Were Tyre's coastal suburbs (Ushu) fortified?

“Yes, after all…
  • Nebuchadnezzar had to siege Tyre 13 years

      Nebuchadnezzar sieged Tyre for thirteen years. This is relevant because Nebuchadnezzar was not sieging the island (he did not even have a navy). Consequently, he was sieging Tyre's coastal district, and it would not have taken thirteen years to capture it if it was not fortified.

  • Joshua 19:29 refers to the walls of coastal Tyre

      It says in Joshua 19:29 -- “to Ramah and to the fortified city of Tyre.” This is relevant because this is a reference to Ushu (Tyre on the coast).1

      1. C. F. Keil & E. Delitzsche: “'The fortified town of Zor,' i.e., Tyre, is not the insular Tyre, but the town of Tyre, which was on the mainland, the present Sur, which is situated by the sea-coast, in a beautiful and fertile plain (see Ritter, Erdk. xvii. p. 320, and Movers, Phönizier, ii. 1, pp. 118ff.).” [Commentary on the Old Testament Vol IV: Joshua, Judges, Ruth (T & T Clark, ), 201.]. See also Marten H. Woudstra, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Joshua (Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1981), 289.
  • “No, after all…
  • Ashurbanipal did not mention any walls

      Ashburbanipal (King of Assyria, 668-626 B.C.) boasted of having destroyed Tyre, and yet did not mention any walls.1 This is relevant because we might have expected him to mention the destruction of walls if there were any.

      By way of response, however, few scholars have found this argument from silence persuasive―the consensus is that coastal Tyre was fortified. (See above). It is explainable several ways (for example, by the walls not being as noteworthy as those on the island.)

      1. Ashurbanipal (King of Assyria, 668-626 B.C.): “In my third campaign I marched against Baal, King of Tyre, who dwelt in the midst of the sea. Because he had not kept the word of my lordship nor heeded utterance of my lips, I erected against him siege-works and cut off his exit both by land and sea; their lives I made narrow and straitened; I caused them to submit to my yoke."; "On my return I captured Ushu, which is situated on the coast of the sea. The inhabitants of Ushu, who had not been obedient to their governers, who had not paid their tribute, I killed as the tribute of their land. Among the rebellious peoples I set my staff.” [George Aaron Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, 378.]
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