-Isaiah began his oracles (burdens) against the nations of his region in the east with Babylon (Isaiah 13), but now finishes with Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicia) in the west along the Mediterranean Coast to the north of the Holy Land. This was a proud and prosperous ancient city and area that was absolutely famous for its trade and early language development. They had an enormously large merchant center because of their huge seaport, which increased their wealth to the point of extravagance and the proliferation of evil (Isaiah 23:3, 8). Tyre is continually rebuked by the prophets of God for their luxurious and idolatrous lifestyles (Jeremiah 25:22, 27; 47:4, Ezekiel 26-28, Joel 3:4-8, Amos 1:9-10, Zechariah 9:3-4). Here we see that the context of the message is to draw Israel’s dependence from this worldly alliance back into trust in the Sovereign LORD. Tyre and Sidon will be shamed, and her wealth and colonizing power will disappear at the plan of the Almighty. He is the One who defiles the pride of all beauty set up against His Kingdom. He despises the honored of the earth (Isaiah 23:9). He will restrain His judgment no more. He will stretch out His Hand over the sea and make the kingdoms tremble at His will. There will be no more exultation in this west coast land even if they try to make their escape to the island of Cyprus. They will find no rest for themselves. Assyria is coming to make waste of them and appoint their fortunes for desert creatures as an instrument of the LORD. The strongholds will be destroyed, and their trading partners, like Egypt and Tarshish (possibly Spain), will anguish and wail for them without being able to give support (Isaiah 23:4-5, 14). In that day, which can be speculated on as literal prophecy (either 700-630 B.C. or 605-536 B.C. when they were conquered) or possibly symbolic (a longer period of time which will extend into the eschaton), Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years. At the end of this period of ambiguity, she will return, but she will again go back to her harlot’s wages with all the kingdoms of the earth, which are set up against God. At this time, the LORD will set apart her gain and increase for “sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the LORD (Isaiah 23:15-18).” *Application* The things of this world are passing away, but the glory of the LORD will last forever. Be a part of His eternal Kingdom and quit thinking in the temporary (1 Corinthians 7:31, Hebrews 1:10-12, James 1:10, 2 Peter 3:10, 1 John 2:17). God will use everything, including the produce of His enemies, to benefit and bless His chosen people of faith.
Verse to Memorize: Isaiah 23:9