EZEKIEL 28, 29, 30 and 31
Who WERE the ruler (or ‘prince’) of Tyre and the King of Tyre? The first sound like one of its kings, proud of heart, who claimed “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas”. The Lord replies: “But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god”. (28:2). The ruler of Tyre did have a certain degree of ‘streetwise-ness’ and certainly did well for himself in business and trade; but that only made his heart prouder. And it made God even more determined to cut this ruler down to size with the help of an army from Babylon.
The passage in 28:11-19 is profound, and the identity of the ‘King of Tyre’ is mysterious. The reader is reminded of the Garden of Eden and the fall of Satan, rather than any political or military event. This ‘king’ was in Eden, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty, adorned with rich jewels and clothes; he was a ‘guardian cherub’ appointed by the Lord to inhabit the most holy places and to serve God in an intimate and close way.
At first, he was blameless, but his beauty and the very proximity that he had to the throne of the Lord made him proud, he became corrupt, and so ‘wickedness was found in you’. Driven in disgrace from God’s Mountain, he was expelled, thrown down to the earth and punished severely. Maybe, just a little later, he was overheard saying to the first man and woman: “Did God REALLY say…?”. So, was the King of Tyre, the Devil himself, the Antichrist, or yet another tyrant who embodied both of these enemies of the Lord of Lords?
Then we have prophecies against Sidon (just up the coast from Tyre) who had also been ‘malicious neighbours’ to Israel. Then in Ezekiel 29 it introduces Egypt as a ‘great monster lying among the streams’. Their friendship with Israel was about as reliable as leaning on a sharp bamboo ‘walking stick’, liable to splinter and pierce the hand it was supposed to support! Egypt was about to get a taste of Nebuchadnezzar’s military power!
“Dark will be the day at Tahpanhes…” an affront to Egypt’s sun-god! And both arms of Pharaoh would soon be broken, one after the other. This represented two massive defeats in battle against the Babylonian army. (Ezekiel 30).
Finally, in chapter 31, we have a picture of already-defeated Assyria as a might cedar in Lebanon with all the birds of the sky nesting in its branches – the usual biblical picture of a mighty kingdom. In short time, this cedar was felled by the lumberjack known as Nebuchadnezzar! Well, Pharaoh and Egypt were about the suffer the same fate at the same hands!