Isaiah – Chapter 23

Getting Tyred

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The next prophecy concerns Tzur (Tyre). A seaport economy, the ships will mourn the destruction of Tzur’s cities, as will those who live on islands, for they will have no one with whom to do business. Egypt would bring trade to Tzur, which became a major trading market. Since the people of Tzur are gone, the sea will say, “It’s like I never had children!” When people hear about what happened in Tzur, they’ll react like people did when they heard about the Ten Plagues in Egypt, centuries earlier.

The people of Tzur (or, possibly those hearing about their fate) are advised to flee to Tarshish. A once joyful city of honored merchants has been exiled. This is part of G-d’s plan to humble to arrogant.

G-d stretched out His hand over Tzur and summoned the nations to attack. He said that they would no longer rejoice because they’re being exiled to the land of Kitim (possibly Cyprus). Assyria commandeered the land of Kasdim for fleets and towers, destroying the palaces there.

So the ships of Tarshish cry for their destroyed land. In seventy years, though, after Tzur has been forgotten, that they will start to return. They will begin to be remembered and G-d will return the people of Tzur to their land and their former status. The trade of Tzur will be made holy to G-d, not hoarded or left as an inheritance. It will benefit those who serve G-d.

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