Tyre-d Out – Part III

by The Doctor

We’ve already spent some time talking about a Biblical city named Tyre. The Old Testament book of Ezekiel tells us that the people who lived in the city of Tyre were well known for their prideful, arrogant and materialistic attitudes. They were pleased when bad things happened to others and worst of all, the people of Tyre refused to acknowledge God.

It was attitudes like these (among other things) that eventually got the people of Tyre into really big trouble…

“Therefore the Lord God says: ‘I stand against you, Tyre, and I will bring nations against you like ocean waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down her towers. I will scrape away her soil and make her a bare rock! Her island shall become uninhabited, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, for I have spoken it,’ says the Lord God. 

Tyre shall become the prey of many nations, and her mainland city shall perish by the sword. Then they shall know I am the Lord.’For the Lord God says: ‘I will bring Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon– the king of kings from the north– against Tyre with a great army and cavalry and chariots. 

First he will destroy your suburbs; then he will attack your mainland city by building a siege wall and raising a roof of shields against it. He will set up battering rams against your walls and with sledgehammers demolish your forts. The hoofs of his cavalry will choke the city with dust, and your walls will shake as the horses gallop through your broken gates, pulling chariots behind them.

Horsemen will occupy every street in the city; they will butcher your people, and your famous, huge pillars will topple. They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timber and even your dust into the sea. 

I will stop the music of your songs. No more will there be the sound of harps among you. I will make your island a bare rock, a place for fishermen to spread their nets. You will never be rebuilt, for I, the Lord, have spoken it. So says the Lord'” (Ezekiel 26:3-14).

Pretty serious, huh? Now you may recall from last time that the city of Tyre was unique in the fact that it was a dual city. The main city was located on the coast of the Mediterranean ocean and the secondary city was located on an island just 1200 yards (1100 m) offshore.

Now there is a good reason why The Doctor has quoted the lengthy prophecy seen above. You see, there is something very interesting within these verses but it’s easy to miss if you aren’t reading carefully.

Verse 7 tells us, “I will bring Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon– the king of kings from the north– against Tyre with a great army and cavalry and chariots.” Then the following verses say this…

  • “…he will destroy your suburbs; then he will attack your mainland city…” (Verse 8).
  • He will set up battering rams against your walls…” (Verse 9).
  • “The hoofs of his cavalry will choke the city with dust…” (Verse 10, emphasis added to all).

But now look the slight change that comes along in Verse 12…

  • They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timber and even your dust into the sea” (emphasis added)/li>

Did you notice that the words of this prediction change from singular to plural? If you think that this means something important then you’re absolutely right. It means that the destruction of Tyre was going to be something undertaken by more than one person and history tells us that this is exactly what happened.

So with that bit of background, here’s the story of how God’s Word came to pass just as the Bible said it would…

“For the Lord God says: ‘I will bring Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon– the king of kings from the north– against Tyre with a great army and cavalry and chariots'” (Ezekiel 26:7).

Nebuchadnezzar is well-known to many people as the man who took three young guys who honored God and tried to make them bow down before a 90 ft. (27 m) gold statue (see Daniel chapter 3 for the whole story). But what is less known about Nebuchadnezzar is that he was also one of the major military commanders of his time. As leader of the Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar conquered many of the surrounding areas (including the nation of Israel) during his reign from about 605 to 562 BC.

During the course of his conquests, Nebuchadnezzar eventually came up against the city of Tyre just as God said he would through prophet Ezekiel. History tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was so determined to capture Tyre that he and his troops hammered the city for 13 years before they were finally able to break through and get inside. Unfortunately, once they got into the city they found that all the people inside the mainland city had escaped to the island portion of Tyre.

This presented a real problem for Nebuchadnezzar. While Nebuchadnezzar had a terrific army, one thing that he lacked was a navy that could sail out to the island city of Tyre and continue the fight. Without a fleet of fighting ships, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to give up his attack against Tyre. So with 13 years of hard work down the drain, Nebuchadnezzar responded by flattening the mainland city and leaving it to remain as a pile of junk. Then he left.

So now the mainland city of Tyre was gone but the island nation still existed so God’s Word through the prophet must have been wrong, right? Well, not so fast- there’s more to the story.

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