Isaiah – Chapter 23

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 23


1 Oracle on Tyre: Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for your port is destroyed; From the land of the Kittim 2 the news reaches them.


Silence! you who dwell on the coast, you merchants of Sidon, Whose messengers crossed the sea


3 over the deep waters. The grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile, was her revenue, and she the merchant among nations.


4 Shame, O 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 virgins.»


When it is heard in Egypt they shall be in anguish at the news of Tyre.


Pass over to Tarshish, wailing, you who dwell on the coast!


Is this your wanton city, whose origin is from old, Whose feet have taken her to dwell in distant lands?


Who has planned such a thing against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, Whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the earth’s honored men?


The LORD of hosts has planned it, to disgrace all pride of majesty, to degrade all the earth’s honored men.


Cross to your own land, O ship of Tarshish; the harbor is no more.


5 His hand he stretches out over the sea, he shakes kingdoms; The LORD has ordered the destruction of Canaan’s strongholds.


You shall exult no more, he says, you who are now oppressed, virgin daughter Sidon. Arise, pass over to the Kittim, even there you shall find no rest.


6 (This people is the land of the Chaldeans, not Assyria.) She whom the impious founded, setting up towers for her, Has had her castles destroyed, and has been turned into a ruin.


Lament, O ships of Tarshish, for your haven is destroyed.


7 On that day, Tyre shall be forgotten for seventy years. With the days of another king, at the end of seventy years, it shall be for Tyre as in the song about the harlot:


Take a harp, go about the city, O forgotten harlot; Pluck the strings skillfully, sing many songs, that they may remember you.


At the end of the seventy years the LORD shall visit Tyre. She shall return to her hire and deal with all the world’s kingdoms on the face of the earth.


8 But her merchandise and her hire shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be stored up or laid away, but from her merchandise those who dwell before the LORD shall eat their fill and clothe themselves in choice attire.


1 [1-4,12-14] These verses refer to Sidon, ⇒ Isaiah 23:5-11 to Tyre.

2 [1] Kittim: Cyprus.

3 [3] Shihor: a synonym for the Nile.

4 [4] The sea: brings to distant coasts the news that Sidon must disown her children; her people are dispersed.

5 [11] Canaan’s strongholds: the fortresses of Phoenicia.

6 [13] The gloss here identifies she whom the impious founded with the land of the Chaldeans.

7 [15] Seventy years: a conventional period of time indicating simply a long disaster; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 25:11; ⇒ 29:10.

8 [18] Describes the conversion of Tyre.