In Ezekiel's prophecy, was Nebuchadnezzar supposed to destroy Island Tyre?

Reasons given for answering "No"
  • Everyone knew Nebuchadnezzar had no navy

      Ezekiel, like any of his contemporaries, would have known that Nebuchadnezzar had no navy with which to siege an island. This is relevant because, then no contemporary prophet would choose to prophesy that he would siege the island.

  • Each of the attacks are blatantly land-specific

      Each of the attacks specifically attributed to Nebuchadnezzar are blatantly land-specific; they are applicable only to the coastal district of Tyre. For example,…
      • …“chariots”
      • …“siege walls”1
      • …“battering rams”
      • …“roof of shields”2
      • …“wagons”
      • …“multitude of his horses, the dust raised by them will cover you.”
      • …“strong pillars”3

      [Keep in mind that even if Nebuchadnezzar had a navy (which he did not), the walls of insular Tyre hugged the edge of the island in a way that would not even allow battering rams, siege walls, or a roof of shields. That is, unless Ezekiel somehow anticipated the building of a massive mole out to the island, one that in Alexander's day was considered perhaps the greatest war-engineering feat in history. Ezekiel would not have expected this as a way to reach the island.]

      1. John Gill: “a fort built of wood, and a mount made of earth, from which stones might be cast out of their engines, and arrows shot from their bows into the city, to the damaging of the houses, and the hurt of the inhabitants” [John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, available online.]
      2. C. F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch: “signifies the construction of a roof with shields, by which the besiegers were accustomed to defend themselves from the missiles of the defenders of the city wall.” [Commentary on the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1975), available online.]
      3. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, David Brown: “literally, ‘the statutes of thy strength’; so the forts which are ‘monuments of thy strength.’ MAURER understands, in stricter agreement with the literal meaning, ‘the statues’ or ‘obelisks erected in honor of the idols, the tutelary gods of Tyre,’ as Melecarte, answering to the Grecian Hercules, whose temple stood in Old Tyre [my insert: Old Tyre is Coastal Tyre] (compare Jer_43:13, Margin).” [Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), available online.]
  • There is a blatant absence of naval attack descriptions

      In Ezekiel's description of Nebuchadnezzar's attacks, there is a blatant absence of naval representation (no “boats”, “ships”, or the like). This is relevant because the description is rather long, varied, and vivid (see above); had this been a naval siege, the graphical description would have been themed completely differently.

      1. See the color-coded prophecy here where the section that is explicitly attributed to “He” (Nebuchadnezzar) is colored blue.
  • Reasons given for answering "Yes"
  • It was only island Tyre that was fortified

      Isn't it the case that only the Island called Tyre was fortified? • …Ashurbanipal didn't mention walls on Ushu (The structures along Tyre's coast) This would be relevant because Nebuchadnezzar's siege on Tyre was prophesied to be an attack on a fortified city.1

      Ezek 26:9 --“The blow of his battering rams he will direct against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.(c.f v 4. 8, 12)

  • “Many nations” just meant Nebuchadnezzar's army

      In Ezekiel's prophecy on Tyre, the “many nations” which are to entirely destroy Tyre are in fact just Nebuchadnezzar's multi-national army. This is relevant because Tyre was largely identified with her prestigous island, such that a destruction of Tyre would require a destruction of the island.

  • It said "you" (island) and "your daughters" (coastal)

      Look at the prophecy. The attacks assigned to Nebuchadnezzar (v8b-11) are not just addressed to “your daughters” (the mainland suburbs); in v.8 we see they were also addressed to “you.”1 This is relevant be cause the “you” there is a reference to the island in particular. Therefore, both the coastal suburbs and the island are supposed to come under Nebuchadnezzar's siege.

      By way of response however, the word “you” in Ezekiel's prophecy absolutely does not “refer to the island in particular”; it refers to Tyre itself as a city and the extensive line of suburbs on the coast are universally acknowledged to be a district of it. Consequently, Ezekiel simply designates “your daughters” (i.e. your coastal suburbs) as the specific point at which “you” (Tyre) will be attacked by Nebuchadnezzar.

      1. Ezek 26:8 -- “He will slay your daughters on the mainland with the sword; and he will make siege walls against you, cast up a ramp against you and raise up a large shield against you.”
      2. “You” (Tyre [Coastal and Insular]) includes “your daughters” (Coastal-Tyre). If you attack the metaphorical “daughters”, you are attacking a district of Tyre (and thus the entire city of Tyre). Similarly, if you the state of New York (a metaphorical offspring of the United States), you are still attacking the United States. Similarly, see Zechariah 2:6 -- “Ho, Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” Here the daughter of Babylon is Babylon.
      3. It is worth noting that, ii one erroneously maintains that the “daughters on the mainland” are entities separate from Tyre, all they would refer to are Tyre's super-suburbs (i.e. those suburbs that are beyond the prime 8-miles of coastal Tyre).
  • In Ezekiel 29, Ezekiel admits his prophecy failed
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