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of the prophets, that the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands should dwell there, and cry in their desolate houses. One part of the country was overflowed by the river having been turned out of its course and never restored to its former channel, and thence became bogsy and marshy, so that it might literally be said to be a possession for the bittern and pools of water, Isaiah xiv. 23. Another part is described as dry and naked, and barren of every thing, so that thereby was also fulfilled another prophecy, Her cities are a desolation, a dry land and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby, Jer. li. 43. The place thereabout is represented as overran with serpents, scorpions, and all sorts of venomous and unclean creatures, so that their houses are full of doleful creatures, and dragons cry in their pleasant palaces; and Babylon is become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment and an hissing without an inhabitant. For all these reasons neither can the Arabian pitch his tent there, neither can the shepherds make their folds there. And when we find that modern travellers cannot now certainly discover the spot of ground, whereon this renowned city was once situated, we may very properly say, How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations? Every purpose of the Lord hath he performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant; and the expression is no less true than sublime, that the Lord of hosts hath swept it with the besom of destruction.
Thus have we represented, in the most clear and undeniable light, the amazing prophecies which were foretold and fulfilled concerning the fate of the once magnificent city of Babylon. How wonderful are such predictions compared with the events; and what a convincing argument it is of the truth and divinity of the Holy Scriptures! Well might God represent this as a memorable instance of his prescience, and challenge all the other false gods, and their votaries to produce the like. Who hath declared this from ancient time? have not ! the Lord? and there is no God else beside me, a just God and a Saviour, there is none beside me: Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure, Isaiah xlv. 21. xlvi. 10. And indeed, where can we find a similar instance, but in Scripture, from the beginning of the world to the present time?
Of the Prophecies concerning the City of TYRE.
THE destruction of Tyre is another memorable instance of the great truth of prophecy. The inhabitants of this city, as well as those of Nineveh and Babylon, were great enemies to the Jews; but it was not altogether on this account that they were punished with the divine vengeance. It was owing to their pride and self-sufficiency, both of which were founded on their great riches obtained by traffic, and for which they were more famous than any other people at that time on the earth.
The fate of this city was predicted by the prophets many years before it happened, and particularly by Isaiah and Ezekiel. But it hath been a matter of doubt among the learned which of the Tyres was the subject of the prophecies, whether Palætyrus, or Old Tyre, that was seated on the continent, or New Tyre, that was built on an island nearly opposite. But the best answer to be given to this, and the most incontestible observation is, that the prophecies manifestly appertain to both, some expressions being applicable only to the former, and others only to the latter.
In one place Tyre is described as situate at the entry of the sea, Ezek. xxvii. 3; in others as in the midst of the sea, ver. 4 and 25. Sometimes it is represented as besieged with horses and with chariots, Ezek. xxvi. 7, &c. and at other times it is expressly called an island, and the sea, even the strength of the sea, Ezek. xxii. 2. It is said, By reason of the abundance of his horses their
dust shall cover thee, thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach, Ezek. xxvi. 10. It is afterwards said, They shall break down thy walls, and destroy the pleasant houses, and they shall lay thy stones, and thy tim. ber, and thy dust in the midst of the water, Ezek, xxvi. 12. And again, They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas, Ezek. xxviii. 8.
From these expressions, it is evident that the insular Tyre, as well as the Tyre on the continent, is included in these prophecies: they are both comprehended under the same name, and both spoken of as one and the same city, one part being built on the continent, and the other on an adjoining island.
It was usual with the prophets, when they denounced the downfal and desolation of a city or kingdom, to de. scribe, by way of contrast, its then flourishing condition, to show, in a stronger point of view, how Providence changeth the scene, and ordereth and disposeth all events. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel observe the same method with regard to Tyre. Isaiah speaketh of it as a place of great antiquity, Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? Isaiah xxiii. 7. And it is mentioned as a strong place so early as in the days of Joshua, the strong city of Tyre, Josh. xix. 29. Nay, there are even heathen authors who extol the great an. tiquity of the place. The Greek geographer Strabo saith, that after Sidon, the greatest and most ancient city of the Phocnicians was Tyre, which was a rival to Sidon in greatness, and lustre, and antiquity.
Ancient, however, as this city was, it was the daughter of Sidon, as it is called by the prophet Isaiah, xxiii. 12. and the merchants of Sidon, who pass over the sea, replenished it, ver. 2. Sidon was the eldest son of Canaan, Gen. x. 15. and the city of Sidon is mentioned by the patriarch Jacob, Gen. xlix. 13. In the days of Joshua it is called great Sidon, Josh. xi. 8. And in the days of the Judges the inhabitants of Laish are said to have dwelt VOL. iii.
careless and secure after the manner of the Sidonians, Judges xviii. 7.
But though Tyre was the daughter of Sidon, yet the daughter soon equalled, and, in time, excelled, the mother, and became the most celebrated place in the world for its trade and navigation, being the seat of commerce and the centre of riches. It is therefore called by the prophet Isaiah, a mart of nations, the crowning city whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth, Is. xxxiii. 3, 8. And Ezekiel (as it were commenting on the words of Isaiah, a mart of nations) recounts the various nations whose commodities were brought to Tyre, and bought and sold by the Tyrians, Ezek. xxvii.
In this wealthy and flourishing condition was Tyre when the prophets foretold its destruction, one of whom (Isaiah) mentions it at least 125 years before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. An extensive and beneficial trade in any city soon produces luxury and pride. So it fared with the Tyrians; and for these, and their other vices, as well as for their insults and injuries done to the Jews, the Divine vengeance was denounced upon them by the prophets.
The prophet Isaiah mentions the pride of the Tyrians as being the principal occasion of their fall. The Lord of Hosts (saith be) hath proposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth, Is. xxiii, 9. Ezekiel describes at large their luxury, and particularly censures the pride of the king of Tyre in arrogating to himself divine honors. Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God, Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations ; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness, Ezek. xxvü. 6, &c.
The prophets Joel and Amos had before denounced the Divine judgments on the Tyrians for their wickedness in general, and in particular for their cruelty to the children of Israel, and for buying and selling them like cattle in the markets. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet Joel, Because ye have taken my silver and my gold and have
carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things ; the children also of Judah, and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border; Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head, Joel iii. 5, &c.
The prophet Amos speaketh to the same purpose, Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressionstof Tyrus, and for four I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant, Amos 1. 9. By the latter part of these words the prophet means the league and alliance between Hiram king of Tyre on the one part, and David and Solomon on the other.
The royal psalmist reckons the Tyrians among the most inveterate and implacable enemies of the Jewish name and nation. The tabernacles of Edom (says he) and the Ishmaelites, of Moab, and the Hagarenes, Gabal, and Ammon, and Amalek, the Philistines, with the inhabitants of Tyre, Psal. Ixxxiii. 6, 7.
Ezekiel also begins his prophecy against the Tyrians with a declaration that the judgments denounced against them were occasioned by their domineering over the Jews, and insulting them, after the taking of. Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Ă ha, she is broken that was the gates of the people : she is turned unto me, I shall be replenish. ed, now she is laid waste; Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold, I am against thee, 0 Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up, Ezek. xxvi. 2, 3.
These were the circumstances which occasioned the prophecies against Tyre; and by carefully considering and comparing them together, we shall find that they include the following particulars, viz.
1. That the city should be taken and destroyed by the Chaldeans, or Babylonians.
2. That the inhabitants should pass the Mediterranean into the islands and countries adjoining, and even there should not find a quiet settlement.