We finish off this week by finishing off Isaiah 23: Isaiah 23:13-18
v13: Chaldeans: Another name for the Babylonians.
Note: The Chaldeans and the Assyrians (being landlocked and not having access to the sea, and therefore maritime trading routes) invested heavily in Tyre and Sidon – which, strategically, were in prime positions for sea traders.
- This people (which) was not: Tyre and Sidon would not have been a mighty people if it had not been for the Babylonian investment into their economy.
- Wild beasts: A word that means ‘Shipmen’. The word used here is a maritime/naval term.
- Set up its towers…raised up its palaces: The Babylonians/Assyrians had done this for Tyre and Sidon.
v14: Wail: Lament. This verse is repeated from part of Isaiah 23:1
- Ships of Tarshish: Although we do not know the exact location of Tarshish we do know that it was a port city (some say it was located in Spain, near Gibraltar). It was one of the cities that had a trading route to Lebanon and therefore it would have been impacted negatively (economically) by the fall of Tyre and Sidon.
- Laid waste: Plundered. Destroyed, devastated.
v15: That day: ‘That day’ is a reference to judgment – either the great Day of Judgment, at the end of this age, or simply another time of judgment (prior to the great Day of Judgment in the last days).
- The days of one king: Many of the Rabbinic and Christian scholars agree that this is a reference to King David (whose days were 70 years – 2 Sam 5:4). Judah forgot King David. They did not adapt his teaching to their lives and nor did they have the Kingdom mindset that David had. Many say it was for this reason that they were exiled for the same time span as David’s life had been.
- Seventy years: The Babylonian exile also lasted for seventy years (Jer 29:10).
- The song of the harlot: This difference between the 70 years of Tyre’s exile and the seventy years of Judah’s exile in Babylonian is what happened at the end of the seventy years. For Judah: G-d renewed His covenant with the Jewish people, and He brought them out of exile. This redemption and renewal, however, was not going to be the case for Tyre and Sidon. A harlot advertised herself and her wares by calling out in a loud voice (her “song”). This was what Tyre’s lot was going to be after her seventy years of exile had been completed. Tyre would have to try to make her own economic plan by prostituting herself to the nations.
v16: Forgotten harlot: Many years have passed, and Tyre has become like an aged harlot. She needs to try to get the world to remember who she was in her prime so that they can buy into and invest in her again.
v17: Visit: This is such an important word in the Scripture. When G-d visits it means that He gets very strongly involved (Luke 1:68, Ruth 1:6, Jer 27:22 etc). This visitation can have very positive or very negative implications for the peoples who are “visited”. The purpose of G-d’s visits is for His will to be fulfilled.
- Her pay: Her harlot or prostitute’s wages.
- Commit fornication: Play the harlot. She will prostitute herself.
Note: Even though G-d restores Tyre after seventy years, she is not going to remember her judgment and nor is she going to repent and change. Instead, she is going to go straight back to her former ways – being a merchant and playing the harlot. She is going to be a source of idolatry for the kingdoms of the earth (see also Rev 18:9-20 for a last day’s context).
v18: Set apart (sanctified) for the L-rd: G-d is going to take their wealth from them, strip it from them, and He is going to give it to His people. The reason G-d does this is because they did not learn from G-d’s judgment. They neither repented nor changed their ways. They did not apply G-d’s prophetic truth to their lives.
- Laid up: It will not be placed in a treasury house.
- Her gain will be for those who dwell before the L-rd: Wealth transfer, from the wicked to the righteous, is something that is going to happen at the end of the age (This is not something applicable to the age we are in right now). At the end of this age, when Yeshua comes again and sets up His Kingdom on Earth, G-d is going to take from those who did not learn His truth. He is going to take away their earthly prosperity and He is going to provide it for those who sit before the L-rd (those who have learnt and applied the truth of G-d to their lives – John 14:6). This is the wage that will be given to the righteous (Prov 10:16).
- Eat sufficiently: The righteous are going to be satisfied (Matt 5:6)
- Fine (elegant) clothing: This is also a word that means durable or lasting (Deut 29:5).
Note: This reminds us of what Yeshua told us when He said not to store up our wealth upon this earth but to do so in the Kingdom of heaven (Matt 6:19-21). True and eternal reward will only be fully obtainable in the Kingdom of heaven.