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. 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 332 BC, when Alexander the Great attacked the city. Scholars aren't sure which battle the prophecy was actually pointing to. In 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 most 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 64 BC, 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.
References and Footnotes
- Joshua J. Mark. "Tyre". Ancient History Encyclopedia. September 2, 2009
- Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 1158-1159. 2015
- "Tyre". Encyclopædia Brittanica. January 12, 2000
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