Isaiah 23

The proud boasts of worldly nations, who bid defiance to their neighbors,
will surely be silenced by the judgments of God in due time.
Pomp and splendor are no guarantee against Him judgments.

1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them.

2 Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.

3 And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations.

4 Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.

5 As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre.

6 Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle.

7 Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn.

8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?

9 The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.

10 Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.

11 He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof.

12 And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest.

13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin.

14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste.

15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.

16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

17 ¶ And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

18 And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.

Isaiah 23:4—The sea hath spoken.

​   Zidon is bidden to be ashamed because she is suddenly left childless; and this to an Eastern woman was shame indeed. And the prophet, personifying Zidon as the City of the Sea, describes the sea herself as lamenting. It is as though the sea took up Zidon’s complaint at the destruction of her children, and spoke in all her multitudinous waves.
   With what different tones the sea speaks! Sometimes in the musical breath of her wavelets on the beach; or the long drawl of the shingle in the recession of the retiring billow; or in the rising storm, when the waters lift up their voice; or in the angry roar of the mighty waves far out at sea. Speaking in whispers and in thunder; speaking to itself and to God under the canopy of night! The sea-voices are not the least amongst those of nature. Old Ocean seems to us sometimes like a great organ on which every note of the heart is represented.
   And what are the wild waves saying? Listen! “We are his, for He made us; we own his sway, for He once trod our crests; his voice is as the voice of many waters; his thoughts are deep as our profoundest depths; his throne stands beside the sea of glass mingled with fire; his least word is omnipotent over our wildest fury.”
   But the sea shall one day speak for the last time. The lonely soul of the beloved apostle, which had so often listened to the chime of the Aegean waves around his island prison, rejoiced to know that the sea should one day be no more. No more the speech of the storm; no more the mournful cadence of the retiring wavelet at night telling of separation and loneliness. “The first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). —Our Daily Homily