Ezekiel 26:4,12 "They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. They will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water."
The account in chapter 26 of the book of Ezekiel is too incredible not to take notice. God opens Himself up so often to attack because He continually provides some much detailed data in the Bible that skeptics love to start hacking away at the recorded history. But here in Ezekiel, we have a prophecy of the destruction of a former major seaport city, by arguably the greatest military general who ever lived, that is given to us by God over 200 years before the event, that we have to stop and take notice again of the amazing accuracy of the biblical prophetic record.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote his book around 580BC. At that time, Tyre had already been attacked by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who had tried unsuccessfully to capture the city in a 13-year siege. The residents of Tyre moved to their island for greater safety, abandoning the mainland city and fortifying themselves against attack. And here is where it gets interesting – when Alexander the Great shows up in Tyre around 330BC to capture it, Tyre is an island city. And our verses this week, Ezekiel 26:4 and 12, come alive.
Alexander had just defeated the Persian King Darius at the Battle of Issus and was marching toward Egypt. His plan was to deny the Persia fleet access to any of the cities along the coast, especially Tyre. He demanded Tyre surrender, and they refused. You see, the inhabitants of Tyre were confident they were safe. Alexander had no ships with him at the time, so it didn’t look like he could get to the island city to capture it. So, just as Ezekiel had prophesied, he demolished old Tyre on the mainland, and with the debris built a mole 200 ft. wide across the straits separating the old city and the island city!
Alexander, as Ezekiel said in 580BC, "scraped the dust from her, making her flat like the top of a rock." And then again as Ezekiel said, Alexander "breaks down the walls, and lays the stones, the timber, and the soil in the midst of the water". Philip Myers, in his textbook "General History for Colleges and High Schools", records it this way: "In 332 BC Alexander the Great reduced it (Tyre) to ruins. She recovered in a measure from this, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site of the once great city is now bare as the top of a rock - a place where fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry."
God once again provides incredible prophetic events that stand the test of both archaeology and literary scrutiny. What an awesome God we have, who reveals Himself through the Bible to willing to take the time to listen.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called "Faith: Substance and Evidence." He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.