Isaiah 23 has the focus coming on Tyre and the judgment headed their way. To the north of Israel, Tyre was the leading city of Phoenecia, the great maritime power of the ancient world. Because it was such an important harbor and center for shipping, Tyre was synonymous with commerce and materialism. They had a business empire larger than anyone would expect from a city of their size and power. They were a trading partner of Israel’s in some ways, but also provided one of the worst leaders of all time for Israel in Jezebel.
Isaiah makes it clear the destruction will be complete. “Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor”. This won’t be a slight blow but total destruction. Tyre was an important place in that day – “you were the merchant of the nations”. The world would feel this. “When the report comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre”. Because of its great success, Tyre had become proud and full of self-glory. But the Lord has decided to judge and humble Tyre, and Isaiah announces it.
So why did it have to happen. Once again, it was pride. “The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory, to dishonor all the honored of the earth”. Pride is one of those basic sins that God does not tolerate. When we put man on the throne of life, it doesn’t end well. God says it clearly, “You will no more exult”. God’s plan is to punish them for a long time. “In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years”. 70 years is the time appointed by God, and the cost of their pride!
Then what you may ask? Isaiah paints that picture too. “At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord”. A big turnaround as the city not only was restored but became a place where Christianity grew and was very active. God’s hand changes things, and He demonstrates that in Tyre!