Isaiah 23:6-9. “Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.”
Tyre is one of the 20 oldest cities in the world. It has never regained its former position of glory, though. The people of Tyre were proud of their wealth and their “joyous city of antiquity.” According to Isaiah, the people would walk on their own feet to a far place. They would never again enjoy the luxuries of their own city.
And who had decreed the destruction of Tyre, the home of merchant princes and wealthy traders who were renowned in the whole earth?
The Lord of Hosts had so decreed. And why? Because of their pride in all their glory; to bring to dishonor all those who held themselves high in their own opinion.
In verse 4, the first sentence refers to some of the inhabitants of Tyre fleeing in ships upon hearing that Nebuchadnezzar was about to take the city. They took the wealth with them so that he would find nothing of value. This flight, and the long 13-year siege, enraged Nebuchadnezzar so much that he totally leveled the city.
Tyre had started several colonies: Tarshish, in Spain, as well as Citium in Cyprus, Carthage in Africa, and others.Trade flourished, and there were those who were truly honorable and known throughout that part of the world.
It was the Chaldeans or Babylonians, a people who had no order or law until they came under the control of Assyria, who destroyed Tyre. They remained under Assyria for centuries, until they again rose to power and overthrew the Assyrian empire.
Always, in a study of the history of the world’s civilizations, the same theme repeats. A city is founded, or a nation; in the beginning, the people work hard and are dedicated to the futherance of their tribe or nation. But as wealth increases, the heart of the people seems to falter. They tend to drift toward entertainment, and away from any semblance of godliness. And then another rising power comes along and defeats them, and the cycle repeats. Over and over.
Even here in America, before any European set foot on the new shores of this land, the warfare among the native tribes was endless as they pushed for more land, new hunting grounds, more territory to control. Because there was no knowledge of God, their treatment of their defeated enemies was barbarous and merciless.
What we need to understand is that there has always been, and always will be, warfare between Satan and all that God loves. Satan’s eternal doom is sealed, and he knows it. But he will create as much hatred, strife, and destruction as he can before he is sent into the Lake of Fire forever.
I hope you’ll give some thought to my little venture into history here. It’s not something I do often, but studying Isaiah really makes you stop and think about the ways of this world.