Isaiah 23

Words about Tyre

1 This is a serious message about Tyre.

Cry aloud, you people in the ships that go to Tarshish. An enemy has destroyed it. There is not one house to return to. They heard about it in the country called Cyprus.

2 Weep quietly, you people who live on the coast of the sea. Weep, you traders of Sidon, that the sailors made rich.

3 Grain came from the River Nile on the great seas. You got money because you sold the fruits from the land by the River Nile. So it became a market-place for many countries.

4 You people who live in Sidon, be ashamed. Be ashamed, because the sea has spoken. The people in the power of the sea, (Tyre), have said, ‘Our city has not been in-labour. Children have not been born. Our city has not had sons and it has not been a parent to daughters.’

5 When the people in Egypt receive the news, they will be in a lot of pain at the report from Tyre.

6 Cross over to Tarshish! Cry aloud, you people who live on the island.

7 This is the city where you had many parties. It is old, very old. Some people from this city walked a long way to live in foreign countries.

8 People do not know who made those plans against Tyre. Tyre is the city that gives crowns to people. Its traders are like kings. They are famous all over the world.

9 The Lord of Many Armies thought that he should do those things. He did not want people to feel more important than they were. And he wanted to cause all the famous people in the world not to feel important. That is why he did it.

10 Travel through your country, people in Tarshish, as easily as the people in Egypt travel along the River Nile. Travel because now, nobody will stop you.

11 The Lord has lifted his hand over the sea. He made kingdoms afraid. He told his armies what they must do in Phoenicia. They had to destroy all Phoenicia's strong buildings.

12 Then he said, ‘Do not continue your parties. The enemy has been cruel to you, you people who live in Sidon. Get up! Cross over to Cyprus. Even there you will not find rest for yourselves.’

13 Look at the country called Babylon! Its people are all dead! The armies from Assyria made it a place for wild animals to live in. They (the men from Assyria) built small mountains of earth. Then they climbed on them so that they could attack it. They took everything away from its strong buildings and they destroyed Babylon.

14 Cry aloud, you ships of Tarshish. Your enemies have destroyed your strong port.

15 At that time people will forget Tyre for 70 years. That is how long one king lives. At the end of 70 years something will happen to Tyre. It is like the song about the prostitute.

16 ‘Prostitute that people have forgotten,

walk about the city with your harp.

Play it well. Sing many songs.

Then people will remember you again.’

17 At the end of 70 years the Lord will be kind to Tyre. It will ‘become a prostitute’ again! That means that its traders will go to all the kingdoms of the world on the earth. 18 And this will happen: All the money that Tyre gets and all the profit will go to the Lord. Tyre will not hide it or store it. Rather, the profit will go to the people who live near the Lord. They will have plenty of food and good clothes.