Our reading today begins with prophecies against the nations. As we have seen, the judgment against Judah is the same as the judgment against the nations, like Ammon (see 21:18-32). And that is where these judgments start. Because Ammon took joy in the judgment of Judah (25:3), they will suffer the same judgment of captivity (v. 4). God will do this, and they will know that He is YHWH (v. 7). The same goes for Moab (vv. 8-11 – the “and Seir” is not in the earliest manuscripts). Edom will be judged for their part in the captivity (vv. 12-14 – see Amos 1:11-12, Obadiah). The same goes for the Philistines and Cherethites (vv. 15-17).
Chapter 26 begins a pronouncement of judgment on Tyre. In chapter 25, judgment was pronounced on Israel’s immediate neighbors to the northeast (Ammon), the east (Moab), the south (Edom) and the west (Philistia and Cherith). Now the cycle of immediate neighbors finishes with their Phoenician neighbors to the north. Tyre celebrated Israel (and Judah’s) demise because it benefited them financially. The “gate” in 26:2 is swung open for Tyre and Sidon because they were on the Mediterranean coast, along with Israel. With Israel gone, Tyre (and Sidon) became that much more important of a port on the eastern coast of the sea.
So God will bring nations (Babylon) against them like the sea brings up its waves (v. 3). Metaphorically, God says Tyre will be destroyed by the sea she counted on for her economy (vv. 4-6). In verse 7, God reveals the nation coming against Tyre. Babylon will siege Tyre like they sieged Jerusalem (vv. 8-13). That Tyre will never be rebuilt in verse 14 is in a sense true. The location of Tyre changed after Babylon lost power. It moved west onto a peninsula that sticks out into the sea, which may also fulfill some of the imagery in verse 5.
God will bring down Tyre and her economy based on sea trade (vv. 15-18). In verse 19, the wasteland imagery of judgment is mingled with the destruction of the sea. The going “down to the pit” is a Hebraism for death (v. 20). Old Tyre (more inland from the one in Jesus’s day and our day) will be destroyed forever (v. 21).
In chapter 27, God calls for Ezekiel to lament the fall of Tyre. He begins by using her own words against her (27:3 – see 26:2). God then describes the majesty of this rich port city using the metaphor of a ship (vv. 4-9). He speaks of Tyre’s military might (vv. 10-11). Tyre did business with the farthest reaches of the known world (v. 12) and with some of the oldest settlements (v. 13). Every nation relied on Tyre as a trade partner (vv. 14-25), including Israel and Judah (v. 17).
In verse 26, God returns to the ship metaphor to describe the destruction of Tyre as a shipwreck. All Tyre has will be destroyed as if it all sunk into the depths of the sea (v. 27). The nations who did business with them will abandon ship, so to speak (vv. 28-29), and will mourn over the destruction of the nation (vv. 30-32). Those who were once enriched by Tyre’s trade (v. 33) are now appalled at the utter destruction of the nation (vv. 34-36). They have become a horror like Judah (see 5:15).
Chapter 28 pronounces judgment on the “prince” of Tyre (28:1). This is the earthly king of Tyre. His sin is pride (v. 2). He thinks of himself as a god. He believes he is wiser than everyone else (v. 3) because of his great wealth (v. 4). But it is his wealth that has made him proud (v. 5). So God pronounces judgment. Because he thinks of himself as a god (v. 6), God will humble him by bringing Babylon against him (v. 7). He will die (v. 8). He will realize he is no god (v. 9) when God brings all of this on him (v. 10).
Next, God pronounces judgment on the “king” of Tyre. This is not the earthly, human king. This is the king of all the world powers. This is Satan.1 His demise parallels that of the earthly king of Tyre. Like beautiful and majestic Tyre, Satan was made perfect (like Adam was), and was wise (v. 12). He was in Eden with God and man (v. 13). The precious stones represent the majesty of God’s presence (see Rev 4:3, 21:19-20).2 Satan was created an anointed (the word for Messiah) guardian cherub. Note that the Garden of Eden was on a mountain (I think likely Mt. Hermon in Bashan). The place of God’s presence – where heaven meets earth – is often portrayed as a mountain (see 20:40, Isa 11:9, Joel 3:17, Zep 3:11).3
Satan was like man in being created perfect until he sinned (v. 15). Like Tyre who became proud because of the abundance of her trade (v. 4), so Satan became proud because of his beauty (v. 17) and anointing, and sinned against God (v. 16). So God cast him off the mountain (see Isa 14:12, Rev 12:3-4). Satan corrupted his own great wisdom (v. 17). The “cast you to the ground” can also be translated “cast you to the earth.” The imagery of going on his belly and eating dirt in Genesis 3:14 is Satan being cast from dwelling on God’s mountain and living on earth (see Job 1:7, 2:2). Verse 18 speaks of the coming judgment on Satan. He will be utterly destroyed at the final judgment. And his downfall will be public (see Isa 14:16-17), and final (v. 19).
God then turns His attention to the other port city of the Phoenicians, Sidon. She, too, will be judged along with Tyre (vv. 22-23). And with Sidon’s judgment, all of the nations that border Israel and who took joy in her downfall will be left (v. 24). And they will all know that YHWH is God.
The chapter ends with a promise of restoration. This is speaking of God’s spiritual people, and this is speaking of our final estate. Like Tyre and Sidon’s judgment will be final, so will the judgment of the nations and of Satan be at Christ’s Second Coming. Then the elect of all time, from all nations – the spiritual Israel! – will see God’s holiness (in Christ) and dwell in our own land (the New Heaven and the New Earth) (v. 25). And we will dwell securely forever after the enemies of God are judged (v. 26). And everyone will know that He (Christ) is God.
1 We saw the king of Babylon was Satan back in Isaiah 14.
2 This is why the High Priest – the only one who could enter the Holy of Holies and God’s presence – wore the breastplate of precious stones (see Ex 28:17-19). This is also why the Temple was made to look like a Garden and was a representation of heaven on earth.
3 Which is why God meets with His people on mountains. His presence is on Mt. Horeb (the mountain of God – see Ex 3:1) which becomes Mt. Sinai (see Ex 19:11), and on the Temple Mount, which is Mt. Moriah where He met with Abraham (see Gen 22, 2 Chr 3:1).