Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Book Of Isaiah. Day 98, A Prophecy Against Tyre, Part Three

Isaiah has been predicting the fall of the great city of Tyre and its prosperous seaport, as well as the fall of many other wealthy and magnificent cities of Phoenicia.

"Till your land as they do along the Nile, daughter Tarshish, for you no longer have a harbor." (Isaiah 23:10) Tarshish means "smelting place" and they made some fine metalworks there. Tarshish was a very prosperous seaport along the Mediterranean but it too would suffer destruction. Not only that, but the people of Tarshish could no longer travel to and from the seaport of Tyre. Isaiah says, "You might as well become farmers. You won't be able to transport any fine works made by your artisans. This line of commerce will be cut off. Till the soil and plant crops instead."

The destruction Isaiah foresees won't come for a while. The region of Phoenicia will first be attacked by the Assyrian Empire, then later by the Neo-Babylonian Empire, then what remained of the seaport of Tyre will be practically demolished by the Greek Empire. But the prophet speaks of the downfall of the great cities of that region as if it has already happened because he knows it will happen. "The Lord has stretched out His hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. He said, 'No more of your reveling, Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed! Up, cross over to Cyprus; even there you will find no rest.'" (Isaiah 23:11-12)

In the Bible we often find nations that have never been conquered referred to as "virgins". Sidon was a powerful ancient city but it will not be able to prevent the Lord's judgment against it from coming true. It will be invaded and plundered.

"Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account! The Assyrians have made it a place of desert creatures; they raised up their siege towers, they stripped its fortresses bare and turned it into a ruin. Wail, you ships of Tarshish; your fortress is destroyed!" (Isaiah 23:13-14) Isaiah says, "Look at how the Assyrian Empire conquered Babylon! Don't think you will be able to defend yourself any better than Babylon did. The same fate will befall you."

We know from history that, in time, the Neo-Babylonian Empire arose and threw off the shackles of Assyria and that Assyria ceased to be a great empire. But that doesn't mean Phoenicia's troubles are behind it after Babylon rises to power; Babylon will set its sights on the region of Tyre, Sidon, Tarshish, and other great maritime cities in that part of the world. 

Isaiah, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, views these coming events and speaks with the authority of absolute certainty when he states that they will happen exactly the way the Lord says they will happen. I don't know whether Isaiah knew which of these events might happen in his lifetime or in the lifetimes of his listeners, but he knows that every word the Lord speaks is going to come true, whether it happens in a year or in a hundred years or in a thousand years or in ten thousand years. We are living in an era when we are able to look back through history and see that everything Isaiah predicted against the ancient cities of his day has come true.

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