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This chapter concludes the judgment prophecy against Tyre by focusing on her proud king while adding corresponding judgment to her sister city Sidon. While the prophet is describing the historical realities that will befall these pagan leaders, he also has in view the activity of Satan which motivates their opposition to God’s kingdom agenda. These purging judgments of the enemies of Israel who mock God’s Word pave the way for the eventual restoration of God’s people. Israel will dwell securely in the Promised Land.

Keil: As the city of Tyre was first of all threatened with destruction (ch. xxvi.), and then her fall was confirmed by a lamentation (ch. xxvii.), so here the prince of Tyre is first of all forewarned of his approaching death (vers. 1-10), and then a lamentation is composed thereon (vers. 11-19).

Anton Pearson: From the city, the prophet passes to its ruler, as a representative of the genius of the community, the embodiment of the spirit of the proud commercial city. King and people constitute a corporate solidarity, the pride and self-deification of which are doomed.

Leslie Allen: Ezekiel’s necessary task was to counter a mood of optimism among the Jewish exiles. Stunned as they were at Jerusalem’s fall, they were evidently clutching at a straw offered to them by their fellow exiles from Tyre. With a shift of confidence, they imagined that Tyre’s resistance to the besieging Babylonians might mean a turning of the tide for them. The prophet reacts to this chauvinist reading of current affairs with a divine no. Yahweh was working in a more radical way. The old order had to go completely before a new day of salvation and blessing could dawn. Vv 2–10 and 12–19, rhetorically addressed to one termed Tyre’s ruler and king, respectively, are two striking attempts to communicate this political and theological truth.

MacArthur: This section [vv. 1-19] concerning the king of Tyre, is similar to Is 14:3-23 referring to the king of Babylon. In both passages, some of the language best fits Satan. Most likely, both texts primarily describe the human king who is being used by Satan, much like Peter when Jesus said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Mt 16:23). The judgment can certainly apply to Satan also.


“The word of the LORD came again to me saying,

‘Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre,

Thus says the Lord God,’”

Constable: Ezekiel was to speak an oracle to the contemporary leader (Heb. nagid, prince, ruler, king) of Tyre in the Lord’s name, probably King Ethbaal II (also known as Ittobaal II and Ithobalus II, ca. 590-573 B.C.). As usual in political affairs, the king often represents the kingdom he served, and even other kings that preceded him, who possessed the same characteristics that he did. In this case, a spirit of pride marked the king as well as his nation.

Peter Pett: This new oracle comes with a deliberate contrast between ‘a prince’ in contrast with a Sovereign Lord. The King of Tyre is to recognise that before the Lord Yahweh he is but a ‘prince’, a warleader subject to an overall commander, as the early ‘princes’ of Israel were to Yahweh. It is a deliberate downgrading of the king because of the king’s own upgrading of himself.

A. (:2b-5) Puffed Up with Pride

1. (:2b) Puffed Up by Superior Ego

a. Boast = “I am a god”

“Because your heart is lifted up And you have said,

‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the heart of the seas’;”

Feinberg: As probably nowhere else in Scripture, pride is set forth in this chapter as the destroying sin.

Douglas Stuart: Ezekiel is simply highlighting Ittobaal’s arrogance metaphorically by portraying him as one with far too high an opinion of himself, somewhat like saying, “Well, look who thinks he’s God almighty!”

b. Reality = “You are a man”

“Yet you are a man and not God,

Although you make your heart like the heart of God—“

2. (:3) Puffed Up by Superior Wisdom

“Behold, you are wiser than Daniel;

There is no secret that is a match for you.”

Peter Pett: he claimed to have supernatural knowledge, to a knowledge of all secrets greater than Daniel’s, and that Ezekiel is deriding him for it, while agreeing that he has a certain kind of wisdom. There is wry sarcasm here, for had he been a knower of all secrets he would have known the secret of his own downfall.

Anton Pearson: This may be the Dan’el of the Ras Shamra tablets (cf. on 14:14, 20); or the Biblical Daniel.

3. (:4-5) Puffed Up by Superior Wealth

“By your wisdom and understanding

You have acquired riches for yourself,

And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries.

By your great wisdom, by your trade

You have increased your riches,

And your heart is lifted up because of your riches—“

Daniel Block: Significantly, God did not condemn the prince of Tyre for the possession of riches, but for how those riches corrupted him. Significantly, the prophet castigates him neither for his shrewdness nor for his amassed wealth. Neither brilliance nor riches is reprehensible; the problem arises in his response. The wisdom that had brought him his wealth led to hubris. It was this inordinate pride that provoked Yahweh’s ire.

B. (:6-10) Struck Down by Strangers

(:6a) Authoritative Word of God

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God,”

1. (:6b-8) Triumph Turned to Tragedy –

Slain in the Heart of the Seas Where Once You Reigned in Glory

a. (:6b) Charge of Pride

“Because you have made your heart like the heart of God,”

b. (:7-8) Punishment

1) (:7) Lose Your Wisdom and Splendor

“Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you,

The most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor.”

2) (:8) Lose Your Life

“They will bring you down to the pit,

And you will die the death of those who are slain

In the heart of the seas.”

Peter Pett: His whole attitude towards Yahweh and towards his own exalted status, and that of his city, was such that he had brought on himself his own punishment. He had set his heart to be one among the gods, so he and his people would be destroyed by men, by ‘strangers’, by the most terrible of the nations (Babylon – Ezekiel 30:11; Ezekiel 31:12; Ezekiel 32:12). He had claimed to be perfect in beauty, a beauty revealed in wisdom, as one who shone before the world, so this beauty will be destroyed by the swords of men, and this brightness defiled by men, and he will go down into the grave where all men go. He will die as so many of his seamen have died before him, swallowed up by the sea, which in his case is represented by the enemy hosts. (Although many would no doubt be tossed into the harbour and literally be swallowed up by the sea). Such will be his ‘god-like’ end.

Leslie Allen: The place where Tyre ruled the waves in commercial power would become the place of its downfall. This ironic reversal would be the final proof of the falsity of present claims. The event would overtake Tyre and its ruler with an unanswerable counter argument. As to the reality of such a future event, Ezekiel pledges God’s own promise.

2. (:9-10a) Significance Transformed to Insignificance –

Ending up as a Nobody When You Thought You Were a Somebody

a. (:9) Crushing of Pride

“Will you still say, ‘I am a god,’ In the presence of your slayer, Although you are a man and not God,

In the hands of those who wound you?”

b. (:10a) Punishment = Disgraceful Death

“You will die the death of the uncircumcised

By the hand of strangers,”

Keil: The whole of this threat applies, not to the one king, Ithobal, who was reigning at the time of the siege of Tyre by the Chaldeans, but to the king as the founder and creator of the might of Tyre (vers. 3-5), i.e. to the supporter of that royalty which was to perish along with Tyre itself. It is to the king, as the representative of the might and glory of Tyre, and not merely to the existing possessor of the regal dignity, that the following lamentation over his fall refers.

Anton Pearson: For the Phoenicians, who practiced circumcision (Herodotus II. 104), to die like the despised uncircumcised was a great shame (cf. Ezk 31:18; 32:19, 21, 24ff.).

(:10b) Authoritative Word of God

“’For I have spoken!’ declares the Lord God!”

Douglas Stuart: Here we see portrayed, then, something that ancient people knew very well: the forcible death of a king. But it is not Tyre’s population that will bring this about. It is God. From all we can reconstruct, the people of Tyre loved their king. He was the centerpiece of Tyre’s policies, the leader of this most successful of city-states. He symbolized their own prestige in the world, and they identified their own values and expectations with his. We must therefore appreciate the fact that this prophecy against Tyre’s king is also a prophecy against the city of Tyre and its population corporately.


“Again the word of the LORD came to me saying,

‘Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre,

and say to him, Thus says the Lord God,’”

Peter Pett: ‘Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me –.’ The introduction demonstrates that this is a new oracle, in the form of a lamentation. . .

This oracle is in the form of a lamentation for the King of Tyre, with his great, exaggerated claims and his certain destruction. There are no good grounds for applying it to Satan except in the sense that extreme evil and arrogance stems from him. It rests on a ‘glorified’ view of Eden based on man’s own estimate of what is desirable, riches and wealth, and must probably be seen as illustrating the extravagant claims of the King of Tyre in connection with the primeval ‘garden’, as interwoven with the story of Eden to bring out that he was but human and had shared in the fall.

David Guzik: The idea of a prophet speaking to the spiritual ruler or authority behind an earthly ruler is also present in Isaiah 14, where the description of the King of Babylon seems to go beyond any earthly king and describes Satan himself (Isaiah 14:12-14). We also see this idea in Daniel 10:10-20, where the angel Michael described his battle with a spiritual opponent he called the prince of Persia.

Feinberg: As he viewed the thoughts and ways of that monarch, he clearly discerned behind him the motivating force and personality who was impelling him in his opposition to God. In short, he saw the work and activity of Satan, whom the king of Tyre was emulating in so many ways. . .

Although the ruler of Tyre deserved the punishment awaiting him, the prophet was commanded by God to take up a lamentation over him. Let it never be forgotten that God does not delight in judgment. It is His strange work (Isa. 28:21), whereas the work in which He delights is salvation and redemption.

Leslie Allen: Rather like the ship metaphor of chap. 27, it superimposes negative imagery of ruined grandeur on Tyre’s cultural success and self-confidence. Despite regrettable difficulties of interpretation in so many of its details, the general picture of Paradise lost shines through clearly. Tyre was not self-made, but as a created entity owed its prosperity and glory to divine endowment. Yet privilege had not been matched with moral responsibility. “Violence,” ever a besetting sin in the prophetic vocabulary, had accompanied its rise to power. The tragic truth was that Tyre’s wrongdoing contained the seeds of its own destruction, which Yahweh’s intervention would encourage to germinate and grow into a baneful harvest. Three times it is stressed that moral failure must result in loss of fortune and in subjection to a terrible fate. Moreover, there is a religious theme that seems to run through the oracle. The monarch in his role as priest-king is evidently accused of misrepresenting true religion, despite the strong religious basis of his rule.

Lamar Cooper: Numerous interpretations have been proposed for this passage, differing in the way the figurative language is construed and the source for the imagery. Some see the figures as simply metaphorical, describing the king of Tyre with various images, stated in bold and exaggerated terms. Others identify the form as allegory, in which another real or simply familiar character (i.e., Satan or a pagan god) is directly addressed, making the connection to the king of Tyre more indirect or inferred. For the imagery some suppose a source in ancient Near Eastern ideology and myth, especially that which was known to be associated with Tyre. Others find the source in either a loose rendering of the Genesis creation account of the fall of humankind or in supposing alternative accounts of the fall known through tradition. A variant of this approach, favored by several of the church fathers, is to understand for the background of the lament an account of the fall of Satan not given in Scripture but alluded to elsewhere, especially in Isa 14:12–17. Ezekiel would have been relying on his listeners/readers’ familiarity with such an account, and they would have understood the comparison between the fall of Satan and the fall of the king of Tyre. The difficulty of the text makes it unwise to insist upon a particular interpretation, but the latter traditional view appears to the present writer to account best for the language and logic of the passage.

A. (:12b-15) Lament over Squandered Potential

1. (:12b) Perfection of Wisdom and Beauty

“You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Ralph Alexander: more literally, “the one sealing a plan.” As Tyre’s king and mastermind of the city’s commercial sea traffic, it is certainly easy to understand how he would be known as the one who established and approved the function of affixing a seal – a plan that enabled the city to become the maritime leader of its day.

2. (:13) Preference of Environment and Adornment

a. Preference of Environment

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;”

Ralph Alexander: Through comparison with the account of man’s Fall in Genesis 3, this passage is understood to portray Satan as the one who was behind the actions, thoughts, and motives of the king of Tyre. This king was simply a tool of Satan, probably indwelt by Satan.

Peter Pett: The connection between this and the original Eden is found in the name, in the fact of the garden, in the presence of a cherub, in the fact of the king’s being ‘created’, and in his final fall and expulsion. The Israelites would recognise immediately that this whole scenario diminished him to being simply a created and fallen man.

Douglas Stuart: The lament God inspires Ezekiel to sing over the king of Tyre contains a series of metaphorical references to the story of the Garden of Eden and to the mountain of God. The king is compared to a guardian angel at the mountain and, in a way, to Adam himself in the garden. The comparisons are not exact, but imagistic—overtones and general allusions rather than straight one-for-one correspondences to the garden story. The allusions to the mountain of God (e.g., vv. 14 , 16 ) reflect a poetic theme in the Old Testament in which the mountain represents God’s abode.

Central to the lament is the idea of a great fall from an idyllic existence. That, after all, is partly what the Garden of Eden story is all about. The lament contains the usual components: direct address to the dead, eulogy of the dead, a call to mourning, and an expression of the magnitude of the loss to the survivors.

Lamar Cooper: The statement “you were in Eden, the garden of God” (v. 13; cf. 31:8–9) must mean that the king of Tyre is being compared to someone who was in the garden of Eden. The verses describe someone in an exalted position who was favored by God but who became corrupt and lost that position. This could describe the first man, Adam. Yet even granting the figurative nature of language, it seems that something more than a human creature is in view. Perhaps Adam was a “model of perfection,” “full of wisdom,” and “perfect in beauty” (v. 12), but Scripture never describes him as such. Nor does it speak of him as adorned with “every precious stone” (v. 13). The difficulty, however, is that no one else is described in such terms either. Some suggest that adornment with precious stones is an allusion to the Jewish high priest (Exod 28:17–20), but such a confusion of images would hardly communicate a coherent message.

b. Preference of Adornment

“Every precious stone was your covering:

The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,

Was in you.

On the day that you were created They were prepared.”

Peter Pett: The stones listed are nine (three sets of three indicate completeness and perfection), and were reminiscent of the high priest’s breastplate except that there there were twelve stones (Exodus 28:17-20).

Charles Dyer: Ezekiel described the beauty and perfection of Satan as God originally created him (vv. 12-15a). He was the model of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. God did not create Satan as some prime minister of evil. As with all God’s Creation, Satan was a perfectly created being – one of the crowning achievements in God’s angelic realm.

3. (:14) Privilege of Function and Fellowship (Access to God’s Presence)

“You were the anointed cherub who covers,

And I placed you there.

You were on the holy mountain of God;

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”

David Guzik: This tells us that Satan, before his fall, was one of the privileged angelic beings surrounding the throne of God (cherubim were seen before in Ezekiel 1). The cherubim surrounding God’s throne cover it with their wings (pictured in the mercy seat of Exodus 25:20 and 37:9, the representation of God’s throne). Satan was one of those covering cherubim.

Lamar Cooper: Especially significant is that the one addressed was “anointed” (v. 14) and “ordained” as “a guardian cherub” by the God who was speaking through Ezekiel (v. 14) and that he previously dwelt not on the earth (v. 17) but “on the holy mount of God” and “walked among the fiery stones” (v. 14). Such descriptions make it unlikely that a strictly human creature is in view.

Charles Dyer: The cherubim (pl. of cherub) were the “inner circle” of angels who had the closest access to God and guarded His holiness (cf. 10:1-14). Satan also had free access to God’s holy mount (28:14), heaven, and he walked among the fiery stones (cf. v. 16). . . Others have identified the “fiery stones” with God’s fiery wall of protection (cf. Zech. 2:5). They see Satan dwelling inside or behind God’s outer defenses in the “inner courts” of heaven itself. This view is possible, and the word translated “among” (mitok) can have the idea of “between” or “inside.” Whatever the exact identification, Ezekiel was stating that Satan had access to God’s presence.

4. (:15) Perfection of Character and Morality

“You were blameless in your ways

From the day you were created,

Until unrighteousness was found in you.”

B. (:16-18) Lament over Sinful Attitudes and Actions

1. (:16) Judged for Sinful Violence

a. Charge

“By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence,

And you sinned;”

b. Punishment

“Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”

2. (:17) Judged for Shameful Pride

a. Charge

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”

b. Punishment

“I cast you to the ground;

I put you before kings, that they may see you.”

Ralph Alexander: The sin of the king of Tyre was pride that arose from the splendor he achieved through his vast commercial traffic (vv. 15-17; cf. vv. 2-5). The king’s obsession for material gain opened the city to all the evils prevalent amid those involved in commercial traffic. He became filled with violence (v. 16). His wisdom was dulled by the glitter of wealth and splendor. He became proud (v. 17). He also profaned his sanctuaries, a reference most likely to the idolatries practiced in the temple of Melkart (v. 18).

3. (:18) Judged for Shady Business Practices

a. Charge

“By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries.”

Anton Pearson: The king desecrated the temples which made Tyre a holy island, bringing about their destruction through his own sin. He fell below the standard of the truth his religion had preserved for him.

b. Punishment

“Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;

It has consumed you,

And I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you.”

Leslie Allen: Vv 16–18 present an emphatic threefold account of human sin and divine punishment. In each case a double sin meets a double reprisal. In the reference to commerce (vv 16, 18) contemporary reality mingles with the tradition. Commerce gave rise to oppression and to the arrogance (cf. vv 2, 5) that is the stepchild of privilege, and to perverse use of the gift of wisdom. The religious allusion in v 18aβ is not clear: it may be a reference to the pagan religion of the priest-king.

Douglas Stuart: It is especially instructive to note the emphasis placed in the lament on the way that the king’s “trading” is linked with his arrogance and iniquity (vv. 16 and 18). God’s intent through Ezekiel is not to suggest to us that all business is bad, but the way Tyre’s king did business was evil. His problem was greed, and that is one of the reasons for the involvement of Garden-of-Eden overtones in the lament. What Adam and Eve were tempted to try to get was equality with God (Gen. 3:4). That is exactly what Tyre’s king wanted, too. Whatever he personally may have thought of himself, the passage makes it clear that his actions were those of a person seeking such wealth and power as to be his own god. Personal power, dominance of others, conspicuous wealth—these are goals that corrupt people, no matter what their origins.

Lamar Cooper: Who, then, was the person whose character was like the king of Tyre that fulfilled the elements of vv. 12–17? The serpent was known for his craftiness (Gen 3:1), his deceit, and his anti-God attitude (3:4), leading humanity to sin (3:6–7). Elsewhere he is presented as a deceiver (Rev 12:9; 20:2), an instigator of evil (John 13:2, 27), one who seeks worship as a god (Luke 4:6–8; 2 Thess 2:3–4), and one who seeks to get others to renounce God (Job 2:4–5). He appears as an angel of God (2 Cor 11:14) and as the father of lies and violence (John 8:44), distorts Scripture (Matt 4:6), opposes believers (2 Cor 2:11), and finally is judged (Matt 25:41; Rev 19:20–21; 20:13–15). Therefore the conclusion that the figure behind the poetic symbol is the serpent (also known as the adversary, the devil, Satan; Rev 12:9) is a logical one.

C. (:19) Reaction to Divine Judgment

1. Reaction of the Observing Nations

“All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you;”

2. Reaction of the King of Tyre

“You have become terrified, and you will be no more.”


“And the word of the LORD came to me saying,

‘Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, prophesy against her,

and say, Thus says the Lord God,’”

Constable: Another oracle concerning Sidon, Tyre’s neighbor about 20 miles to the north, came to the prophet from the Lord. God may have condemned Sidon because of its close association with Tyre, though it was responsible for its own actions.

Douglas Stuart: Ezekiel’s audience knew that Sidon was the “second city” to Tyre in those days, a city of significant influence if not the leading city in Phoenicia. It was useful for them to hear that the prophecies against Phoenicia were not limited to Tyre. Sidon, too, would come under God’s judgment.

A. (:22b) Divine Opposition and Purpose of Judgment

1. Divine Opposition and Purpose of Judgment = Manifesting God’s Glory

“Behold, I am against you, O Sidon,

And I shall be glorified in your midst.”

Derek Thomas: No immediate reason is given for Sidon’s judgement, but we may assume that the city had sided with Tyre, perhaps contributing to Judah’s downfall to the Babylonians.

2. Recognition Refrain

“Then they will know that I am the LORD,”

3. Divine Opposition and Purpose of Judgment = Manifesting God’s Holiness

“when I execute judgments in her,

And I shall manifest My holiness in her.”

B. (:23-24) Specific Judgments on Sidon and Relief for Israel

1. (:23) Specific Judgments on Sidon

a. Pestilence and Death and the Sword

“For I shall send pestilence to her and blood to her streets,

And the wounded will fall in her midst

By the sword upon her on every side;”

b. Recognition Refrain

“Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

2. (:24) Relief for Israel

a. Removal of Enemy Irritation and Injury

“And there will be no more for the house of Israel a prickling brier or a painful thorn from any round about them who scorned them;”

b. Recognition Refrain

“then they will know that I am the Lord God.”

Peter Pett: As so often Ezekiel again reminds Israel that God has yet a future for them (Ezekiel 11:17-20; Ezekiel 14:11; Ezekiel 16:60-63; Ezekiel 18:30-31; Ezekiel 20:41-44). In all that is happening He has not deserted them, indeed in the final analysis He only purposes good for them. There is no mention of judgment. This is now seen as technically accomplished, and He looks beyond to future blessing.


“Thus says the Lord God,”

A. (:25-26a) Regathering for the Purpose of Secure Living in the Promised Land

1. (:25a) Regathering Israel to Manifest God’s Holiness

a. Regathering

“When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples

among whom they are scattered,”

McGee: One reason that so many theologians are believed when they say that God is through with the nation Israel is because God’s people are not acquainted with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the minor prophets. The theme song of these prophets is that God is not through with Israel as a nation.

b. Manifesting Holiness

“and shall manifest My holiness in them

in the sight of the nations,”

2. (:25b-26a) Secure Dwelling in the Promised Land after Purging Judgments

a. Secure Dwelling in the Promised Land

“then they will live in their land which I gave to My servant Jacob. And they will live in it securely;

and they will build houses, plant vineyards, and live securely,”

Constable: After the Babylonian Captivity some Israelites returned to live in the Promised Land, but they did not live there in safety. In fact, the Jews have never yet lived safely in their own land. Fulfillment awaits the return of Jesus Christ and His millennial kingdom.

b. Purging Judgments of Israel’s Enemies

“when I execute judgments upon all who scorn them round about them.”

B. (:26b) Recognition Refrain

“Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.”

Douglas Stuart: God, on the other hand, knew “the end from the beginning” and knew what He was planning to do for His people. Thus He announces in verse 26 that Israel would return from captivity in fulfillment of the ancient promises of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 4 and 30, would rise to greatness, and would dwell securely again in the Promised Land. This blessed series of events would follow necessarily upon the subjugation of the nations that opposed Israel, as verse 27 states, and as the immediate context (oracles against foreign nations) reminds us. Once again, the ultimate result would be God’s glorification, as this time not merely the foreign nations but Israel itself would “know that I am the Lord.”

Iain Duguid: Indeed, God will demonstrate his holiness—the distinctiveness of his being—not only by judging the nations but also by once again gathering his own people to the Promised Land. He will demonstrate his power by giving them peace and security in the land promised to the patriarchs in the sight of the nations all around (28:25). The people will once again be able to build houses and plant vineyards (28:26), long-term projects that speak of settled security. Then all nations will see that Israel is God’s people and he is their God, which has been the goal of his covenant relationship with them from the outset (Ex. 6:7). This point is underlined in the modified version of the recognition formula used. Instead of the usual “then they will know that I am the Lord,” the oracle closes, “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God” (Ezek. 28:26). Paradise, which the king of Tyre claimed and lost, may still be regained by God’s own people.