Chapter 27 is a lament that Ezekiel is instructed to raise over Tyre. It is the kind of lament that shows how far the mighty have fallen by first detailing the great heights they no longer occupy. I suspect the Lord has Ezekiel include this section for our benefit because his contemporaries would have already known how great Tyre’s power was. Ever since it fell, the memories of its greatness would fade quickly.
The lament begins by comparing Tyre to a beautiful ship constructed of expensive materials: fir from Senir for planks, cedar from Lebanon for a mast, oaks from Bashan for oars, pine from Cyprus for the deck, and inlaid with ivory. The sail was embroidered linen from Egypt, and the awnings were dyed blue and purple from Elishah (probably Cyprus), the most expensive colors. The ship’s rowers were from Sidon and Arvad while the skilled men, the officers and pilots were from Tyre itself. All these places were near the city of Tyre on the Mediterranean coast.
What does this beautiful ship do? It goes out to all the other lands and trades with them: Persia, Put, Lud, Arvad, Helech, and Gamad provided soldiers and weapons of war; Tarshish traded silver, iron, tin, and lead; Javan, Tubal, and Meshech sold slaves and bronze; Beth-togarmah traded horses and mules; and the list goes on and on. Now the locations range from as far as Spain to Ethiopia to Iran. A great variety of wares are traded with Tyre: precious stones, food of many kinds including expensive spices and wine, textiles, and rare woods.
All of these connections made Tyre an economic superpower in its day, and it was no slouch militarily, either. (Remember it fought back against Babylon, a great empire, for thirteen years before being defeated.) Its future seemed secure because its might was so great. Who could defeat it?
You are ever-victorious, and no power at all can stand against Your strength.