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Isaiah 23 The Message (MSG)

It Was All Numbers, Dead Numbers, Profit and Loss

23 1-4 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
    your strong seaports all in ruins!
When the ships returned from Cyprus,
    they saw the destruction.
Hold your tongue, you who live on the seacoast,
    merchants of Sidon.
Your people sailed the deep seas,
    buying and selling,
Making money on wheat from Shihor,
    grown along the Nile—
    multinational broker in grains!
Hang your head in shame, Sidon. The Sea speaks up,
    the powerhouse of the ocean says,
“I’ve never had labor pains, never had a baby,
    never reared children to adulthood,
Never gave life, never worked with life.
    It was all numbers, dead numbers, profit and loss.”

When Egypt gets the report on Tyre,
    what wailing! what wringing of hands!

Nothing Left Here to Be Proud Of

6-12 Visit Tarshish, you who live on the seacoast.
    Take a good, long look and wail—yes, cry buckets of tears!
Is this the city you remember as energetic and alive,
    bustling with activity, this historic old city,
Expanding throughout the globe,
    buying and selling all over the world?
And who is behind the collapse of Tyre,
    the Tyre that controlled the world markets?
Tyre’s merchants were the business tycoons.
    Tyre’s traders called all the shots.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies ordered the crash
    to show the sordid backside of pride
    and puncture the inflated reputations.
Sail for home, O ships of Tarshish.
    There are no docks left in this harbor.
God reached out to the sea and sea traders,
    threw the sea kingdoms into turmoil.
God ordered the destruction
    of the seacoast cities, the centers of commerce.
God said, “There’s nothing left here to be proud of,
    bankrupt and bereft Sidon.
Do you want to make a new start in Cyprus?
    Don’t count on it. Nothing there will work out for you either.”

13 Look at what happened to Babylon: There’s nothing left of it. Assyria turned it into a desert, into a refuge for wild dogs and stray cats. They brought in their big siege engines, tore down the buildings, and left nothing behind but rubble.

14 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
    your strong seaports all in ruins!

15-16 For the next seventy years, a king’s lifetime, Tyre will be forgotten. At the end of the seventy years, Tyre will stage a comeback, but it will be the comeback of a worn-out whore, as in the song:

“Take a harp, circle the city,
    unremembered whore.
Sing your old songs, your many old songs.
    Maybe someone will remember.”

17-18 At the end of the seventy years, God will look in on Tyre. She’ll go back to her old whoring trade, selling herself to the highest bidder, doing anything with anyone—promiscuous with all the kingdoms of earth—for a fee. But everything she gets, all the money she takes in, will be turned over to God. It will not be put in banks. Her profits will be put to the use of God-Aware, God-Serving-People, providing plenty of food and the best of clothing.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Isaiah 23 New International Version (NIV)

A Prophecy Against Tyre

23 A prophecy against Tyre:

Wail, you ships of Tarshish!
    For Tyre is destroyed
    and left without house or harbor.
From the land of Cyprus
    word has come to them.

Be silent, you people of the island
    and you merchants of Sidon,
    whom the seafarers have enriched.
On the great waters
    came the grain of the Shihor;
the harvest of the Nile[a] was the revenue of Tyre,
    and she became the marketplace of the nations.

Be ashamed, Sidon, and you fortress of the sea,
    for the sea has spoken:
“I have neither been in labor nor given birth;
    I have neither reared sons nor brought up daughters.”
When word comes to Egypt,
    they will be in anguish at the report from Tyre.

Cross over to Tarshish;
    wail, you people of the island.
Is this your city of revelry,
    the old, old city,
whose feet have taken her
    to settle in far-off lands?
Who planned this against Tyre,
    the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants are princes,
    whose traders are renowned in the earth?
The Lord Almighty planned it,
    to bring down her pride in all her splendor
    and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.

10 Till[b] your land as they do along the Nile,
    Daughter Tarshish,
    for you no longer have a harbor.
11 The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea
    and made its kingdoms tremble.
He has given an order concerning Phoenicia
    that her fortresses be destroyed.
12 He said, “No more of your reveling,
    Virgin Daughter Sidon, now crushed!

“Up, cross over to Cyprus;
    even there you will find no rest.”
13 Look at the land of the Babylonians,[c]
    this people that is now of no account!
The Assyrians have made it
    a place for desert creatures;
they raised up their siege towers,
    they stripped its fortresses bare
    and turned it into a ruin.

14 Wail, you ships of Tarshish;
    your fortress is destroyed!

15 At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16 “Take up a harp, walk through the city,
    you forgotten prostitute;
play the harp well, sing many a song,
    so that you will be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. 18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 23:3 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls Sidon, / who cross over the sea; / your envoys are on the great waters. / The grain of the Shihor, / the harvest of the Nile,
  2. Isaiah 23:10 Dead Sea Scrolls and some Septuagint manuscripts; Masoretic Text Go through
  3. Isaiah 23:13 Or Chaldeans
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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