Tag Archives: Ezekiel

Visualizing Isaiah 23: Tyre is laid waste

Isaiah 23 is an oracle concerning the famous Phoenician port city of Tyre. The Mediterranean world of Egypt, Tarshish, Cyprus, and the neighboring city of Sidon, would be affected by the fall of Tyre.

More details about the prophecy concerning Tyre are given in Ezekiel 26-28. Nebuchadnezzar is named as one of the kings who will bring about the fall of Tyre. He besieged Tyre for 13 years (585-572 B.C.), immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. The people of Tyre fled from their mainland city to the island about ½ mile offshore. But Tyre was to be destroyed by many nations. Alexander the Great came to Tyre in 332 B.C. Most of the cities in his path surrendered, but the people of Tyre prepared to resist him. The more powerful Greeks used the debris of the desolate mainland city to build a causeway to the island. Alexander’s army captured the island city in seven months.

Ezekiel says the city “will be built no more” (Ezekiel 26:14). The mainland city has never been rebuilt. From my first visit to Tyre in 1967, I continued to visit the city until 1975, and then again in 2002. Political and military conditions have made it impossible to visit more times.

The diagram below hopefully will help to explain what we have briefly explained here. It was prepared by my friend Steven Sebree of Moonlight Graphic Works for one of my books which is currently out of print.

The mainland has not been rebuilt since the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (585-572 B.C.).

The mainland city has not been rebuilt since the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (585-572 B.C.). The causeway to the island was built by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

By 315 B.C. the island city was rebuilt, but was populated by Carians from SW Asia Minor. The present city of Tyre occupied the island and the causeway. The photo below shows a view to the west of a Roman arch built over the causeway built by the Greeks. The island city is visible beyond the arch.

A Roman arch built on the causeway built by Alexander the Great. View West. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A Roman arch on the causeway built by Alexander the Great. The view is to the west and the modern island city. There is no city on the mainland. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Watchman

The watchman (or watchmen) is mentioned at least 35 times in the Old Testament. His role was one of great significance in keeping a city safe from attackers.

The prophet Ezekiel was appointed as a watchman over the house of Israel.

Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must give them a warning from me. (Ezekiel 3:17 NET)

Further explanation is given in chapter 33.

But suppose the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people. Then the sword comes and takes one of their lives. He is swept away for his iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for that person’s death. (Ezekiel 33:6 NET)

The Psalmist reminds us that the LORD must be the true guard of a city.

If the LORD does not build a house, then those who build it work in vain. If the LORD does not guard a city, then the watchman stands guard in vain. (Psalm 127:1 NET)

This photo was made a the site of Hazor where a warrior stands in the position of a watchman over the city. The watchtower allows him to look in all directions, but especially to the north. The prophets of Israel warned of the approaching enemy from the north. See Jeremiah 1:14 and Isaiah 14:31.

The Watchman at Hazor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Watchman at Hazor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The closest thing to the concept of the watchman in the New Testament is found in the description of the “leaders” among Christians mentioned in Hebrews 13:17.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you. (NET)

William Hendriksen points out that the identity of the leaders is not specified.

Those leaders who had spoken the Word of God in earlier days were no longer present. They must be remembered for their conduct and faith, says the author of Hebrews 13:7. Successive leaders have taken their place. The writer is not interested in the status of these leaders—he gives no hint whether they were elders, overseers, preachers, or teachers. Rather, he asks the reader to obey them. (New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Hebrews, 426)