The Oracle Concerning Tyre

23: 1-18

    REFLECT: Chapters 13 through 23 reflect upon the foolishness of Judah depending upon alliances with the other nations rather than upon God to protect her from Assyria. What do you see as one implication of that loyalty principle for your life today? To what or to whom have you looked to fill that God-shaped void of insecurity in your life?

    Whereas Babylon’s love was for glory and military power, Tyre’s love was for money and the luxury and influence it would buy. As the playwright said, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” – and Tyre would have echoed that sentiment. The strange thing about money is that there is never enough. No matter how much we get, we always seem to want more. It is difficult to separate the money from what we think it can buy. How big a house is big enough? How many cars are enough? How many television sets? How much clothing? And how much do we need for a “comfortable” retirement? The idea of moderation has gone out of fashion. What are we looking for? Comfort? Pleasure? Security? These are the things people have been looking for since the beginning of time. And what will give these things to us? Money. Lots and lots of money. In other words, we are a little different from Tyre.

    We must remember that the money is the LORD’s, not ours. There is the fatal error. We keep thinking how generous we are by allowing ADONAI to have ten percent of our money. If we are to learn the lesson of Tyre, we must learn to let go of our wealth and relearn the reality of trusting God. Like them, we need to learn that we are really working for God, and all our money is set apart for the LORD (23:18).77

    Tyre was the wealthy capital of Phoenicia. Tyre’s pre-eminence in world trade was due to her geographical situation, with two excellent harbors, one on the mainland, and the other on the offshore island which gave the city its name Tyre, meaning rock. A causeway, built in the tenth century BC by Hiram I, connected the two and this effectively doubled the trading potential of the city. At the same time, when danger threatened, it made it possible to retreat into the island stronghold, which thus became a treasure-chest, warehouse, and impregnable fortress of the Tyrians. As a commercial center, Tyre was famous for her glassware and for her dyed materials, using the purple dye made from the local shellfish. . . Tyre regarded herself as all-powerful, superhuman and virtually eternal; she possessed wealth and wisdom above all other cities, and this led to the incredible arrogance for which Tyre was notorious.78

    A few centuries before Alexander the Great arrived on the scene, the Babylonians had conquered Tyre. As a result, they moved their city from the mainland to an island a half mile offshore. Although small, the island was seemingly impenetrable. The new Tyre was built on a fortified rock, having a 150 foot wall around the entire island. Because of their offshore location and the unsurpassed Phoenician navy to defend them, the people, and the king of Tyre believed they were invincible.


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