Isaiah 23: Tyre

Tyre is a city in Lebanon that is featured prominently in the Bible. The most memorable thing, to me, about Tyre is that this is where much of the wood and skill for the Temple came from. Although Tyre didn't butt heads with Israel the way most of the other nations in the region did, Isaiah still has a prophecy of judgement for them, found here in Isaiah 23.


Tyre is discussed quite a bit in the Bible. The wood for the Temple came from Tyre (2 Samuel 5:11), and Jesus visited Tyre at one point in His life (Matthew 15:21). This ancient city is still with us today and is located in Lebanon.[1] During ancient times, Tyre was part of Phoenicia. Although it doesn't appear to be an enemy of Israel, Tyre was not a perfect city (as we just saw, neither was Israel). The judgments Isaiah prophesied are for all the cities and nations because all have fallen short of the glory of God.

Prophecy & Fulfillment

Tyre's defeat was imminent according to God, but it was not meant to stay that way. After 70 years, Tyre would be reclaimed by God and regain some of it's glory. Several assaults on Tyre occurred after the prophet Isaiah spoke these words. Both the Assyrians and the Babylonians waged war with Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar oversaw a 13 year siege on the city during the 6th century. Tyre came under attack once again in 332bc, when Alexander the Great attacked the city.[2][3] Scholars aren't sure which battle the prophecy was actually pointing to. End the end, Tyre's renewed value would go to God's people.

The major clue to pinpointing the battle that was foretold is the fact that 70 years later the city would be prosperous again. Based on what I've read, I would assume it was referring to the defeat by Alexander the Great. The reason I make this assumption is because not only did Alexander the Great destroy most of the city, causing mose to flee or be captured, ~70 years later, Tyre changed hands again to become part of Ptolemaic Egypt. Sometime between then and when Rome captured it in 64bc, Tyre had regained value. The encyclopedia informs us that under Roman rule Tyre was "renowned" for it's merchandise. Likely, this is why Roman captured the city in the first place. When Jesus is crucified, they place a purple robe upon Him (John 19:5); the dye for the robe likely came from Tyre. Since Tyre was so close to Israel, it is likely that much of it's goods went to Israel even before the Roman occupation, but we can easily see that after the Roman occupation of both nations, goods from Tyre made their way back to Israel.


  1. Joshua J. Mark. "Tyre". Ancient History Encyclopedia. September 2, 2009
  2. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 1158-1159. 2015
  3. "Tyre". Encyclopædia Brittanica. January 12, 2000

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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