Tyre and Sidon
1* Oracle on Tyre:
Wail, ships of Tarshish,
for your port is destroyed;
From the land of the Kittim*
the news reaches them.a
2Silence! you who dwell on the coast,
you merchants of Sidon,
Whose messengers crossed the sea
3over the deep waters,
Whose revenue was the grain of Shihor,* the harvest of the Nile,
you who were the merchant among the nations.b
4Be ashamed, Sidon, fortress on the sea,
for the sea* has spoken,
“I have not been in labor, nor given birth,
nor raised young men,
nor reared young women.”
5When the report reaches Egypt
they shall be in anguish at the report about Tyre.
6Pass over to Tarshish,*
wail, you who dwell on the coast!
7Is this your exultant city,
whose origin is from old,
Whose feet have taken her
to dwell in distant lands?
8Who has planned such a thing
against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
Whose merchants are princes,
whose traders are the earth’s honored men?
9The LORD of hosts has planned it,
to disgrace the height of all beauty,
to degrade all the honored of the earth.c
10Cross to your own land,
ship of Tarshish;
the harbor is no more.
11His hand he stretches out over the sea,
he shakes kingdoms;
The LORD commanded the destruction
12Crushed, you shall exult no more,
virgin daughter Sidon.
Arise, pass over to the Kittim,
even there you shall find no rest.e
13* Look at the land of the Chaldeans,
the people that has ceased to be.
Assyria founded it for ships,
raised its towers,
Only to tear down its palaces,
and turn it into a ruin.f
14Lament, ships of Tarshish,
for your stronghold is destroyed.
15On that day, Tyre shall be forgotten for seventy years,* the lifetime of one king. At the end of seventy years, the song about the prostitute will be Tyre’s song:
16Take a harp, go about the city,
Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs,
that you may be remembered.
17At the end of the seventy years the LORD shall visit Tyre. She shall return to her hire and serve as prostitute* with all the world’s kingdoms on the face of the earth.g 18But her merchandise and her hire shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be stored up or laid away; instead, her merchandise shall belong to those who dwell before the LORD, to eat their fill and clothe themselves in choice attire.
* [23:1–17] This oracle, a satire directed against the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, is perhaps to be situated at the time of Sennacherib’s campaign against the Phoenican cities in 701 B.C, following his subjugation of their Babylonian allies in 703 B.C.
* [23:1] Kittim: Cyprus. The Hebrew word is derived from the term for the well-known city of Cyprus, Kition. In later centuries the term Kittim is used for the Greeks, the Romans, and other distant peoples.
* [23:3] Shihor: a synonym for the Nile.
* [23:4] The sea: here personified, it brings to distant coasts the news that Sidon must disown her children; her people are dispersed.
* [23:6–7] Tarshish: perhaps Tartessus in Spain. Distant lands: the reference is to the far-flung colonies established by the Phoenicians throughout the Mediterranean, including North Africa, Spain, and Sardinia. Oceangoing vessels were therefore called Tarshish ships.
* [23:11] Canaan’s strongholds: the fortresses of Phoenicia.
* [23:13] The reference here seems to be to Assyria’s subjugation of Babylon in 703 B.C., which left the coastal cities of Phoenicia as well as Judah open to Sennacherib’s invasion in 701 B.C. Founded it…its palaces…turn it: the city of Babylon.