A Prophecy About Tyre (Isaiah 23)

Scripture Text:

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Isaiah 23

1. Tyre was the main city of Phoenicia, a prosperous trading country on the Mediterranean Sea. What role did Tyre play in the economy of surrounding nations ((verses 1 – 3)? What was the city like before the events of this prophecy (verses 7 and 8)?

2. How do you feel when introduced to one far more powerful and wealthy than you? Why do you react that way?

3. What loss would be most devastating to you and why:

  • your home
  • your business
  • your ability to communicate
  • your car

4. Ships of Tarshish were capable of sailing to the ends of the known world. What message was given to their sailors as they were returning home? How did this message affect Tyre’s trading partners?

5. Isaiah may be anticipating here one of the Assyrian attacks upon Tyre (about 705 – 701 and 679 – 671 BC), or its final destruction by the Greeks (about 332 BC). In either event, whom does he credit with planning the downfall of Tyre, the king-maker? How is God’s control over the kings and nations evident (verses 9 – 12)?

6. Babylon, the symbol of strength and prestige in the East, was beaten by Assyria in 710 BC and again in 689 BC. What effect would recalling the destruction of both Babylon in the East and Tyre on the West have on Judah as they faced the Assyrians? What would the associate with the “70 years” (verse 15)?

7. In what sense will the Lord “deal with” Tyre (verses 17 and 18)? What will happen as a result of Tyre’s restoration? How does this compare with what Isaiah said of Egypt and Assyria (Isaiah 19:23 – 25)? Since verse 18 has never happened literally, what is the figurative meaning behind this passage? What does it imply about God’s plan for the world (see Revelation 18:3)?

8. Chapters 13 – 23 reflect upon the foolishness of Judah depending upon alliances with the other nations rather than upon God to protect her from Assyria. What do you see as one implication of that loyalty principle for your life today? To what or whom have you looked to fill that God-shaped insecurity in your life?

9. If Babylon represented the height of the world’s culture, and Tyre the apex of its wealth, how would you use Isaiah’s message to challenge people dedicated to power and money? Does this mean power and wealth in themselves are wrong? Why or why not? How does this passage serve as an ongoing warning to the church in every age? To your church in particular?

10. How does the promise in verse 18 (see also Isaiah 19:23 – 25) relate to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 5:5? How would you picture the hope stirred up by these pictures and promises? What specific action will you take to embody that hope for a reconciled world loyal to God?

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