A Detailed Look at Ezekiel Chapter 26: Prophecy Against Tyre

The book of Ezekiel contains some of the most vivid and powerful prophecies in all of Scripture. Ezekiel 26 records a fascinating prophecy against the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. This chapter contains a sobering message of judgment, as well as glimpses of hope beyond the destruction.


Ezekiel 26 begins with a declaration that Tyre will be destroyed and left bare like a rock, incapable of being rebuilt (Ezekiel 26:4-5, 14). The LORD tells Ezekiel to prophesy against Tyre, the prominent maritime and mercantile hub, because of its pride and despising of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 26:2). Tyre had rejoiced over the downfall of Jerusalem, rather than mourning. Therefore, the LORD declares He is against Tyre and will bring nations to destroy it (Ezekiel 26:3).

This prophecy contains layers of meaning. On one level, it refers to the impending Babylonian conquest of Tyre under Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century BC. Yet it also points ahead prophetically to further judgments, including Alexander the Great’s devastating siege in 332 BC. The ultimate fulfillment will come during the end times under the Antichrist.

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As we study this profound chapter, we will consider:

  • The pride and downfall of Tyre
  • Tyre’s legacy and influence
  • Parallels between Tyre and Babylon
  • Hope beyond destruction

By carefully reflecting on Ezekiel 26, we gain insight into God’s perspective on pride, greed, and earthly empires. We’re reminded that He alone is sovereign over the nations and exalted in the earth. Let’s explore the meaning and contemporary significance of this important biblical prophecy.

b A Detailed Look at Ezekiel Chapter 26: Prophecy Against Tyre

The Pride and Downfall of Tyre

Ezekiel 26 opens with a word of judgment from God against the city of Tyre. Tyre was the capital of Phoenicia, a thriving maritime and trade empire that dominated the Mediterranean region. Phoenicia was renowned for its riches, brilliance, and arrogance.

Verse 2 reveals why judgment is coming:

“Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, ‘Aha! The gateway to the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be replenished, now that she is laid waste.’” (Ezekiel 26:2 NKJV)

Instead of mourning Jerusalem’s downfall to Babylon, Tyre rejoiced at its own economic gain. Tyre’s attitude echoes Isaiah 23, where Tyre, Sidon and Tarshish are chastised for celebrating Babylon’s surge rather than lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem. Their mercenary mentality proved their indifference to God’s work through Israel.

The LORD declares He is therefore against Tyre and will cause many nations to rise up against it (Ezekiel 26:3). Verses 4-6 describe the devastation to come:

They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD; it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezekiel 26:4-6 NKJV)

This vividly depicts total destruction. The once splendid city will be leveled to bare rock, stripped of every scrap of wealth. The imagery of spreading fishing nets conveys barrenness and insignificance. Tyre will become plunder for nations. Even surrounding villages will be destroyed.

The primary instrument of judgment is Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. Verses 7-11 poetically describe his military assault:

For thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 26:7-11 NKJV)

The description of thundering horses, rattling chariots, siege ramps, and battering rams conjures an image of a formidable military machine assembled against Tyre. The extended metaphor of pulverizing hooves trampling the city’s pillars paints a picture of utter collapse.

True to this prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years from 585-572 BC. Though Tyre survived, negotiating a conditional surrender, the prolonged blockade took a heavy toll. The suburbs on the mainland were destroyed. Tyre’s power and influence were diminished.

Centuries later, the prophecy was fulfilled more completely through Alexander the Great. Recognizing Tyre’s strategic importance, Alexander sought to conquer the island city in 332 BC. When Tyre resisted, he built a causeway from the mainland ruins to the island, enabling him to breach the fortifications.

Alexander’s siege left Tyre in utter ruin. The city was burned, razed and scraped bare like a rock. Alexander used ruins from the mainland as building materials for his causeway, literally making Tyre “like the top of a rock” (Ezekiel 26:4). Though Tyre was eventually rebuilt, it never regained its former glory. The proud merchant empire had fallen.

Tyre’s Legacy and Influence

Despite its downfall, Tyre left an indelible mark on the ancient world. Its maritime prowess, engineering ingenuity, and commercial dominance shaped culture across the Mediterranean basin.

Phoenicia was renowned as skilled navigators, builders and craftsmen. Their shipbuilding expertise enabled far-reaching maritime trade and colonization. The Phoenicians developed a simplified alphabet system adapted by the Greeks.

As a hub of international commerce, Tyre influenced language, art, religion, and culture. The city’s bustling bazaars attracted goods, services and immigrants from across the known world. Tyre has been called the “gateway to the nations” (Ezekiel 26:2).

Tyre’s cosmopolitan energy spawned a thriving Mediterranean civilization noted for cultural sophistication. The Greeks acknowledged their debt to Phoenicia in philosophy, literature, mythology, and the arts.

Beyond its cultural impact, Tyre profoundly affected world economics and politics. Its maritime trade network fostered international market integration and globalization. Tyre imported silver from Tarshish, iron, tin, and lead from Britain and beyond, ivory from Africa, spices and dyes from the East. The city channeled wealth from across the world.

Through its trade empire and naval strength, Tyre became a Mediterranean superpower rivaling Egypt, influencing kings and nations. Tyre possessed economic and political might to match its cultural clout.

Parallels Between Tyre and Babylon

In certain respects, Tyre functioned as a Phoenician counterpart to Babylon. The two cities shaped world conditions during Ezekiel’s era, while also epitomizing qualities that Scripture condemns.

Pride and presumption – Like Babylon, Tyre was brimming with hubris and self-congratulation over its accomplishments. Pride comes before the fall.

Materialism/idolatry – Tyre’s identity centered on commerce, wealth, and pleasure. Greed and indulgence flourished. The city embodied worldly living and self-absorption.

Power and prestige – Tyre paralleled Babylon in wielding economic, political and military dominance over surrounding nations. Its influence promoted values contrary to God’s kingdom.

Hedonism and decadence – Tyre was a hotbed of moral perversion, sexual immorality, and religious syncretism. Its sensual extravagance stood opposed to biblical values.

For these reasons, Scripture presents Tyre, like Babylon, as a symbol of human society organized in defiance of God. The prophets warn such world systems cannot endure. Only God’s kingdom will stand.

Hope Beyond Destruction

Amid pronouncements of ruin in Ezekiel 26, glimpses of hope shine through. God’s judgment brings opportunity for restoration.

Verse 14 notes after destruction Tyre will never be rebuilt, unlike former ruins:

I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 26:14)

This implies God’s judgment will have a purifying effect, removing the sinful commercial empire to establish a humble fishing town. The former arrogance will be no more.

Isaiah 23 paints a similar picture following Tyre’s downfall. Life continues in humbled state:

Now it will come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot: “Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten harlot; Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”
And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the LORD; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing. (Isaiah 23:15-18 NKJV)

After 70 years, Tyre is restored, but now in service to the LORD, its profits going to support His work. Commerce continues, but with new purpose.

God’s judgment brings change, but not annihilation. Though proud earthly systems crumble, humble elements endure to bless the world and advance God’s kingdom.

Key Takeaways

Reflecting on Ezekiel 26 gives us perspective for today:

  • God hates pride and arrogant boasting, especially rejoicing when others fall. We must guard our hearts.
  • Outward wealth, power and prestige can mask inward spiritual poverty and pending judgment. We look beyond the surface.
  • God is sovereign over all nations and systems; everything will answer to Him. We live in reverent awareness of this.
  • Judgment is God’s stern mercy to humble the proud and purge sin. His discipline leads to restoration. We accept it as from a Father.
  • Life continues amid ruined human systems as God desires, now centered on His purposes. We need not despair, only adjust our direction to His.

Ezekiel 26 stands as a timeless warning against resting our identity on anything apart from God. All that exalts itself against Him will be brought low. Yet when the shaking comes, the kingdom that cannot be moved will remain. Our hope stands secure in Him alone.


This commentary provides a detailed look at the important prophecy in Ezekiel 26. We examined Tyre’s legacy of influence and arrogance. We saw how God used Babylon and Alexander as instruments to humble this proud city and purge elements of idolatry and greed.

Yet the chapter ends with hope of simpler life rising from the ruins, focused on honorable purpose. Though earthly powers and glory fade, God’s kingdom advances quietly as humble people live out His priorities.

May Ezekiel 26 give us eternal perspective and inspire righteous living today, for God’s glory among the nations.

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