The Destruction of Tyre

by BJ Rudge, Ph. D.

The book of Ezekiel gives an amazing prophecy about the total destruction of the Phoenician city of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-14). Following are a few specific details in this prophecy:

1. Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the mainland city of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:8).

2. She will be made a bare rock; flat like the top of a rock (Ezekiel 26:4).

3. The debris will be thrown into the water (Ezekiel 26:12).

4. Many nations will come against Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3).

5. Fishermen will spread nets over the site (Ezekiel 26:5).

6. She will never be rebuilt (Ezekiel 26:14).

It is interesting to note that at the time of Ezekiel, "Tyre was the greatest maritime city on the Mediterranean. It was situated on the coast, with an excellent natural harbor protected by an island about a half-mile offshore."2 However, just a few years following Ezekiel's prediction, Nebuchadnezzar began his siege on this great coastal city. Although the initial fulfillment of this prophecy began shortly after it was predicted, its complete fulfillment did not occur until hundreds of years after it was foretold. Considering this fact, and the specific details surrounding this prophecy, it is highly unlikely that Ezekiel was making a well educated guess. This assertion is further supported when we consider how the details of this prediction were fulfilled. First, Nebuchadnezzar began a thirteen-year siege (585-573 B.C) of Tyre. Eventually, in 573 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar conquered and destroyed the mainland city of Tyre. As his troops moved into the city, they found that the majority of the people had fled to a fortified island a half-mile off the coast. Since Nebuchadnezzar did not have a navy, the assault on Tyre ceased and the city remained on the island for several hundred years. Eventually, our second and third details of the prophecy were fulfilled when in 322 B.C. Alexander the Great attacked Tyre. Being without a navy, Alexander used the walls and buildings of the mainland city to build a land bridge to the island. As predicted, this act by Alexander of throwing debris into the water left the old site of Tyre a "bare rock." Fourth, as history has shown, Tyre has been the object of assault by many nations. Beginning with Nebuchadnezzar, then Alexander (who mustered together various nations in his assault on Tyre), on into the Crusades, many nations have attacked Tyre. Fifth, in regard to the spreading of nets, the present site of the ancient city of Tyre has become a shoreline for the spreading of fishing nets. Finally, after its devastation in 1291, Tyre has never been rebuilt.

End Notes

1. Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, compiled by Bill Wilson (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993), 60.

2. John A. Bloom, "Truth Via Prophecy," in Evidence for Faith, ed. John Warwick Montgomery (Dallas: Probe Books, 1991), 182.