Chapter 27:12-36 (ESV) - “Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. From Beth-togarmah they exchanged horses, war horses, and mules for your wares. The men of Dedan traded with you. Many coastlands were your own special markets; they brought you in payment ivory tusks and ebony. Syria did business with you because of your abundant goods; they exchanged for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and ruby. Judah and the land of Israel traded with you; they exchanged for your merchandise wheat of Minnith, meal, honey, oil, and balm. Damascus did business with you for your abundant goods, because of your great wealth of every kind; wine of Helbon and wool of Sahar and casks of wine from Uzal they exchanged for your wares; wrought iron, cassia, and calamus were bartered for your merchandise. Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your favored dealers in lambs, rams, and goats; in these they did business with you. The traders of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; they exchanged for your wares the best of all kinds of spices and all precious stones and gold. Haran, Canneh, Eden, traders of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad traded with you. In your market these traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of colored material, bound with cords and made secure. The ships of Tarshish traveled for you with your merchandise. So you were filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas.
“Your rowers have brought you out
into the high seas.
The east wind has wrecked you
in the heart of the seas.
Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,
your mariners and your pilots,
your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,
and all your men of war who are in you,
with all your crew
that is in your midst,
sink into the heart of the seas
on the day of your fall.
At the sound of the cry of your pilots
the countryside shakes,
and down from their ships
come all who handle the oar.
The mariners and all the pilots of the sea
stand on the land
and shout aloud over you
and cry out bitterly.
They cast dust on their heads
and wallow in ashes;
they make themselves bald for you
and put sackcloth on their waist,
and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,
with bitter mourning.
In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
and lament over you:
‘Who is like Tyre,
like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?
When your wares came from the seas,
you satisfied many peoples;
with your abundant wealth and merchandise
you enriched the kings of the earth.
Now you are wrecked by the seas,
in the depths of the waters;
your merchandise and all your crew in your midst
have sunk with you.
All the inhabitants of the coastlands
are appalled at you,
and the hair of their kings bristles with horror;
their faces are convulsed.
The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more forever.’”
Question to consider: What kind of people seemed to mourn the loss of Tyre?
In yesterday’s passage, I pointed out that Tyre was heralded as “perfect” for its external beauty and strength. The people lamented the destruction of something that glorified man rather than God. One of the things that was highlighted in the lamentation for Tyre was its magnificent ship which had planks, oars, and a mast made from the finest trees from the most famous of forests in the region. Its sails were spun from the finest Egyptian cotton. The ship would have been used to transport wares to all kinds of nations along the Mediterranean Sea, and so those in today’s passage who would lament its destruction were those who had a business relationship with Tyre. Just as Nebuchadnezzar from the East would destroy the port of Tyre and make it a bare rock, so God would destroy the vessel by an east wind and drown the crew and merchandise on it.
One of the things I struggle with in regard to modern greeting cards is that love is selfishly expressed in terms of what someone has done for us. Similarly, those who were weeping in sackcloth and ashes were not repenting of their sin before God but lamenting the loss of their merchandise and trade partner. They sold everything from fine metals to war horses, ivory tusks to human slaves. Rather than mourning over the loss of life, the lamentation focused on how full the ship was and the kind of merchandise it contained.
Given that the Bible is frequently used for pinpointing ruins for excavation, I wonder if anyone has ever sought to recover the metal wares that would be buried in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Lebanon north of Beirut. This seems like it would be quite the treasure hunt.
The destruction of Tyre is a good example of the fleeting nature of glory in this world. People long to make a lasting impact on the world, but many are not even remembered into their old age. It seems like the number of people at a funeral is inversely proportional to the age of the one in the casket. Within a generation, the inheritance has been spent, and the people are all but forgotten outside of family photographs. How wonderful is it that Christ knows us by name and has written it in His book?
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us an incorruptible inheritance that is waiting in heaven for us and for bringing us into a relationship with You that never ends. Amen.