Isaiah 23 — The Burden of Tyre

In Chapter 23, Isaiah delivers his last ‘burden’—the burden of Tyre. Tyre was a fortified city state known for its powerful and unparalleled trading economy. Around a hundred years after Isaiah delivered this burden, Ezekiel wrote a three-chapter trilogy amplifying what Isaiah had written. (Ez 26-28) Just as Isaiah used Shebna and Eliakim as types of the antichrist and the Messiah in Chapter 22, Ezekiel uses the king of Tyre as a type of Satan. (Ez 28) I believe Tyre’s worldwide dominance in trade and commerce relates to the commercial aspects of MYSTERY BABYLON revealed in Revelation 18. The fact that Tyre is listed last among the eleven burdens seems to point to the last days as well.

Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Isaiah 23
1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.

Tarshish is thought to be a Phoenician satellite city that was in the south of Spain. Chittim is the name the Hebrews had for Cypress. Isaiah says the ships of Tarshish are going to lose their trade revenue because of the fall of Tyre. Apparently they would first receive news of the fall of Tyre from Cypress. Their howling is similar to how the merchants in Revelation 18 howl after the fall of MYSTERY BABYLON. (Cf vv 6,14; Ez 27:29-33)

2 Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle [Cypress?]; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.
3 And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river [Nile], is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations.

Tyre was the center of world trade. Sihor is another name for the Nile (cf Jer 2:18), which was surrounded by rich farmland in Isaiah’s day.

4 Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.
5 As at the report concerning Egypt [see notes on Isaiah 19], so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre.
6 Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.
7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.
8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?
9 The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.
10 Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.
11 He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof.
12 And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest.
13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin.

Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, conquered Tyre as the result of a 13-year siege from 586-573.

14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste.
15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.

Tyre’s inhabitants were taken into captivity for seventy years just as the inhabitants of Jerusalem were. ‘Sing as an harlot’ is an idiom from the ancient world. Today we would say ‘sing like a bird’. Apparently Tyre became known for her singers.

16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

Again, notice the similarity to Revelation 17 and 18. MYSTERY BABYLON is the mother of harlots.

17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

Tyre was rebuilt as an island fortress offshore, near where the original city was. After seventy years, Tyre again became a world trading power. The city’s fall to Alexander the Great in 332 BC is emblematic of the fall of commercial Babylon in the last days. (Rev 18) According to the last verse below, in the millennium Tyre will be rebuilt and will act as a responsible trading partner with Messiah.

18 And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.
Isaiah 23


The traditional view of Revelation 17 and 18 is that they present the dual nature of MYSTERY BABYLON: ie religious Babylon and commercial Babylon, respectively. Revelation 13 shows how politics will be added as well, forming an unholy trinity of sorts. The strange bedfellows of politics and religion have been used in statecraft from time immemorial. Adding multinational corporations and merging these three components (religion, business, politics) into a united global administrative combine will create an empire unlike any the world has ever seen. Once the church has been taken out of the way (2 Thess 2:7), the antichrist will be revealed and the full-blown New World Order will be unveiled. The following critique, taken from the pages of Dragon Slayer Jesus Christ, explains the paradigm shift that has taken place over the last century to prepare corporate America for the New World Order:

“Individualism means you reap the fruit of your labor. You are rewarded for your hard work. Collectivism means you will never be above average, no matter how hard you work. The rise of the corporation was the collectivization of the American economy. Corporations are not true capitalism. Adam Smith is largely credited as the father of capitalism. In the economics of Adam Smith, capitalism meant private ownership; it was free market, and individual driven. In the New World Order, corporations gobble up local economies, then siphon the money out of the community and into the coffers of the global elite. In the beginnings of our great Republic, corporations were viewed with suspicion and frowned upon. Corporations had to convince the state they operated in that their charter would benefit the public good. Their charter was limited to a specific duration, and could be revoked if the corporation was found to cause harm to the public. Today we are led to believe that corporations are as American as baseball and apple pie, part of free-market capitalism. This is not true. American business was built on the concept of private ownership, in which case money circulates in the community and benefits the local economy. In the case of the corporation however, the money leaves the local economy and benefits corporate interests, while adversely affecting the local economy by driving local companies that cannot compete out of business. Economic freedom is suppressed and diversity is suppressed, as everything is assimilated into the collective of the corporation. Someone may protest, saying that collectivism divides money equally and corporations do not, but that is part of the con of collectivism. It never works in practice as it is supposed to in theory. At least corporations do not try to hide the fact that their pay scale is pyramid shaped, with the rich executives at the top in the capstone. The general principles of collectivism are still present — uniformity, assimilation, everyone is forced into the mold. Collectives are the result of bullies telling people that they have to be like them. They have to think like they want them to think, dress like they want them to dress, do as they are told, take their wages, and conform without making waves.”
Dragon Slayer Jesus Christ (pp 114, 115)

Corporations made inroads in America by providing windfall profits for the state through taxes. That was how they were able to convince the government that they did not necessarily need to ‘benefit the public’ in order to keep their charters. The love of money is the root of all evil. However, it is too late to go back to the age of high corporate taxes, because the corporations can simply find somewhere else to base themselves outside the US. There are no easy answers to the problems posed by corporations in the age of Big Tech, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, etc. Google, for example, has shown they have no problem working with Red China to help them oppress their populace, all the while coordinating with other Big Tech companies here in America and using their combined resources to stifle free speech. Hopefully, some of these tech giants can be regulated in some way. There are signs that may happen and we ought to pray for some significant change, but the only real answer I can see to this dilemma is the return of Christ. If you have not yet made a decision to serve Him, I recommend you do not put it off any longer. The Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins when He was crucified on Calvary. His kingdom will be the first just government in the history of the world where all will be treated fairly—beyond fairly actually. In Christ, you have nothing to lose except your sin. You have everything to gain—riches beyond imagination. The gospel is probably the only thing you will ever find that is true even though it sounds too good to be true. Jesus is going to make all things new. He will forgive you and welcome you, no matter what you have done, no matter how terrible it may seem in your eyes. (1 Jn 1:9) That is the whole reason He came to earth, so He could die for your sins and rise from the dead for your justification. It is a free gift. (Rom 5:15-18) All you have to do is take it (and repent of course).

Thank You Father, for showing us your entire plan from beginning to end. Thank You that Satan, the king of Tyre, is a defeated foe according to Ezekiel 28. Give us strength to stand for the truth and to patiently wait for You to send your Son back to fetch us home. Please open blind eyes to the goodness of your Son and the superiority of his kingdom. Bring worldwide revival, Father. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.