Who was the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28?


Who was the King of Tyre in Ezekiel chapter 28?

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The king of Tyre at the time Ezekiel was written was Ithobaal III (sometimes spelled Ethbaal III) who reigned from 591–573 BC. His name connects him with the Phoenician god Baal.

A Message

Ezekiel 28:1-10 gives a message for Ithobaal, the king of Tyre. The description of Ithobaal uses allusions to Satan's rebellion against God to illustrate Ithobaal's faults. Tyre’s king was prideful, to the point of considering himself to be a god (compare to Satan - II Corinthians 4:4). He saw himself occupying an impenetrable stronghold in the midst of the sea, like God in heaven. But in reality, Ithobaal is just a man.

He is mockingly called wiser that the famous Daniel of Babylon (Zechariah 9:2). He was convinced that his success was due to his personal wisdom. Yes, he was smart enough to trade profitably and increase his routes. But that doesn’t translate into general wisdom. Because he thought himself a wise god, God would send strong nations against his kingdom. His kingdom would be thrown into the pit (to the sea bottom) (compare to Satan - II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 20:1-3).

God declared that he would die deaths (multiple ways of dying). Would he persist in calling himself a god? He would die like a man cut off from God; thus, suffering two deaths.

A Lament

A lamentation is given for the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19. He has not died yet, but since God declared it, the result was certain. Ezekiel doesn’t rejoice at his fall but is sorrowful. In this lament, the imagery comparing the king of Tyre to Satan becomes stronger. It is similar to imagery used against the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12-15).

He is called perfect in beauty and wisdom. His beauty was sealed (marked as finished see Daniel 9:24). His home was compared to the garden of Eden, full of beauty and wealth (Genesis 2:12).

He is compared to Satan, an anointed cherub, beautiful, powerful, and with access to the realm of God (Job 1:6-7; 2:1-2; Zechariah 3:1-2). A cherub is a spiritual being who is a guardian. The reference to him walking in the midst of fire brings up images of God (Exodus 24:10, 17; Ezekiel 1:27).

He was perfect until sin entered his heart. The king fell due to his large trade operation (I Timothy 6:9-10). Violence instead of justice became the internal rule of his kingdom. Though Eliphaz is not always accurate, he shows that people believed that angels were corruptible (Job 4:18). There is no reason to doubt that idea (II Peter 2:4). Like Satan, Ithobaal was rejected as a profane or corrupt thing (Revelation 12:7-11). Ithobaal became too prideful (Proverbs 16:18), just like Satan (Jude 6; II Peter 2:4). In his pride, he allowed his wisdom to be corrupted, much like Pharaoh (Isaiah 19:11-13; Jeremiah 8:9; Romans 1:22). But his wisdom would not prevent him from being cast down (Psalms 73:18; Job 40:11-12).

Ithobaal polluted his own dwelling places with his sins (Mark 8:36). Thus, God would burn down his dwellings (Amos 1:9-10). The destruction would be so complete that his beauty would not be remembered, only the horror of his end.

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