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Friday, February 19 2016
Zechariah 9: The Siege Of Tyre
"And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and He will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire"
Tyre (alternately rendered as "Tyre" or "Tyrus" in the King James Version) was an ancient port city of the Phoenicians on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is today southern Lebanon, just north of the border with Israel. Some of the most well-known cities of Phenicia, or Phoenicia (from the Greek phoinix, which meant both a palm tree) were Tyre and Sidon (see the map below). Another notable city was Byblos, a major manufacturer and exporter of papyrus, a tall reed-like plant that grows in swamps and along rivers, that was used to make some of the earliest writing material - and hence, books. The English-language word "Bible" is derived from Byblos, meaning "the papyrus," or "the book."
The city of Tyre was originally established on both an island and the adjacent mainland, which provided for it to be a major port of commerce in the region. According to one ancient account, "Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighboring islands of the Aegean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gadeira."
When King David captured and transformed Jerusalem into an Israelite city (see How Long Was Jerusalem The Capital Of Israel?), King Hiram of Tyre (see King Hiram of Tyre) sent cedar lumber, carpenters, and stonemasons to help David build his palace.
"5:9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 5:10 And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. 5:11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house." (2 Samuel 5:9-11 KJV)
In the years that followed, when King Solomon succeeded his father David as king, King Hiram continued his alliance with Israel. All of the fine cedar for the first Temple in Jerusalem came from Tyre (see The Temple That Solomon Built).
"5:8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. 5:9 My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. 5:10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire." (1 Kings 5:8-10 KJV)
As shown on the city map above, Tyre existed in two sections - a fortress on the mainland, and the main city which was constructed on a small island about 1,000 yards/meters from the shore (see Tyre's Island In The Sea). The natural defensive capability enabled it to withstand a siege by King Shalmaneser of Assyria for 5 years during the time of the fall of the Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes). As prophesied and recorded by Ezekiel, Tyre also experienced the Babylonian onslaught by King Nebuchadnezzar at the time the fall of the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC (see Tyre's World Trade Center).
"26:1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
The sieges of Tyre by the Assyrians and the Babylonians were already history to Zechariah in his time - Zechariah lived when Persia was taking its turn as the "superpower" of the world. But just as the LORD specifically prophesied the earlier sieges, the city would then be taken by the Greeks under Alexander the Great (the Greek Empire superseded the Persian Empire; see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids and the Fact Finder question below).
Notice also however that, as with the other prophets, Zechariah looked beyond to the reason that the "world is not big enough" for the kingdoms of man and the Kingdom of God. The mandate of the Messiah's coming to rule began with His Sacrifice: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (verse 9 below).
"9:1 The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.
Fact Finder: What was the succession of empires that ruled the Middle East throughout the history of Israel?
This Day In History, February 19
197: Roman Emperor Septimius Severus defeated rebel commander Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugdunum, the greatest battle between Roman armies (see The Politics Of Rome, Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire, A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Legions Of Men And Angels).
356: Emperor Constantius II issued a decree to favor the Roman newly-created version (perversion) of Christianity in the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
842: The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ended. A Council in Constantinople formally reinstated the veneration of graven images (which they called "icons"). This debate over icons is often considered the last event which led to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Roman Churches.
1401: William Sawtree, regarded by some as the first English religious martyr, was burned in London.
1408: The English Northumberland Rebellion ended when Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Bramham Moor.
1473: Nicholas Copernicus was born in Poland. He is considered by some to be the founder of modern astronomy.
1568: Miles Coverdale died at age 80. He was the translator and publisher of the first complete Bible to be printed in English, in 1535. He was also the editor of the "Great Bible" of 1539.
1674: England and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Westminster to end the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The treaty surrendered the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, after which it was given its present-day name - New York.
1797: Pope Pius VI signed the Treaty of Tolentino with Napoleon under which Bologna, Romagna and Ferrara were ceded to France.
1800: Napoleon Bonaparte established himself as first consul in France.
1861: Serfdom was abolished in Russia.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), British and French warships began attacks on Ottoman (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) fortifications at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of Gallipoli.
1918: With the beginning of communism in Russia, a decree abolishing all private ownership of land, water and natural resources was issued by the Soviet Central Executive Committee.
1942: Japanese forces made the first attack on the Australian mainland, bombing Port Darwin.
1942: During the Second World War (which actually began in September 1939 for the rest of the world, but only in December of 1941 for the U.S. with the Japanese attack on the U.S. military base in Hawaii), President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the arrest and camp internment, without charge or legal due process, of many people of Japanese race, even those born in the U.S.
1953: Georgia approved the first "literature censorship board" in the U.S.
1959: The Prime Ministers of Britain, Turkey and Greece signed an agreement in London for the independence of Cyprus.
1976: Iceland severed diplomatic relations with Britain during the "Cod War," a dispute over fishing rights of depleted Atlantic cod stocks.
1976: Executive Order 9066 of 1942 (see listing above), which provided the legal means to incarcerate racial-Japanese U.S. citizens (including those born in the U.S. for generations) to "internment camps" without charge or trial during the Second World War, was rescinded by President Gerald Ford.
1986: The Soviet Union launched its Mir space station. It remained in Earth orbit for 15 years.