Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How did you find Satan in Ezekiel 28? (Part #3). Why was Jehovah enraged against Tyre?

Friends,

This is Part #3 in this series, please read #1 and #2 before reading this one.

Why was Jehovah enraged against Tyre?

If the king(s) of Tyre were having a Facebook account, I am sure he would have made his relationship status as "it's complicated". In fact the relationship between Tyre and Israel has been very complicated. Again, the relation with its confederate nation, Sidon, was even more complicated. As for us, the names of the kings like Hiram, Baal, Ithobaal, Ethbaal repeating several times, our understanding becomes complicated. The history of Tyre is complicated, and its overthrow is much more complicated.


Apart from King Hiram I of Tyre, supplying skilled laborers and material (during the days of David and Solomon) for the construction of the temple and palace in Jerusalem, the most important "contribution" of Tyre/Sidon to the nation of Israel was, hold your breath, Jezebel, one of the most evil characters portrayed in the Bible.
1Ki 16:30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
1Ki 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. (Tyre and Sidon/Zidon are the same.)

This Ethbaal I was 7th generation from Hiram I. The evils that Jezebel precipitated in Israel, making her husband the king and the people of Israel to sin was so immense that she is "immortalized" even in the last book of the Bible. (Rev 2:20).

Tyre/Sidon troubled Israel at various times.

Sidon was the grandson of Canaan, who was one of the sons of Ham, son of Noah. So, Sidonites are not Shemites and thus not directly related to Israelites. Nevertheless, while Tyre handed over Israelite captives to Edom, Jehovah reminded of the brotherly covenant between Tyre and Israel.
Amo 1:9 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus (Tyre), and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant:
Though the details are not known (to me, at least), it appears that Tyre and Sidon have looted the wealth of Israel at some point of time.
Joe 3:4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;


Joe 3:5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:
It appears that the misdemeanor of Tyre continued even after the time of the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. Thus we read in Nehemiah:
Neh 13:16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
Neh 13:17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?
Neh 13:18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.
One of the reasons for sending Judah and Jerusalem into Babylonian captivity was their dishonoring the Sabbath. The same evil deed is being precipitated again. It is quite possible that this trading activity happened on the mount of God or the temple mount in Jerusalem.

In the immediate context.

The lamentation against Tyre, as we have seen, is laid out in chapters 26 to 28 of the book of Ezekiel. Obviously, the lamentation happened after the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon, because Tyre's response to the fall of Jerusalem is mentioned in:
Eze 26:2 Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:
Tyre's rejoicing in the fall of Judah and Jerusalem kindled Jehovah's anger against it. Jehovah detests anyone who rejoices in the fall of enemies. (Pro 24:17-18)

This happened during the days of Ethbaal III (or Ithobaal III), 12th generation from the Ethbaal I, who was the father of Jezebel. Having familial relationships with Israel, Tyre should not have rejoiced in the fall of Judah and Jerusalem. Being a relative, Tyre should have taken care of Israel as its own blood, just like the cherubs that protected the garden of Eden or the cherubs that covered the mercy seat upon the ark of covenant.


Translation issues. ①
Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed[H4473] cherub that covereth;...
The Hebrew word translated as "anointed" is not used elsewhere in the Bible. Here is the Strong's definition of the word.
H4473 מִמְשַׁח (mimshach, mim-shakh')
From H4886, in the sense of expansion; outspread (that is, with outstretched wings): - anointed.
It may not be a coincidence that other translations have rendered the passage without "anointing".
(JPS) Thou wast the far-covering cherub; ...
(DRB) Thou a cherub stretched out, ...

Translation issues. ②

Those who criticize the Bible for historical inaccuracies say that Tyre was not completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar as is stated in Ezekiel 26. It is a historical fact that the destruction of Tyre occurred over a long period, ending with Alexander the Great seizing and destroying the island part of Tyre. Probably, I say again, probably, the solution to this supposed inaccuracy may be found in a better translation of the following passage.
Eze 26:7 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much[H7227] people[H5971].
Though the Hebrew word indicated by H5971 is generally translated as people, there are many instances where it is rendered as nation(s). Also, the word indicated by H7227 could mean great or many. So, "and many nations" or "and great nations" would have been a better translation.


The symbolism of Eden in the book of Ezekiel.


Though I have established [or attempted to establish] that what is stated in a lamentation need not be factual, one may object to my stance that the narrative of Ezekiel 28 is the king of Tyre, saying: how can the author say that a king who lived some 850 years before Christ was in the garden of Eden?

Apart from the lamentation in Ezekiel 26 to 28, the garden of Eden is mentioned 4 more times in the book of Ezekiel. It appears to me that the garden of Eden is used as the epitome of perfection. In the 31st chapter of Ezekiel, the glory of the king of Assyria is contrasted with the trees of the garden of Eden.
Eze 31:3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
[Please read verses 4 - 8 for a complete eulogy on the cedar tree.]

Eze 31:9 I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. Again, while talking about the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian captivity, Eden is mentioned.
Eze 36:34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
Eze 36:35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
While we come back to Ezekiel 28 we see about the perfection of Tyre.
Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Conclusions:
  • The passage on Tyre in Ezekiel, viz. chapters 26 to 28, is a series of lamentations.
  • The passage - Ezekiel 26, 27 and 28 - says that it is about Tyre a full 12 times and not even once it mentions it is about Satan/Devil. In fact Ezekiel never uses the words Satan, Devil and Demon.
  • The theory that Satan is behind the king of Tyre has no scriptural support. It is just a human tradition.
  • The pronouncements made in a lamentation needs not to be factual. So, expressions like "you were in Eden, the garden of God", needs not to be factual.
  • There is no mount in heaven, so this passage has nothing to do with something that happened in heaven.
  • Mountain of God is Sinai or Horeb or the temple mount in Jerusalem.
  • There are scriptural pointers to people of Tyre making trade in Jerusalem.
  • A spirit being cannot be conducting his merchandise (trade) in heaven or the mount of God or the garden of Eden.
  • The theories that Tyre could have imitated the temple of Jerusalem in their nation, it appears to me, is just a conjecture.
  • The downfall and overthrow of Tyre occurred over a protracted period of time, starting with Nebuchadnezzar's invasions and ending with the attacks of Alexander the Great on Tyre. A better translation of Eze 26:7 would have silenced those who berate the Bible for historical inaccuracy in this regard.
  • And, most importantly, my incompetence as a writer won't make Satan real.
 In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal