Was the Tyre prophecy fulfilled (Ezekiel 26)?

Reasons given for answering "Yes"
  • v3 says “many nations” will attack Tyre

      v3 of Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy says that “many nations” will attack Tyre, “as the sea brings up its waves.

      This is relevant because in 586 B.C. and 332 B.C. respectively, Tyre was assaulted by Babylon, and then subsequently by even more nations, united under Alexander the Great (Macedon, Cyprus, Rhodes, etc.). Neither of these facts are disputed by scholars.

      But wait, this part of the prophecy failed: Alexander's forces coalesced into just one nation, namely Macedon, so Nebuchadnezzar's army plus Alexander's army made up two nations rather than “many”, right?

  • v6-11 say Nebuchadnezzar will raze Tyre's coastal suburbs

      v6-11 of Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy say Nebuchadnezzar will destroy Tyre's coastal suburbs.1 This is relevant because Nebuchadnezzar did specifically destroy “Ushu” (Tyre's coastal district).2

      But wait,
      Ushu wasn't truly a district of Tyre, was it?
      • Ezekiel could have easily guessed this, right?[This is a good objection]3

      1. v6-11 -- “'Also her daughters who are on the mainland will be slain by the sword, and they will know that I am the LORD.' For thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar.'”
      2. This fact is not disputed. For example:
        Jacob Katzenstein (Tyre historian): “…doubts about the authenticity of Ezekiel's words concerning a siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar were shattered after Unger published a tablet which is an official receipt for provisions 'for the king and the soldiers who went with him against the land of Tyre.'” [The History of Tyre (Schkocken Inst., 1973), 324.] (The receipt is published in Unger, Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 44 (1926): 316.) In addition to Ezekiel, the event is also reported in other sources:
        Josephus: “this king [Nebuchadnezzar] besieged Tyre thirteen years, while at the same time Ethbaal reigned at Tyre” [Antiquities of the Jews 10.11.1, §228] “I will now add the records of the Phoenicians;… In them we have this enumeration of the times of their several kings: —“Nabuchodonosor besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king; …in the seventh year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar he began to besiege Tyre;” [Against Apion 1.21, §155-156, §159 (trans. by Whiston, 1987)])
      3. Both sides tend to grant this. Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem (597 B.C.), and Ezekiel was a captive. So, Richard Carrier's complaint is fair (“Ezekiel could easily have intelligence about the king's plans since he would see the preparations.” [“Review of In Defense of Miracles” online at infidels.org]) Mind you, just because Ezekiel could plausibly have guessed this does not mean it is not evidence. It simply means the evidence for this part of the prophecy being supernatural is not necessarily strong.
  • v4,12,14 say they'll cast timber, stones, debris in sea

      v4, 12, 14 of the prophecy say that Tyre's enemies will throw her timbers, stones, and all her debris into the sea (making her a "bare rock").1 This is relevant because:

      “The refusal of the Tyrians to surrender led Alexander to connect the isle to the mainland with the construction of a causeway, one of the most difficult marine engineering tasks of that era… The stones of the fresh ruins of ancient Tyre, together with trees limbs, were drawn into the water, and stones and sand were placed on top of them in order to build the mole.” [Yaacov Nir, “The city of Tyre, Lebanon and its semi-artificial tombolo” Geoarchaeology 11 (1996): 235.]2, 3

      1. • Ezekiel 26:4 -- “destroy the the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock”;
        • 26:12 -- “throw your stones and your timbers and your debris into the water.
        [Note: “Tyre” translates to ‘rock’ (hence “bare rock”); the author is having fun with words.]
      2. ancientworlds.net: “Alexander used the old city of Tyre to bridge the sea to New Tyre. As for timbers needed for shoring and pilings, he had the forests of Lebanon famous throughout antiquity for their great trees." It would end up a massive 200 foot wide causeway extending all the way the island about 3/4's a mile out to sea.” [“The Siege Of Tyre” (2005), online at ancientworlds.net]
        Marvin W. Mikesell: “…Alexander of Macedon used timber from Mount Lebanon in the causeway that ended his siege of Tyre…” [“The Deforestation of Mount Lebanon” Geographical Review (1969): 18.]
      3. While the tiny island still had some remnant buildings and debris, it was microscopic compared to her vast body [7-20 miles along the shore], which was now stripped clean. From an historic aerial view, the entire city is very appropriately described as “bare.”
  • v4-5 say she'll become a place for drying nets

      v4-5 of Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy say that Tyre will be reduced to a humble abode for fisherman.1 This is relevant because, after Tyre (the city) was completely annihilated, Tyre (the land) was resettled by new peoples. To this day, “the causeway still remains, now as a place, as Ezekiel foretold, on which fishermen dry their nets.” [Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (eds.) Douglas, Tenney, Silva (Zondervan, 1987), 1493.]

      1. Ezekiel 26:5 -- “You will be a place for the spreading of nets [in the midst of the sea].” While Tyre was to be annihilated, her people being sent to the grave (v19-21), the area would subsequently be used by a new community of fisherman.
  • v5, 12 say her enemies will plunder her wealth

      v5, 12 of Ezekiel's Tyre prophecy say that Tyre's enemies will plunder her wealth.1(This does not require that every enemy will get to plunder her). This is relevant because:

      E.L. Skip Knox: “Alexander was so furious that this one city had halted his progress for so long, that he gave the city over to plunder and his soldiers sacked it without mercy.” [“Alexander the Great: The Siege of Tyre (333)” online at europeanhistory.boisestate.edu]

      1. Ezekiel 26:5 -- [Tyre] "will become spoil for the nations”; 26:12 -- “spoil of your riches
  • v13-14, 19-21 say Tyre will be “built no more”

      v13-14, 19-21 says Tyre will permanently annihilated via the above terrors.1 This is relevant because…

      • …Alexander intentionally wiped out Tyre and replaced her2
      1. Ezekiel 26:13 -- “I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.”; 26:19-21 -- “When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit,...but I will set glory in the land of the living. I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again,...
      2. That is to say, far from benefiting from Jerusalem’s fall (as she boasted; see v2), this majestic Tyrian empire would instead have its characteristic progress viciously halted, and in 332 B.C., at the hands of Alexander, we see finally that (a) her empire was erased, (b) her structures left in waste, and (c) her peoples were replaced. Some say Tyre was rebuilt, and even exists today, but they are confusing Phoenician Tyre with Alexandrian Tyre. Alexander set it to replace the city, despite giving it the same name for convenience, and did so successfully (see link above).
  • Reasons given for answering "No"
  • “Tyre was rebuilt”

      “Wasn't the city of Tyre rebuilt? After all,…

      • …Tyre has about 35,000 inhabitants today
      This would be relevant because verses 13-14 and verses 19-21 of the prophecy state that Tyre will be ‘built no more.’”1

      But no,
      • …Alexander annihilated and carefully replaced Phoenician Tyre with a different new Tyre. (v. 4-5 entail people would live in the area again)

      1. Ezekiel 26:13 -- “I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more.”; 26:19-21 -- “When I make you a desolate city, like the cities which are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you and the great waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who go down to the pit, …but I will set glory in the land of the living. “I will bring terrors on you and you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again,
  • “Nebuchadnezzar needed to destroy the island”
  • “Neb's and Alex's nations are two, not ‘many’”
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