.

▣ "Chilmad" This place (BDB 484) is unknown. The Targums revocalize the consonants and come up with "all Media" (cf. Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 908).

27:24 "clothes" Another rare term is "clothes" (BDB 166). The noun is found only here and the verb (i.e., "to wrap") only in II Kgs. 2:8. It refers to a large garment wrapped around the body (i.e., same meaning in Aramaic, Syrian, Arabic, and Persian, NIDOTTE, vol. 1., p. 865).

▣ "carpets of many colors" This phrase has two rare words.

1. "Carpets" (BDB 170) possibly means chests (cf. NKJV). It is found only here and in Esther 3:9 and 4:7, where it is translated "treasury."

2. The phrase "many colors" (BDB 140) occurs only here. In Arabic it denotes a rope made of two colors. The trilateral root means "to twist."



TEV, NIV"the carriers for your merchandise"
NASB (margin)"travelers for your trade"
NJB"soiled in your business"
JPSOA"in the service of your trade"
REB"caravans of your imports"

The root (BDB 1003-1004, KB 1449-1452) has several meanings.

1. to travel, to journey

2. to behold, to regard

3. (unknown, Ps. 92:12)

4. head of cattle, bullock

5. wall

Context determines meaning. In this context #1 fits best. There are no guarantees on exact meaning for roots that

1. are rare

2. are used in poetic texts

3. are uncertain as to which root it derives

Even ancient cognate languages are unable to precisely define all Hebrew terms.

 26"Your rowers have brought you
 Into great waters;
 The east wind has broken you
 In the heart of the seas.
 27Your wealth, your wares, your merchandise,
 Your sailors and your pilots,
 Your repairers of seams, your dealers in merchandise
 And all your men of war who are in you,
 With all your company that is in your midst,
 Will fall into the heart of the seas
 On the day of your overthrow.
 28At the sound of the cry of your pilots
 The pasture lands will shake.
 29All who handle the oar,
 The sailors and all the pilots of the sea
 Will come down from their ships;
 They will stand on the land,
 30And they will make their voice heard over you
 And will cry bitterly.
 They will cast dust on their heads,
 They will wallow in ashes.
 31Also they will make themselves bald for you
 And gird themselves with sackcloth;
 And they will weep for you in bitterness of soul
 With bitter mourning.
 32Moreover, in their wailing they will take up a lamentation for you
 And lament over you:
 'Who is like Tyre,
 Like her who is silent in the midst of the sea?
 33When your wares went out from the seas,
 You satisfied many peoples;
 With the abundance of your wealth and your merchandise
 You enriched the kings of earth.
 34Now that you are broken by the seas
 In the depths of the waters,
 Your merchandise and all your company
 Have fallen in the midst of you.
 35All the inhabitants of the coastlands
 Are appalled at you,
 And their kings are horribly afraid;
 They are troubled in countenance.
 36The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
 You have become terrified
 And you will cease to be forever.'"

27:26-36 This starts the second poetic lament of chapter 27 (cf. vv. 3b-9). This lament first lists all of the people/groups mentioned in the first poem (those who built, manned the ships of Tyre and those who guarded the city). They will all be shipwrecked with the "great ship of Tyre." Then in vv. 30-32, these same groups mourn for Tyre's destruction (i.e., and their own).

27:26 "the east wind" See note at 17:10.

▣ "into great waters" Again this may refer to the chaotic waters of creation. Notice v. 34 "broken by the seas in the depth of the waters." See note at 26:3,19-21.

27:30-32 This is a series of mourning rites.

1. cry bitterly, vv. 30,31,32

2. put dust on their heads

3. wallow in ashes

4. pull out their hair

5. put on sackcloth



JPSOA"like her who is silent in the midst of the sea"
NAB"destroyed in the midst of the sea"
NJB"far out to sea"
Peshitta"built in the midst of the sea"

The Hebrew root דמה has several meanings (KB 225-226). BDB 199 has "one silenced, brought to silence (destroyed)." Either option fits the context. JB speculates "with haughty Tyre" (cf. vv. 3c-9).

27:34 Tyre is lost in the depth (BDB 771) of the chaotic waters sent by YHWH. The ship, the contents, and all on board are lost!

27:35 Trembling takes hold of fearful people (cf. 32:10; Job 18:20; also notice Exod. 15:14,15; Isa. 21:3; 33:13; Jer. 13:21). Note the parallel in 26:16.

27:36 "The merchants among the people" Ezekiel's knowledge of the trading centers and their known exports is absolutely amazing. This chapter forms one of the most detailed commercial chapters anywhere in ancient literature.

▣ "hiss at you" This (BDB 1056) is an audible gesture of astonishment (cf. Jer. 19:8; 49:17; 50:13). It also can be used of derision (cf. II Chr. 29:8; Jer. 25:9,18; 29:18; 51:37; Lam. 2:15; Micah 6:16). In context it is hard to make a distinction between astonishment and a sense of the appropriateness of what has happened.


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