Ezekial 26 was way off the mark on Tyre

DeathMunkyGod
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Ezekial 26 was way off the mark on Tyre

I apologize in advance for what follows.  I wanted to be sure no one could accuse me of taking anything out of context, so here's all of the context.  Also I like to have all of the verses presented with the information based on them so I thought I would provide the same courtesy here.  Ezekial 26 is a 21 verse chapter which primarily focuses on a prophecy by Ezekial against the city of Tyre located in modern day Lebanon.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:1) And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

(Eze 26:2) Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:

(Eze 26:3) Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.

Only Ezekial 26:3 is worth commenting on here.  It's worth commenting that many nations did come up against Tyre, The egyptians attacked Tyre many times, Salmanesser V, an Assyrian king, beseiged Tyre  for 5 years (724-720 BC) aided by the Phoenecians, The Assyrian king Sennacherib attempted a seige on Tyre in 701 BC, Another Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, also beseiged Tyre in 663 BC,  Nebuchadnezzer II beseiged Tyre for 13 years (585-570 BC), and Alexander the Great beseiged Tyre for 7 months (332 BC) and became the first to actually conquor the city.  It's also interesting to note that this prophecy is about Nebuchadnezzer, so this part of the prophecy hardly counts as prophetic,  It's basically a prophecy saying that what has happened many times in the past, the Egyptians and Salmanesser V, will happen in the future.  So now we see that the only part of this prophecy that even appears to have come true on even a close inspection, on closer inspection actually has not, or in this case, was not even prophetic.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:4) And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.

The walls of Tyre were breached by Alexander the Great but Alexander did not destroy the city of Tyre.  I should now point out that the City of Tyre was divided into two distinct parts, there was the continental part of Tyre and the Island part of Tyre.  The Island city was the main part of the city contrary to what I am often told when I point out this failed prophecy.  One clue is the fact that despite all of the many past seiges before Alexander's getting into the continental city the Tyrians considered that their city had never been conquored because no one before Alexander ever managed to conquor the island.  That's a pretty strong hint that the Tyrians themselves considered the island to be the most important part of the city.  There's also the fact that the major temples were located on the island not the continent.  So here we have a part where it says that Tyre would be made like the top of a rock.  Alexander the Great sort of did that to the continental portion of the city so people like to point to that and say this happened.  They ignore the fact that the prophecy states that this will happen to the entire city of Tyre, which never happened.  This part of the prophecy is another failed part.  The walls of tyre were never destroyed, only breached, the towers were never broken down, though some may have been, and the city was not make like the top of a rock though the continental part sort of was...it did still have dust, Alexander the Great was only interested in the rocks and the lumber.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:5) It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.

(Eze 26:6) And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

(Eze 26:7) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.

Verse 7 is the part where it introduces the one who God has sent to do all of these things, and it isn't Alexander the Great.  Everything that follows was supposed to have been done by Nebuchadnezzar...oddly enough nothing that follows was done by Nebuchadnezzar.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:Cool He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.

Note that it's started to get repetitive?  I smell a redaction.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:9) And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.

Two more things Nebuchadnezzar never did and actually never happened at all.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:10) By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.

Nebuchadnezzar never entered the city of Tyre.  Also does this description sound like a failed 13 year seige to you?

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:11) With the hooves of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.

How does an army tread down all of the streets of a city it never enters?  The answer is...it doesn't, this part of the prophecy also failed.  Unless you want to try to say it suddenly shifted from Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the Great without so much as a word about it.  The only way to argue that this part of the prophecy actually came true is to take it out of the context set by verse 7.  Nothing that has followed verse 7 thus far has suggested that the "his" in this verse is anyone other than Nebuchadnezzar, and verse 7 explicitly states that it is.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:12) And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.

Nebuchadnezzar never took Tyre's riches.  He never entered the city.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:13) And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.

The city remained inhabited after the 13 year seige by Nebuchadnezzar because Nebuchadnezzar never entered the city, so I would guess, and I don't think it would be an unreasonable guess, that the opposite of this verse happened after the end of the seige.  My guess is that there was much singing and merry making after the seige was lifted.  Not even Alexander the Great left Tyre uninhabited.  It's important here to note, I think, that Tyre has not spent a day since its foundation uninhabited.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:14) And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

this verse says that Tyre shall be built no more.  So here I think it fitting to link you to the modern city of Tyre: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Lebanon&ie=UTF8&ll=33.272404,35.19717&spn=0.008073,0.019226&t=h&z=16

Crap...someone built there...Actually at one time someone actually tried to tell me that the modern city of Tyre doesn't exist and that Google Earth was wrong the bible was right...

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:15) Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?

(Eze 26:16) Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their embroidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee.

(Eze 26:17) And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!

I don't think the unsuccessful 13 year seige had this effect considering that Tyre and its neighbors were still pagan when Alexander the Great came to the area about 200 years later.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:18) Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.

(Eze 26:19) For thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;

Also important to note that Tyre was never covered by water, in fact quite the opposite, Alexander the Great caused Tyre to gain more land.  As you could see by looking at the google maps overview of Tyre it's no longer an island.  Alexander the Great connected the island to the continent.  So once again the opposite of what was prophecied is what actually happened.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:20) When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;

This strikes me as just being a poetic way of saying he's sending them all to hell.

KJV Bible wrote:
(Eze 26:21) I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.

I laugh particularly hard at this because I can find Tyre, now called Sur in case you were wondering, in just a few seconds in Google Earth.

As far as I can determine this prophecy has failed.


pauljohntheskeptic
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Agreed Ezekial was a poor prophet

This was one of his errors. He was so bad at prophecy he wrote in Ezekial 33:33, "And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them."

Unfortunately for Ezekial his prophecies were consistently wrong.

1-Egypt to be seized by Nebuchadnezzar - Ezekial 29:17-20 as well as a rant in 30, 31, and 32 - Result failed prophecy, it didn't happen.

2-That Israel/Judah would be desolate. Ezekial 33:24-29 - Much rant about how all would die and the land would be desolate , yada, yada... Not true.In Jeremiah 40:12, "Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much."

Read Jeremiah 41, where in v8 they have great treasures in the field to harvest. In addition, excavation at Mizpah indicates it was doing quite well after Jerusalem was destroyed. In fact Jerusalem seems to be the center of the destruction and it appears to be worse than described. Archealogy indicates Mizpah was rebuilt for the Babylonians with much prosperity even for the locals who lived side by side with their conquerors.

This IMO is another failure for Ezekial.

3-His Gog Magog prediction has been construed to be this or that by many. Based on his poor record of prophecy IMO its nothing but rant.

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phooney
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I argued this one long and

I argued this one long and hard with a Friendly-But-Bible-Bashing-Evangelical on another website.  Here's one of my last responses to him:

 

FBBBE wrote:
"I think we might be talking about apples and oranges, here. I'm not sure how you would define the word prophecy, but i would define it this way:..."

phooney wrote:

That is possible, perhaps even probable.
At a most basic level, I would just say that a biblical prophecy is anything that is in the bible that makes a statement about the future or about facts they couldn't possibly know about otherwise.  However, there must be conditions imposed for me to consider it a 'valid' prophecy.
 

1)  The prophecy must be made BEFORE the events it prophecises!  For prophecies about a previous event or fact, the propheciser must not be able to possibly know about the event or fact they are prophecising about.  The reasons for this should be self-evident.
 

2)  It must have a date or time limit attached to it.  For a mere human making a prophecy I would probably be a bit more lenient on the accuracy level of the dating, but for a human channelling an omnipotent, omniscient propheciser, I think it is reasonable to expect a higher level of accuracy.  The reason for requiring a date is twofold.  It saves time in debating "Is this event what he meant?  Is that event what he meant?".  More importantly, it provides a key component of falsifiability.  Prophecies with dates that have come and gone can be obviously written off as false.  Prophecies with no date have too easy a "get out of jail free" card, and this makes them pretty weak in my opinion.  Prophecies with future dates at least give us something to look forward to, though I suppose that if the prophet wants his distant-future prophecy to be remembered, he had better make some good predictions during his lifetime!
 

3)  It must not be fulfilled by people who could have heard of the prophecy.  It would be preferrable if people, who naturally have an interest in the prophecies, had nothing to do with it.  An example would be "On the 3rd of June 2008 a pig will fly, under its own power, around the world visiting every major house of parliament and will be seen by millions."
 

4)  Ambiguity, vagueness, repetition, theatrics and poetry demonstrate a different purpose for a "prophecy", such as a Nostradamus style all-purpose prophecy, or intimidation purposes, or allegory.
 

5)  It must be correct!

I'm really sleepy at the moment, so I might have other reasons for dismissing a prophecy, but they don't immediately spring to mind.
How does the Tyre prophecy fare?  Not too well I'm afraid.


1)  As far as I can gather, the oldest copy of Ezekiel is on some papyrus called P967 and is dated at early in the third century.  This is WELL after Alexander the Great.  I, of course, concede that there is nothing to say that P967 is the original document, and I would actually be surprised if it was.  However, that being the case, who knows what the original wording was?  And who had control of the texts?  I don't think that those in control were unbiased!


2)  No date attached.  We can try to use the text itself to see what date was intended, and the most glaringly obvious is the name Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, which at least gives us a date range to work with.  The prophecy did not come to pass within this particular date range.  It is clear from Ezekiel 20:7-12 that it was supposed to be Nebuchadnezzar doing the fulfilling.  The obvious defence is that Ezekiel also says "many nations" and though it is more parsimonious to suppose that this refers to the 'many nations' under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, like the many nations under the rule of Queen Elizabeth today, it also potentially opens the prophetic window to "from now until the end of time"  which is just ridiculous.


3)  Fulfilled by people or a person.  Note that I don't believe that Alexander had heard of the prophecy beforehand.  That said, the evidence that you have pointed to for God having spoken to Ezikiel is that the prophecy "came true" but if that is the only evidence that is required, it equally well supports the speculation that Alexander heard the prophecy from some random source.  We know people spoke.  We know people spoke about prophecies.  We know Alexander spoke to people.  We know he lived and invaded in and around the areas relevant to these prophecies.  I want to repeat that I do not have evidence for Alexander hearing about the prophecy beforehand, and consequently do not believe that was the case, it is just a simpler explanation that matches with the fulfillment equally well.


4)  Ambiguity, vagueness:  "found" ???  Going by your defence of this, God could have been saying "The square will never be a circle" because it could not be found purely by definition of what it was.
Is the water going over the city, or is the city going under the water?  Yes I do think this is an important difference.
"throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea."
"when I bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you"
Repetition:  "like the sea casting up its waves" "Out in the sea" "throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea" "bring the ocean depths over you and its vast waters cover you"
"make her a bare rock. 5 Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets" "make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets"
"pull down her towers"  "demolish your towers"  etc
Theatrics and poetry: Pretty much the entire passage you directed me to. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=33&chapter=26&version=31

5)  "You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD."
""The location of the city of Tyre is not in doubt, for it exists to this day on the same spot and is known as Sur." (Katzenstein, H.J., The History of Tyre, 1973, p9)"
http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=3...&t=h&z=16&om=1
"Excavations have uncovered remains of the Greco-Roman, Crusader, Arab, and Byzantine civilizations, but most of the remains of the Phoenician period lie BENEATH THE PRESENT TOWN." http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9074016/Tyre
(emphasis is mine)

So basically, this prophecy is a failiure as far as I am concerned.