The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 23 Part 1

We go on to Isaiah 23:1-5

The prophecy of Isaiah is not for the Jewish people alone. Isaiah prophesies about many nations and different peoples. The purpose and primary message of a large portion of these prophecies is the threat of judgment and a call to repentance. G-d is calling people back to truth. 

v1: Burden: G-d is placing a weight upon these people because He is displeased with them. This is a call to repentance. 

  • Tyre…Tarshish: Coastal (port) cities in the nation of Lebanon. Maritime trade made these cities wealthy. 
  • Wail: A term of lamentation. G-d is calling this city to wail, to lament. The burden that G-d is going to place on this city would affect the ships – their trade.
  • Laid waste: Plundered. Stripped bare of everything of value. This is a term of destruction. 
  • No house, no harbour: Their homes and the harbour are going to be destroyed. 

v2: Be still: Be silent. There is no way to avoid this judgment. It has been decreed and it will come to pass. 

  • Coastland: Could be referring to an island or a port/coastal city. 
  • Merchants: Traders. Shipping goods to and from Lebanon was its main source of national income. 
  • Sidon: Another key city along the coast of Lebanon. Sidon was north of Tyre. Much of the wealth in Lebanon was brought in through these two port cities. 

v3: Shihor: Shihor is seen as connected to Egypt. Egypt was once again a very prosperous and wealthy place. There was a shipping route between Egypt and this location in Lebanon. 

  • The harvest of the River: Referring to the Nile River. Egypt was famous for its agriculture. It would export its grain to these places along the Mediterranean and from there the nations would purchase what they needed. However, G-d’s judgment falling upon these places in Tyre and Sidon (these cities in Lebanon) was going to also have a negative effect or impact on Egypt and her revenue. 

v4: The sea has spoken: Isaiah is using poetic language. 

  • I do not labour: This city was exceedingly wealthy, but they had not done the work in order to be prosperous. Others had paid the price, but they had benefitted from it. Lebanon, and its ports, was strategically located, perfectly situated, for trade with Africa, Europe and the Middle East. 

v5: Note: Tyre’s suffering is going to affect Egypt. Egypt is going to suffer too. 

  • Agony: Great pain or suffering. 

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