Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

as well as to Ophir, does not certainly appear, though it is rendered probable by 1 Kings 22: 48, with 2 Chron. 20 : 35 37.

The ships would find access to the Mediterranean by the canal of Kolzoum. That a communication existed at the time of which we are speaking, appears from 2 Chron. 8: 17, above cited. As not the slightest intimation is given, that the ships, sent by the king of Tyre to Ezion-Geber, were sent from any other place, we are obviously to suppose that they were sent from Phænicia. This supposition is confirmed by the circumstance that they carried a part of the crews of the Jewish fleet.*

It will be found, on computing the distance, that the voyage to England, in the then state of navigation, would be likely to require between two and three years. It is rendered probable that the fleet, on its return, stopped at Ophir, and exchanged the commodities of Tarshish, for those of that region. Ezek. 27: 12. Tarshish was thy merchant BY REASON OF THE MULTITUDE OF ALL KIND OF RICHES ; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. That is, with the tin procured at Tarshish, an article in general request, and found no where else, might be procured, in the regular course of the voyage, the gold and precious stones of Ophir. With these, and with the tin, might be procured all other articles. Ophir was probably some district on the northern coast of Africa. In that extraordinary catalogue, referred to above, Ezek. 27, of the nations with which the Phænicians had commercial dealings, Ophir is not mentioned. The reason not improbably may be, that during the four hundred years, between the time of the navigation to Tarshish, and the time of Ezekiel, the commerce of Ophir was engrossed by the Carthaginians. At a very early period

* See note (A).

the Phænicians had colonies, in the western part of northern Africa, and here Ophir was probably situated.

Other texts of scripture, and other arguments, might be adduced to prove that Tarshish is England. I trust, however, that the above will be deemed entirely conclusive.

We will now proceed to the consideration of the prophecy.

Verse 1.-The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. This prophecy is supposed to have been made known to the Jews, in the year, B. C. 715. The siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, which is obviously alluded to, commenced 130 years later, in the year, B. C. 585; and continued thirteen years. During the siege, the inhabitants of old Tyre, or Tyre on the main, built a new city, or rather, probably, greatly enlarged a city or village, already existing on the island, at the entrance of the harbor, and removed thither. They carried their effects with them, so that when the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar entered the city of old Tyre, they found little to reward their toil. After the old city was destroyed, the troops of Nebuchadnezzar remaining, and threatening insular Tyre, there was truly, no house, no entering in. The land of Chittim is supposed to include a part of Greece and of Italy. Perhaps the island of Cyprus should be added. See verse 12. It will soon appear probable, that the ships of Tarshish, to which the situation of Tyre was communicated, were at Tarshish, and not on their return. They are called on to howl, in allusion probably, to the howl of the dog or wolf, on being shut out of their usual haunts, or deprived of their ordinary food. They might well be overwhelmed with a

sense of the new and complicated evils of their situation, after the calamity of Tyre was made known at Tarshish. It is by no means impossible that the intelligence was conveyed over land, reaching England from the opposite coast of France. In either case, here is an additional circumstance, tending to prove, that Tarshish was in the west, and not in the east.

2, 3. Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue ; and she is a mart of nations. It is enjoined upon the inhabitants of the island of Tyre, to be silent. Silence is now becoming. Irritate not the conqueror, by vain boasting, or protracted discussion. Submit to the moderate terms, which he is ready to impose. This the Tyrians, in fact, did. The merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, are so denominated, probably, because, Zidon being in possession of the enemy, they had no home there; especially, while engaged in bringing supplies to the besieged Tyrians. Sihor is one of the names of the river Nile. The merchants of Zidon, in the present situation of affairs, gained a revenue, by bringing the rice of Egypt, to the Tyrians. In so doing, they render Zidon, as represented by them, a mart of nations; because, in this remnant of Tyre, is the germ of two nations. The force and appropriateness of this language, will be evident hereafter. The river Nile, the harbor of Tyre, and that part of the Mediterranean, between Tyre and Egypt, are called great waters, for reasons, which will be alluded to in the course of these pages. Previous to the siege, the Tyrians had far more ships than the Zidonians. Now, it appears, they have none. It

may

be inferred, therefore, that the more opulent Tyrians, and those less able to endure the hardships of the siege, had been conveyed to different places at a distance, some to Tarshish, and were there awaiting the result of the siege.

4. Be thou ashamed, 0 Zidon ; for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins. Zidon is called upon to be ashamed, because Tyre was her offspring. Tyre was founded by the Zidonians; and is called, verse 12, the daughter of Zidon. The harbor of Tyre is called the strength of the sea, on account of its past naval ascendency. Here is no longer witnessed the bustle of preparation; colonies are no longer sent forth; and those, of the different descriptions already planted ; some, mere stopping places for a brief traffick with the natives; and others, fortified and inaccessible, are no longer cherished.

5. As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. The Tyrians are supposed to have been, undoubtedly, of Sythian origin. A very considerable period before the destruction of Tyre, here prophesied of, a body of Sythians settled in Egypt. After a time, leaving Egypt, they sailed westward, and established themselves in Spain. From this Spanish colony proceeded the Milesian expedition, that peopled Ireland. As those of the same origin were sorely pained to hear that their brethren had left Egypt; so now, would the Zidonians, and the various Phænician colonies, soon be sorely pained, on hearing of the permanent departure of a large proportion of the remaining Tyrians. The Mediterranean, between Tyre and Egypt, is called, as above, one of the great waters, on account of the memorable event to be memorable of the departure of the Sythians from Egypt.

6, 7. Pass ye over to Tarshish, howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days ? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. The injunction at the beginning of verse 6, seems to relate to a period, when the ships of Tyre had returned from abroad, and a large number of the remaining inhabitants, were about sailing to Tarshish, to find another home. Those who were to be left, are called upon to howl, in view of the desolateness of their situation, after their friends should have departed. The words, her own feet, may mean the ships; or rather, perhaps, the circumstances of her destiny. A personification is introduced, which obviously requires it to be understood, that the identity of Tyre is to be transferred to another place. The marginal reading of the last of verse 7, is this ; her own feet shall carry her FROM AFAR OFF to sojourn. The distant place, which the Tyrians would thus leave, in quest of a more favorable asylum, was Tarshish. Because, the circumstance of their thus removing is mentioned, in juxtaposition with that of their sailing to Tarshish. Because another place is mentioned, as we shall soon see, which is near Tarshish, with circumstances favorable to its being the place of their final sojourn. And thirdly, because no other place than Tarshish is spoken of, in the prophecy, which is not, by some circumstance, put out of the question. There is still another particular, which may have a bearing on this subject. It is, that the ships of Tarshish, at Tarshish, are called upon, as in verse 1, to howl, not unlikely, as foreseeing the evils of their situation, at Tarshish, after the fall of Tyre should be generally known. See verse 12.

8, 9. Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. The place in the prophecy, of this comprehensive and emphatic

« ForrigeFortsæt »