Ezekiel 26:15-18: Fallen Oppressors

For all her brutality,
Tyre had represented stability.
—Daniel I Block (Ezekiel vol. 2)

One of the worst injustices in life is the breakdown of relationships into violence. I could recite the standard stereotype: drunken husband / fear-ridden wife—but this tragedy plays out in many different ways. The result is often predictable, though: the person who has been abused almost always returns to his or her abuser. To the outsider, this behaviour is ludicrous—even obscene—but it happens.

The first 14 verses of Ezekiel 26 dealt with God’s judgment on Tyre. The next few verses deal with how the surrounding nations responded to her demise. You would expect the beaten down nations to rejoice at the collapse of an oppressor. But strangely, they are shaken to their core and mourn.

. . .

These four short verses show four responses to the collapse of Tyre:

  1. As the news of Tyre’s fall spreads throughout the world, the nations tremble in fear.
  2. The rulers of other nations step down from their thrones at the news, and exchange their royal robes for the colourless garb of mourners.
  3. The rulers of the surrounding nations sat down on the ground and literally trembled at the horror of the news.
  4. The surrounding rulers will sang a death song: a lament for the fallen oppressor.

How you have vanished from the seas,
O city renowned,
once mighty on the sea,
you and your inhabitants,
who imposed your terror
on all the mainland!
Now the coastlands tremble
on the day of your fall;
the coastlands by the sea
are dismayed at your passing.
(v. 17-18, NRSV)

. . .

Were those nations right to mourn? It’s not a question Ezekiel ever bothered to answer. Often in Ezekiel we have statements of fact instead of moral judgments. In this case, human nature played out the way it always has: shock and fear at the loss of an oppressor.

In addition to being an oppressor, Tyre was the master of a number of trade routes. Tyre was the nation that kept things flowing smoothly. Sure, she could be a tough mistress—but she got the job done. Now that she was gone, the nations that were dependent on her oversight collapsed to the ground in bewilderment.

. . .

Can you see yourself in those surrounding nations? How much are we dependent upon the conveniences the world offers us? Do we wink at a little tyranny by big-business when we end up with a 30% off sale on our end? If some of the major world-wide oppressors began to fall—like dominoes before God’s finger—would we seize the opportunity to spread justice in the world, or morn the loss of an oppressor?

. . .

Almighty God, in comparison to you, the strongest forces in this world are nothing. Help us to be wise as we challenge the doctrine of modern-day oppressors. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

< Ezekiel 26:1-14 | Silent Song

Ezekiel 26:19-21 | The Pit >

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One Response to Ezekiel 26:15-18: Fallen Oppressors

  1. Robin September 24, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is easy for sinful hearts to place their trust in a mortal tyrant they can see than an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God they cannot. Over and over again in history, people may have hated and feared their oppressors, but they respect the power and “security” and most would wish to have that power themselves. When you think someone has it all together, has what everyone else, secretly or openly, wants, and they fall, there goes your world! If the mighty have fallen, what of the rest of us?

    Isn’t it wonderful that the true Ruler of all that exists sets all the rules of kingship on their heads? Can’t – hold – back – the – Petra – Song:

    “King’s Ransom”
    [Based on Matthew 20:28]

    It’s such a paradox – it’s such a mystery
    Why a King would leave His throne to save humanity
    They could not have known when they mocked Him in disgrace
    They could not have known when they spit upon His face

    The Rose of Sharon wore a crown of thorns that day
    The carpenter had a nail right through His hand
    The Master of the earth became a servant of no worth
    And paid a King’s ransom for my soul
    He paid a King’s ransom for my soul

    Creator of the earth – Name above all names
    Some just stood in unbelief when listening to His claims
    They could not have known when they hit Him with their fists
    They could not have known when they nailed his feet and wrists

    The ransom that He paid was the sacrifice he made
    The life of a King in place of me
    The shame that He bore for the rich and for the poor
    Changed His crown of thorns into glory

    I am so grateful that the Lord has given me the eyes to see the King whose love for me was so great that he gave up everything he had just to give me the opportunity to give myself back to him of my own free will. There was, is and never will be another like Him. I so look forward to the day EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

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