For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

28:1.  “The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,”


28:2.  “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:”


Certainly this is God’s rebuke of the inordinate pride of Tyre’s king, who is clearly a type of the Tribulation-age Beast emperor; but it is also clear that the ultimate application is to Satan, the evil power behind every earthly throne, whose equally great pride impelled his attempted usurpation of God’s prerogatives.


28:3.  “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:”


This is a question, not a statement, “Art thou wiser than Daniel; is there no secret that they can hide from thee?”  It may indeed have been the conceited attitude of Tyre’s king relative to his imagined superiority, but again it is clear that the application is to Satan.


28:4.  “With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:”


By his innate shrewdness and phenomenal business acumen Tyre’s king had amassed great wealth, but the final application continues to be to Satan.


28:5.  “By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:”


An exceptional intellect, and business ability had combined to make the king exceedingly rich, but those riches had generated arrogant pride which God was about to abase, for pride heads the list of the things which He hates, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look ...” Pr 6:16-17.  In the king of Tyre, however, God bids us see the typological representative of Satan.


28:6.  “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;”


As the king of Tyre thought himself to be a god, so also did Satan think himself to be the equal of God.


28:7.  “Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.”


In spite of his lofty pretension and imagined invincibility, the proud king was about to learn that he was a mere man.  God was about to bring against him a destroyer, Babylon, “the terrible of the nations,” i.e., the most ruthless, most barbarous of all the nations, against whom the king’s wisdom would be powerless, and by whose hand his glory would be defiled, trampled in the dust.


In the ignominious end of Tyre’s proud king, God would have us see the foreshadowing of Satan’s equally certain downfall.


28:8.  “They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.”


The pit may be the grave, but almost invariably it means hell, and there can be no question that that is the meaning here.


The plural “deaths” reminds us that there are two: one, the decease of the body; and two, the consignment of the soul, first to hell, and eternally of body, soul, and spirit, to the lake of fire, which “is the second death,” Re 20:14.


“... in the midst of the seas,” probably has literal reference to Tyre’s maritime supremacy, but it may also refer symbolically to earth’s human multitudes.


28:9.  “Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.”


God’s question posed to Tyre’s king is whether he will still insist that he is a god even as he is about to be slain by the enemy.  Very obviously the answer is, No; but in the final analysis, the question is propounded to Satan, and the answer remains the same: he will relinquish all claim to Divinity when God consigns him to eternal torment in the lake of fire.


28:10.  “Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.”


For the significance of “the deaths” see comments on verse 8.


Since circumcision speaks symbolically of the cutting off of the deeds of the flesh, which occurs at the moment of the new birth, the death of Tyre’s king as one uncircumcised, declares that he had never had that new spiritual birth which saves one from hell and fits him for heaven.


“... strangers” in the present context means the Babylonians and their allies.


28:11.  “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,”


28:12.  “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus.  and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”


It is to be noted that here the term prince is exchanged for king, and for good reason.  In declaring Tyre’s king to be the personification of wisdom and beauty it is clear that this could not be said of any mere man, no matter how brilliant his mind, or perfect his body.  The full application can only be to Satan prior to his fall, when he was Lucifer, the shining one, the anointed cherub, see verse 14.  Satan is the evil power, the actual king behind the throne of ancient Tyre, and of every other earthly kingdom.


28:13.  “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”


Neither the king of Tyre, nor of any other kingdom, has ever been in Eden.  Only of Satan can it be said that he had been in Eden, and only of him could it be said that these precious stones had been his covering.


The tabrets and pipes are timbrels or tambourines, and flutes respectively, implying very clearly Satan’s association with music, and it is significant that musical experts have drawn attention to the fact that a great deal of the modern music so-called is aberrant, and affects the mind adversely.


28:14.  “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”


These words could apply to no one except Satan in his unfallen state; and that he is a creature, and not the Creator, is declared in the words, “and I (God) have set thee so.”  He had been privileged to stand in the very presence of God in heaven, and to walk unharmed in the fire which is associated with God’s throne.


28:15.  “Thou wast perfect (blameless) in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”


For how long he remained blameless in his conduct isn’t revealed, but there did come a day when the deadly flaw in his character was revealed.  Not content with the glory which transcended that of every other creature, he sought to seize the throne of heaven, destroy God, and himself alone rule as God.


28:16.  “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”


This continues to reveal that Satan was the unseen evil power behind the throne of Tyre, the human king being but an instrument in his hand to do his diabolic work.


Other translations of this verse are, “Through the greatness of your trade you filled your mind with lawlessness,” The Bible, An American Translation; “Your commerce grew so great, lawlessness filled your heart,” The New English Bible.


The application is two-fold: first, to the human king of Tyre; and then to his unseen diabolic master, Satan, as is made clear by what follows in the latter half of the verse, for as has been noted already only he has stood in “the mountain of God,” i.e., in the very presence of God; and only he is called the covering cherub.


28:17.  “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”


Lucifer’s beauty had filled his heart with pride, and his glory had debased, corrupted, depraved his wisdom, with the result that God must cast him out of heaven, and limit his activity to the earth.  His being laid before kings may be true of the human Tyrian king at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of the city, or it may be descriptive of the day still future when Satan will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit during the Millennium.


28:18.  “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.


“... defiled thy sanctuaries” is also translated “profaned your sacredness,” The Bible: An American Translation; “profaned your sacred position,” Moffat’s Translation of the Bible.  It is difficult to see this as being descriptive of the city of Tyre, but easy to see it as describing the unfallen Lucifer.  Nor did Tyre’s fall result from a fire in the midst of her, but rather as a result of her destruction at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.  Ashes, therefore, may be used here symbolically to portray Lucifer’s fallen state.


28:19.  “All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”


This could apply as easily to the fallen Lucifer as to the defeated Tyrian king. 


“... astonished” is also translated appalled: aghast: dismayed.


“... thou shalt be a terror” is also translated you will become a horror: an object of terror: you will come to a fearful end.


The impossibility of the restoration of the Tyrian king, or of Satan, is certified in the words, “never shalt thou be any more.”


28:20.  “Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,”


28:21.  “Son of man, set they face against Zidon (Sidon), and prophesy against it,”


Zidon (Sidon), modern-day Saida, was located about twenty-five miles north of Tyre, and like Tyre was a busy port, and continues to be so today.


28:22.  “And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.”


Verse 24 indicates that Zidon, had done harm to Israel, the harm being her inducement to Israel to worship idols, particularly Ashtaroth and Baal, hence God’s angry announcement, “I am against thee, O Zidon.”  It was Ahab’s wife Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal kind of the Zidonians, who had led Israel into idolatry.


Concerning Israel, God has declared, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn,” Ex 4:22; and again it is written concerning Israel, “... he that toucheth you toucheth the apple (pupil) of his (God’s) eye,” Zech 2:8.


“... and shall be sanctified in her,” is also translated, “and shall display my holiness in her”: “in her my holiness shall be vindicated.”


28:23.  “For I will send into her pestilence (disease), and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; and they shall know that I am the Lord.”


Zidon’s destruction would be by means of disease and war, “the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her by the sword” meaning that their destruction would be the evidence of their having been judged by God, and found guilty.


“... and they shall know that I am the Lord” is the repeated reminder that men will either know God as Savior through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; or as Destroyer through their failure to trust in Christ.


28:24.  “And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord God.”


This very clearly points to the coming Millennium, when Israel will be the head and not the tail of the nations, she being then the world center of government, all the nations that have treated her with contempt and hatred being then made subject to her rule.


28:25.  “Thus saith the Lord God; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.”


Following the Great Tribulation, the Lord will gather the Jews back to Palestine from all the nations amongst which they will have been scattered, His being “sanctified in them” meaning that His holiness will then be reflected in the holiness of Israel.


Israel is her name as a spiritual nation; and Jacob her name as an earthly people, the use of the latter name here pointing to the fact that in the Millennium she will still be an earthly people, but will nonetheless reflect the holiness of God that is implied in her spiritual name Israel, which incidentally means He shall be prince of God.


28:26.  “And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God.”


This continues to describe the felicity of Israel in the Millennium.  The long-promised kingdom, so long forfeited by their rebellion, will then be theirs to enjoy to the full; the judgment mentioned here being that which the Lord will execute upon the nations at the end of the Great Tribulation, and that will result in His banishment into hell of all the unconverted, and His gracious invitation to the converted remnant of Israel, and the converted remnant of the nations, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” Mt 26:34.


“... and they shall know that I am the Lord their God.”  All of God’s dealings with men have as their objective their being brought to know Him: believers coming to know Him as the God of love, mercy, and grace; unbelievers coming to know Him as the God of impartial, inflexible judgment, the One Who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and (who) canst not look on iniquity,” Hab 1:13, and who will by no means clear the guilty, Nu 14:18, the guilty being those who refuse to have their sins cleansed by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

[Ezekiel 29]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough