INTRODUCTION TO EZEKIEL 28
This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of the prince of Tyre; a lamentation for the king of Tyre; a denunciation of judgments on Zidon, and a promise of peace and safety to Israel. The order given the prophet to prophesy of the ruin of the prince of Tyre, Ezekiel 28:1, the cause of his ruin, his pride on account of his wisdom and riches, which rose to such a pitch, as to make himself God, Ezekiel 28:2, the manner in which his destruction shall be accomplished, Ezekiel 28:7, the lamentation for the king of Tyre begins Ezekiel 28:11, setting forth his former grandeur and dignity, Ezekiel 28:13, his fall, and the cause of it, injustice and violence in merchandise, pride because of beauty and wisdom, and profanation of sanctuaries, Ezekiel 28:16, next follow the judgments on Zidon, Ezekiel 28:20, and the chapter is concluded with a promise of the restoration of the Jews to their own land, and of great tranquillity and safety in it, Ezekiel 28:24.
The word of the Lord came again unto me,.... With another prophecy; as before against the city of Tyre, now against the king of Tyre:
saying; as follows:
Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre,.... Whose name was Ethbaal, or Ithobalus, as he is called in Josephus; for that this was Hiram that was in the days of Solomon, and lived a thousand years, is a fable of the Jewish Rabbins, as Jerom relates: this prince of Tyre is thought by some to be an emblem of the devil; but rather of antichrist; and between them there is a great agreement, and it seems to have a prophetic respect to him:
thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up: with pride, on account of his wisdom and knowledge, wealth and riches, as later mentioned:
and thou hast said, I am a god; this he said in his heart, in the pride of it, and perhaps expressed it with his lips, and required divine homage to be given him by his subjects, as some insolent, proud, and haughty monarchs have done; in which he was a lively type of antichrist, who shows himself, and behaves, as if he was God, taking upon him what belongs to God; pardoning the sins of men; opening and shutting the gates of heaven; binding men's consciences with laws of his own making, and dispensing with the laws of God and man; and calling himself or suffering himself to be called God, and to be worshipped as such; See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:4,
I sit in the seat of God; in a place as delightful, safe and happy, as heaven itself, where the throne of God is; so antichrist is said to sit in the temple of God, in the house and church of God; where he assumes a power that does not belong to him, calling himself God's vicegerent, and Christ's vicar; see 2 Thessalonians 2:4, and the Arabic version here renders it "in the house of God": it follows,
in the midst of the seas; surrounded with them as Tyre was, and lord of them as its king was; sending his ships into all parts, and to whom all brought their wares; thus the whore of Rome is said to sit upon many waters, Revelation 17:2,
yet thou art a man, and not God; a frail, weak, mortal man, and not the mighty God, as his later destruction shows; and as the popes of Rome appear to be, by their dying as other men; and as antichrist will plainly be seen to be when he shall be destroyed with the breath of Christ's mouth, and the brightness of his coming:
though thou set thine heart as the heart of God; as if it was as full of wisdom and knowledge as his; and thinkest as well of thyself, that thou art a sovereign as he, and to be feared, obeyed, and submitted to by all.
Behold; thou art wiser than Daniel,.... That is, in his own opinion; or it is ironically said. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it by way of interrogation, "art thou not wiser than Daniel?" who was now at the court of Babylon, and was famous throughout all Chaldea for his knowledge in politics, his wisdom and prudence in government, as well as his skill in interpreting dreams. The Jews have a saying, that
"if all the wise men of the nations were in one scale, and Daniel in the other, he would weigh them all down.'
And perhaps the fame of him had reached the king of Tyre, and yet he thought himself wiser than he; see Zechariah 9:2, antichrist thinks himself wiser than Daniel, or any of the prophets and apostles; he is wise above that which is written, and takes upon him the sole interpretation of the Scriptures, and to fix the sense of them:
there is no secret that they can hide from thee; as he fancied; he had sagacity to penetrate into the councils of neighbouring princes, and discover all plots and intrigues against him; he understood all the "arcana" and secrets of government, and could counterwork the designs of his enemies. Antichrist pretends to know all mysteries, and solve all difficulties, and pass an infallible judgment on things; as if he was of the privy council of heaven, and nothing was transacted there but he was acquainted with it, and had full knowledge of the mind of God in all things.
With thy wisdom and with thy understanding thou hast gotten thee riches,.... Through skill in navigation and trade, for which the Tyrians and their princes were famous, they acquired great wealth: so antichrist, by carnal policy, and hellish subtlety, has amassed vast treasures together; the sale of pardons and indulgences has brought immense riches into the pope's coffers:
and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures; in great quantities; see Revelation 18:3.
By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic,.... Or, "by thy great wisdom in thy traffic"
hast thou increased thy riches; to a very great degree, a prodigious bulk; so antichrist has done, especially through trafficking with the souls of men, which is one part of his merchandise, as it was of Tyre, Revelation 18:13,
and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches; which are apt to puff up and make men highminded, and swell them with a vain opinion of themselves, and to make haughty, insolent, and scornful, in their behaviour to others; thus elated with worldly grandeur and riches, the whore of Rome is represented as proud, vain, and haughty, Revelation 18:7.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God,.... Now follows the punishment threatened, because of all this pride, haughtiness, and blasphemy:
because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; seeking thine own glory; setting up thyself above all others; assuming that to thyself which belongs to God; and making thyself equal to him, or showing thyself as if thou wast God; See Gill on Ezekiel 28:2.
Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers upon thee,.... The Chaldean army, who not only lived at a distance from Tyre, but were unknown to them, not trading with them; nor are they mentioned among the merchants of Tyre: these, in the mystical sense, may design the angels that shall pour out the vials on the antichristian states, the kings of Protestant nations:
the terrible of the nations; as the Babylonians were, very formidable to the world, having conquered many countries, and their armies consisting of men of all nations, mighty, courageous, and expert in war; and alike formidable will the Protestant princes be to the antichristian powers, when they shall with their united strength attack them:
and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom; their beautiful city and spacious buildings, the palaces of their king and nobles, their walls and towers erected with so much art and skill; or their forces, the men of war within their city, which made their beauty complete, so well skilled in military affairs, Ezekiel 27:10, or their ships, and the merchandise of them, and the curious things brought in them: even everything that was rich and valuable, the effect of their art and wisdom: all which may be applied to the city of Rome, when it will be taken, ransacked, and burnt, Revelation 18:8,
and they shall defile thy brightness; profane thy crown, cast down thy throne, destroy thy kingdom, and all that is great and glorious in thee; thus the whore of Rome shall be made bare and desolate, Revelation 17:16. The Targum renders it,
"the brightness of thy terror;'
which shall no more strike the nations, or affect them.
They shall bring thee down to the pit,.... Or, "to corruption"
and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas; that die in a sea fight, whose carcasses are thrown overboard, and devoured by fishes.
Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God?.... When thou art in the enemies' hands, and just going to be put to death, wilt thou then confidently assert thy deity, and to his face tell him that thou art God? surely thy courage and thy confidence, thy blasphemy and impiety, will leave thee then; a bitter sarcasm this! and so the pope of Rome, the antichristian beast, when taken, and just going to be cast into the lake of fire along with the false prophet, will not have the impudence to style himself God, or to call himself Christ's vicar on earth:
but thou shalt be a man, and no god, in the hand of him that slayeth thee; that is, thou shalt appear to be a poor, weak, frail, mortal, trembling, dying man, when got into the hand of the enemy, and he is just going to put an end to thy life; where will be then thy boasted deity?
Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised,.... Or the death of the wicked, as the Targum; the first and second death, temporal and eternal: the former
by the hand of strangers, the Chaldeans, in various shapes; and the latter will follow upon it: it may denote the various kinds of death which the inhabitants of Rome will die when destroyed, some by famine, some by pestilence, and others by fire; when these plagues shall come upon her in one day, Revelation 18:8.
for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God; and therefore it shall surely come to pass; strong is the Lord that will judge, condemn, and destroy mystical Babylon, or Tyre.
Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me,.... After the prophecy concerning the ruin of the prince of Tyre, the word of the Lord came to the prophet, ordering him to take up a lamentation on the king of Tyre:
saying; as follows:
Take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus,.... Who is before called the prince of Tyre; and who he was See Gill on Ezekiel 28:2, the bishop of Rome was first only a "nagid", a prince, ruler, governor, and leader in the church; afterwards he became a king, a head, even over other kings, princes, and states; perhaps this may also point to his twofold power, secular and ecclesiastical, and so he is represented by two beasts, Revelation 13:1, here a lamentation or funeral ditty is ordered to be taken up and said for him, to denote his certain destruction and ruin; though some have thought the fall of the angels, and others the fall of Adam, is referred to; several passages are interpreted of Adam in the Talmud
and say unto him, thus saith the Lord God, thou sealest up the sum; or "pattern"
full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty; a most accomplished man for parts and person in his own conceit: antichrist assumes to himself a perfect knowledge of the Scriptures, and sets up himself as an infallible judge of controversies; and glories in the splendour and order of his church, and the government of it.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God,.... Not only in Eden, but in the garden which was in Eden, and was of the Lord's immediate planting; and therefore called the garden of God, as well as because of its excellency, fragrancy, and delight; not that the king of Tyre was literally there, or ever dwelt in it; but his situation in Tyre was as safe, and as pleasant and delightful, as Adam's was in the garden of Eden, at least in his own imagination. So the Targum,
"thou delightest thyself with plenty of all good things and delectable ones, as if thou dwellest in the garden of God;'
in the mystical sense, this designs the church of God, which is an Eden, a garden, a paradise; see Song of Solomon 4:12 and where antichrist first appeared, and took his seat, and seated himself as if he was God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4,
every precious stone was thy covering; not only the covering of his head, his crown, was decked with jewels and precious stones of all sorts; but his clothes, the covering of his body, were adorned with them. So the Targum,
"all precious stones were set in order upon thy garments.'
Kimchi renders it "thine hedge", or "fence"
the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold. Writers differ very much about these stones; and it is difficult to say what answer to the Hebrew words here used. The stone "sardius", or the sardine stone, is of a blood colour, commonly called a cornelian, and is found in Sardis and Sardinia, from whence some say it has its name. The "topaz" is a hard transparent stone, said to be of a beautiful yellow or gold colour by those who confound it with the chrysolite; otherwise the true topaz is of a fine green colour, as Pliny
the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created; either born into the world; or made a crowned king; against which time, drums, and pipes, and such like instruments of music, were prepared in Tyre, and at them made use of by way of rejoicing: and as this was literally true of the king of Tyre at his coronation, so of the bishop of Rome at his creation and inauguration, which is attended with bells ringing, drums beating, trumpets sounding; and so in mystical Babylon is heard, though the time is coming when it will not be heard, the voice of harpers, musicians, pipers, and trumpeters, Revelation 18:22.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth,.... In allusion to the cherubim over the mercy seat, which covered it with their wings; and which, as the ark of the testimony and all the vessels of the tabernacle were anointed, were so likewise; in all probability the king of Tyre is called a "cherub" because of his wisdom and power; "anointed", because of his royal dignity; and "that covereth", because of his office, which was to protect his people; all which he either was, or ought to be, or was in his own opinion so: antichrist makes great boasts of his wisdom, power, and authority, as a teacher, pastor, or bishop, the cherubim being symbolical of the ministers of the word; and of his being anointed by men, that he may be the cover and shield of the church; and of his being the Lord's anointed, and the vicar of Christ, and head and protector of the church, as he calls himself
"thou art a king anointed for a kingdom:'
and I have set thee so; from whom all kings have their sceptres, crowns, and kingdoms; and by whom they reign; and who can put them down as well as set them up at his pleasure. It may be rendered, "I have given thee"
thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; not on Sinai, nor on Zion; on neither of which was the king of Tyre; nor was this literally true of him; for to say, as Kimchi does to illustrate it, that Hiram king of Tyre assisted Solomon with materials to build the temple, is very foreign; but this is true of the antitype of the king of Tyre, antichrist; who has set his foot on God's holy mountain the church; here he first appeared and stood, as before observed on the preceding verse:
thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire; which some understand of the precious stones with which the king of Tyre was adorned, which glittered like fire; though rather they design the people of God, those living lively stones of which the spiritual house is built; who, for their clear light, and burning zeal and love, may be said to be as stones of fire; and among these the bishop of Rome, or the antichristian king of Tyre, first walked: so Kimchi interprets them of the Israelites, who were a holy people; and Jarchi of the kings of Israel, who were as the ministering angels; the seraphim perhaps he means, so called from their burning and flaming love. The Targum is,
"and over the holy people thou hast thought to rule.'
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,.... From the time that Tyre became a kingdom, or this king was set over it, everything was wisely conducted, and all things happily succeeded; so when the church of Rome was first formed in the times of the apostles, it was laid on a good foundation; it was set up according to the rule of the word; its bishop or pastor was one of a sound judgment, a good life and conversation, and so continued In succession for a considerable time; these held the true faith and doctrine of Christ, and kept it incorrupt, and lived holy lives:
till iniquity was found in thee; pride, blasphemy against God, and contempt of his people, as well as violence and deceit; all this was found in the king of Tyre in later times: so in the church of Rome, when the man of sin was revealed, there were pride, haughtiness, and ambition, found in it; blasphemy against God and Christ, and the saints: false doctrine, false worship, superstition, and idolatry.
By the multitude of thy merchandise,.... With the several nations of the earth, who came to the markets and fairs of Tyre, and to whom she sent her goods:
they have filled the midst of thee with violence; or, as the Targum,
"thy treasures are filled with rapine;'
with ill gotten goods, as the pope's coffers are through his merchandise of the souls of men, and the great trade that is driven in pardons and indulgences:
and thou hast sinned; by this unjust and ungodly way of dealing:
therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; Mount Zion, the church of the living God, where he dwells, and is worshipped, and on which the Lamb stands with his hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name and his Father's on their foreheads, Revelation 14:1, these will have no communion with the church and pope of Rome; will not receive his mark, nor worship his image; from this mountain, and the inhabitants of it, he stands excluded as a profane person, with whom they will have nothing to do; and hence he persecutes them to the utmost of his power:
and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire; from among the people of God, who have the clear light of the Gospel, and a sincere love for Christ; these withdrew themselves from his jurisdiction and government; and with whom his name, power, and authority perish, especially when they shall have got the victory over him, Revelation 15:1. Kimchi paraphrases it,
"from the midst of the saints who are the Israelites, comparable to stones of fire;'
and Jarchi's note is,
"that thou mayest not take a portion with the righteous;'
have no part, lot, or fellowship with them. The Targum is,
"I will destroy thee, O king that art anointed, because thou thoughtest to rule over the holy people.'
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty,.... Riches, wealth, power, and authority; see Ezekiel 28:5, as the pope of Rome is, because of his dignity, the pomp and splendour of the Roman church, and the gaudy appearance it makes:
thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; outward lustre and glory, which dazzled his eyes so that he could not see things in a true light; but neglecting the word of God, and setting up his own infallibility, corrupted his doctrine and worship, and became foolish, stupid, and sottish:
I will cast thee to the ground; from the throne and pinnacle of honour, to the lowest state and condition:
and I will lay thee before kings: prostrate at the feet of them, who heretofore has set his feet on the necks of them; or he shall fall before them, and be destroyed by them, when they shall hate the whore, and make her desolate, and burn her flesh with fire, Revelation 17:16, that they may behold thee; with contempt and disdain, and as an instance and example of divine vengeance.
Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities,.... Or, "thy palaces", as Kimchi; the palace of the king, and the palaces of the nobles, where much iniquity was committed, and which was the cause of their being defiled or destroyed by the Chaldeans; or it may design their sacred places, their temples, where their gods were worshipped, and idolatry committed. This may be applied to the places of religious worship among the Papists, their churches; which, instead of being adorned, are defiled with their images and image worship, and other acts of superstition and will worship:
by the iniquity of thy traffic; as by bringing in ill gotten goods into the sacred places of Tyre, as they were accounted, so by selling pardons; praying souls out of purgatory for money; by simony, or buying and selling ecclesiastical benefices; and such like spiritual merchandise in Roman churches:
therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee; sin, and the punishment of it, as Kimchi; which, for sin committed in the midst of them, should consume as fire; or some from among themselves, that should stir up and cause internal divisions, which should issue in their ruin; as the unclean spirit that shall go out of the mouth of the beast, dragon, and false prophet, to gather the antichristian kings to battle, will end in their ruin, Revelation 16:14. The Targum is,
"I will bring people who are strong as fire, because of the sins of thy pride they shall destroy thee.'
Alexander, when he took Tyre, ordered all the inhabitants to be slain, excepting those that fled to the temples, and the houses to be set on fire
and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth, in the sight of all them that behold thee; the kings and merchants of the earth, who shall stand and look on the city as it is burning, and when reduced to ashes; which denotes the utter destruction of it, Revelation 18:9. The Targum is,
"I will give thee as ashes on the earth, &c.'
and shall be no more accounted of.
All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee,.... At thy fall; that such a mighty city, and powerful prince, should be destroyed at once; that, from such a height of prosperity, they should be brought to so low an estate of adversity; this will be the astonishment of kings, merchants, and others, that knew the riches, power, and flourishing estate of Rome, as before observed:
thou shalt be a terror; to the said persons, who will be afraid to come nigh for fear of the same torments and punishment, Revelation 18:10, or, though thou "hast been a terror"; or "terrors"; exceeding terrible to others in time past, yet now, as the Targum,
"I will give thee (or make thee) as if thou wast not:'
and never shalt thou be any more; as thou hast been, or after thy last destruction; so mystical Tyre or Babylon shall be no more, when once destroyed, Revelation 18:21.
Again, the word of the Lord came unto me,.... After the prophecy of the destruction of the prince and king of Tyre, concerning a neighbouring city:
saying as follows:
Son of man, set thy face against Zidon,.... An ancient city, near to Tyre, and in confederacy with it, greatly given to idolatry and superstition; and may design all the antichristian states in the communion of the church of Rome:
and prophesy against it; the prophet is bid to look towards this place with a stern countenance, as before against Tyre; threatening it with ruin, and prophesying of it, in the following manner.
The eternal Jehovah, the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth; this is said by way of preface to the prophecy, and to assure of the fulfilment of it, as well as in opposition to the gods of the Zidonians:
behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; angry with thee, and will come out against thee in my wrath, because of thine idolatries and impieties. The Targum is,
"behold, I send my fury upon thee, O Zidon:'
I will be glorified in the midst of thee; not by the conversion of them; nor by acts of religious worship truly performed by them: by prayer, confession of sin, or thanksgiving; but by his judgments executed in the midst of them; by pouring out the vials of his wrath on them, as it follows:
and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her; for the Lord is known, by the judgments he executes, to be that pure, holy, just, and sin avenging God he is, as well as omniscient and omnipotent; and this even Heathens and antichristian persons are obliged to acknowledge, Psalm 9:15,
and shall be sanctified in her; that is, shall appear, be declared and owned, to be a God, just and holy, in all his ways and works.
And I will send into her pestilence, and blood into her streets,.... The plague and the sword, which are two of God's sore judgments, and often go together; the pestilence slays them that are within, and the sword those the enemy meets with in the streets:
and the wounded shall be judged; that is, punished; or "shall fall"
in the midst of her by the sword upon her on every side; this was literally fulfilled in Zidon, either by Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army, which besieged it on every side; or by Artaxerxes Ochus the Persian, who took it, and destroyed it; and will have its accomplishment on the antichristian states, eastern and western, when the vials shall be poured out upon them, Revelation 16:1,
and they shall know that I am the Lord God; who am able to foretell things to come, and to accomplish them.
And there shall be no more a pricking brier to the house of Israel,.... To the church of God, Jews or Gentiles, particularly to the Jews, who will now be converted; all the enemies of Christ and his people will now be destroyed, who have been very grievous and distressing to them by their furious persecutions; the pope and Turk will be no more, nor any of the antichristian powers; the beast and false prophet will be taken and cast into the lake of fire; and there will be none to hurt and destroy in all the holy mountain, Revelation 19:20,
nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them that despised them; the same thing in other words as before; wicked men, especially tyrannical princes, furious persecutors of the saints, are like thorns and briers, not only unfruitful, useless, and unprofitable, but pricking, grieving, and hurtful to good men, by their persecutions, revilings, and reproaches, and whose end is to be burned. The Targum of the whole is,
"and there shall be no more to the house of Israel a king that doth evil (or hurt), or a governor that oppresses all round about them that spoil them:'
and they shall know that I am the Lord; the house of Israel, the Jews now converted, they shall know the Lord Christ, and acknowledge him to be their Lord and King.
Thus saith the Lord God, when I shall have gathered the house of Israel,.... Not at the return of them from captivity in Babylon; for the ten tribes or house of Israel did not then return; though there might some few of those tribes, as a pledge of what would be hereafter; but in the latter day, upon the destruction of antichrist, when all Israel shall be saved: and when they will be collected
from the people among whom they are scattered; in the several nations of the world, in Asia, Africa, and Europe:
and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the Heathen; being believed in by them; prayed unto and worshipped in a spiritual manner by them; professed and owned to be their Saviour and Redeemer in the face of the whole world, Christians and even Heathens, whom before they rejected: then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob; the land of Canaan, given by promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; which last is only here mentioned, because it was his posterity that was to possess it; not all Abraham's, only those in the line of Isaac; nor all Isaac's, only those in the line of Jacob; but all his; and this they will do when they are converted in the latter day, and be no more a vagabond people, as they now are.
And they shall dwell safely therein,.... There being none to make them afraid, all their enemies being destroyed, and they also under the protection of Christian princes:
and they shall build houses and plant vineyards; signifying their continuance in their land, and their enjoyment of the blessings of it. Cocceius understands this of churches gathered in the name of Christ; of which no doubt there will be many in Judea, as in the first times of the Gospel, and more abundantly:
yea, they shall dwell with confidence: in the utmost safety and security, having nothing to fear from any quarter:
when I have executed judgment upon all those that despise them round about them; took vengeance on them, and utterly destroyed them that despised or spoiled them, even all around them; they will all be cut off, so that there will be none to give them the least disturbance:
and they shall know that I am the Lord their God: not only God, as before, Ezekiel 28:24, but their God, their Lord and their God, their Redeemer and Saviour, whom they formerly denied, persecuted, and pierced.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Ezekiel 28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30