Ezekiel 27 & Psalm 75-76

Ezekiel 27

    The word of the LORD came to me: “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord GOD:

    “O Tyre, you have said,
        ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
    Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
        your builders made perfect your beauty.
    They made all your planks
        of fir trees from Senir;
    they took a cedar from Lebanon
        to make a mast for you.
    Of oaks of Bashan
        they made your oars;
    they made your deck of pines
        from the coasts of Cyprus,
        inlaid with ivory.
    Of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
        was your sail,
        serving as your banner;
    blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah
        was your awning.
    The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad
        were your rowers;
    your skilled men, O Tyre, were in you;
        they were your pilots.
    The elders of Gebal and her skilled men were in you,
        caulking your seams;
    all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you
        to barter for your wares.
    
    
        “Persia and Lud and Put were in your army as your men of war. They hung the shield and helmet in you; they gave you splendor. Men of Arvad and Helech were on your walls all around, and men of Gamad were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they made perfect your beauty.

    “Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech traded with you; they exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. From Beth-togarmah they exchanged horses, war horses, and mules for your wares. The men of Dedan traded with you. Many coastlands were your own special markets; they brought you in payment ivory tusks and ebony. Syria did business with you because of your abundant goods; they exchanged for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and ruby. Judah and the land of Israel traded with you; they exchanged for your merchandise wheat of Minnith, meal, honey, oil, and balm. Damascus did business with you for your abundant goods, because of your great wealth of every kind; wine of Helbon and wool of Sahar and casks of wine from Uzal they exchanged for your wares; wrought iron, cassia, and calamus were bartered for your merchandise. Dedan traded with you in saddlecloths for riding. Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your favored dealers in lambs, rams, and goats; in these they did business with you. The traders of Sheba and Raamah traded with you; they exchanged for your wares the best of all kinds of spices and all precious stones and gold. Haran, Canneh, Eden, traders of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad traded with you. In your market these traded with you in choice garments, in clothes of blue and embroidered work, and in carpets of colored material, bound with cords and made secure. The ships of Tarshish traveled for you with your merchandise. So you were filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas.

    “Your rowers have brought you out
        into the high seas.
    The east wind has wrecked you
        in the heart of the seas.
    Your riches, your wares, your merchandise,
        your mariners and your pilots,
    your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise,
        and all your men of war who are in you,
    with all your crew
        that is in your midst,
    sink into the heart of the seas
        on the day of your fall.
    At the sound of the cry of your pilots
        the countryside shakes,
    and down from their ships
        come all who handle the oar.
    The mariners and all the pilots of the sea
        stand on the land
    and shout aloud over you
        and cry out bitterly.
    They cast dust on their heads
        and wallow in ashes;
    they make themselves bald for you
        and put sackcloth on their waist,
    and they weep over you in bitterness of soul,
        with bitter mourning.
    In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you
        and lament over you:
    ‘Who is like Tyre,
        like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?
    When your wares came from the seas,
        you satisfied many peoples;
    with your abundant wealth and merchandise
        you enriched the kings of the earth.
    Now you are wrecked by the seas,
        in the depths of the waters;
    your merchandise and all your crew in your midst
        have sunk with you.
    All the inhabitants of the coastlands
        are appalled at you,
    and the hair of their kings bristles with horror;
        their faces are convulsed.
    The merchants among the peoples hiss at you;
        you have come to a dreadful end
        and shall be no more forever.’”

(Ezekiel 27 ESV)


Psalm 75

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

    We give thanks to you, O God;
        we give thanks, for your name is near.
    We recount your wondrous deeds.
    
    
    “At the set time that I appoint
        I will judge with equity.
    When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
        it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
    I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
        and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
    do not lift up your horn on high,
        or speak with haughty neck.’”
    
    
    For not from the east or from the west
        and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
    but it is God who executes judgment,
        putting down one and lifting up another.
    For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup
        with foaming wine, well mixed,
    and he pours out from it,
        and all the wicked of the earth
        shall drain it down to the dregs.
    
    
    But I will declare it forever;
        I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
    All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
        but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

(Psalm 75 ESV)


Psalm 76

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

    In Judah God is known;
        his name is great in Israel.
    His abode has been established in Salem,
        his dwelling place in Zion.
    There he broke the flashing arrows,
        the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah
    
    
    Glorious are you, more majestic
        than the mountains full of prey.
    The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
        they sank into sleep;
    all the men of war
        were unable to use their hands.
    At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
        both rider and horse lay stunned.
    
    
    But you, you are to be feared!
        Who can stand before you
        when once your anger is roused?
    From the heavens you uttered judgment;
        the earth feared and was still,
    when God arose to establish judgment,
        to save all the humble of the earth. Selah
    
    
    Surely the wrath of man shall praise you;
        the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.
    Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them;
        let all around him bring gifts
        to him who is to be feared,
    who cuts off the spirit of princes,
        who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

(Psalm 76 ESV)

The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...

 

THE STRUCTURE OF PSALM 76 has an elegant simplicity, with a theological lesson I shall spell out at the end of this meditation. The first six verses recall a great deliverance, a concrete historical event; the final six verses paint a picture on a cosmic scale, with every prospect that God will triumph no less in this domain.

The historical particularity of the first six verses is clear in the first two: “In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel. His tent is in Salem [an alternative name for Jerusalem, Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:2], his dwelling place in Zion [the fortress on the hilltop that David captured]” (76:1-2). The focus, then, is on Jerusalem, the city where God disclosed himself. The reference to “tent” may suggest that the tabernacle was still standing, the temple not yet built. Alternatively, the temple was built, but “tabernacle” language was still being used of it because that was the terminology used in the Mosaic covenant. This city, in any case, was where God “broke the flashing arrows” (76:3, literally, “thunderbolts,” cf. 78:48) and other weapons of war. Verses 4-6 suggest a dramatic and sudden rescue like that when Sennacherib’s army was destroyed overnight by the angel of the Lord (Isa. 37:36; see meditation for June 5). God himself declared, “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here” (Isa. 37:33). Compare: “[N]ot one of the war- riors can lift his hands.”

The rest of the psalm paints with a broader brush. Now God reigns not from Jerusalem, but from heaven (76:8). The lessons from the first six verses are uni- versalized: “You alone are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry?” (76:7). Verse 10 is notoriously difficult to translate. The “wrath” of the first line could either be God’s (hence the NIV), or that of the people (hence NIV footnote). The two notions may not be that far apart. If it is the “fierceness of man” (Coverdale) that turns to the praise of God, it does so in this context because God has the last word and replies in judgment — though it is also true that God operates with such providential wisdom that he can turn the wrath of human beings to serve him even under the most extraordinary conditions (Acts 2:23). What is clear from the closing verses is that God rules over all, and none can stand against him.

Thus the structure of the psalm mirrors in some respects the structure of the entire biblical plot-line, authorizing contemporary readers to see in old covenant narratives of grace and judgment portraits of the ultimate self-disclosure of God in grace and judgment.