A People who are Obsessed with Money ישעיהו כג:א-ט / Isaiah 23:1-9


Isaiah 23:1-9

In Isaiah 13, he gave an oracle against Babylon, and here in Isaiah 23 he gives an oracle against Tyre. The commentaries say that this is the last of Isaiah’s pronouncements of judgements upon the nations. Isaiah pronounced judgment against Babylon (Isaiah 13) the city at the eastern edge, and here in chapter 23 he pronounced judgment upon Tyre the city on the western edge suggesting these as boundary nations representing all of the nations that God is going to judge. We note an interesting parallel, the book of Revelation uses the same language here that is applied to Tyre to describe the great city of Babylon who deceived the nations. (Revelation 18:11-24)

Revelation 18:11-24
18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 8:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (KJV)

It is interesting how the blood of the prophets, the saints, and all that were slain on the earth, is attributed to this city. We note by comparison of Isaiah 23:1-18 and Revelation 18:11-18 the point is to the issues of amassing great wealth. This great wealth led to a great many sins, including that of human trafficking, a very reprehensible sin! (Revelation 18:13) Great wealth has the capacity to lead one to many sins, to witchcraft, sorceries, deception, and reliance upon oneself, to stop trusting in the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua. This is the concept that Paul was trying to draw out according to 1 Timothy 6:10, Paul warns saying, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (KJV)

The Hebrew translation writes הֲלֹא שֹׁרֶשׁ כָּל הָרָעוֹת הוּא אַהֲבַת הַכֶּסֶף “is not the root of all evil he that loves the money?” Based upon the Hebrew text, there is a sort of question being proposed here that is coupled with the idea of such persons who covet and error from the truth. The Peshitta writes ܘܢܰܦ݂ܫܗܽܘܢ ܐܱܥܶܠܘ ܠܕ݂ܰܐܘܳܢܷ̈ܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝܷ̈ܐܐ “and their souls brought much sorrow.” I know people in the past who were so obsessed with making a lot of money. One girl I knew allowed herself to become so distraught and sorrowful over having very little money, only enough to make ends meet, feed family, and provide a roof over her head, but that was not enough. With the basic necessities met, she did not care, the amount of dollars was more important, and her faith in God was equivalent to and literally holding the middle finger up to God in heaven and swearing at the Lord over the situation she was in. I also know of another person (in the past) who wanted to go to seminary and get into the ministry simply to make a lot of money at some mega-church in the USA. This is absolutely the wrong reasons to go to seminary and get into the ministry, all because of the love of money! Can only imagine the errors in theology and watered-down gospel that would result from this approach to ministry! This is why Paul was so adamant as the Peshitta writes, ܥܶܩܳܪܴܐ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܠܗܶܝܢ ܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܳܬ݂ܴܐ ܐܻܝܬ݂ܷܝܗ ܪܷܚܡܰܬ݂ ܟܷ݁ܣܦܴ݁ܐ ܂ ܘܺܐܝܬ݂ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܕܷ݁ܐܬ݂ܪܱܓ݂ܪܱܓ݂ܘ ܠܷܗ ܆ ܘܡܶܢ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܛܥܰܘ ܆ ܘܢܰܦ݂ܫܗܽܘܢ ܐܱܥܶܠܘ ܠܕ݂ܰܐܘܳܢܷ̈ܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝܷ̈ܐܐ 10 “for the love of money is the root of all these evils. And there are some who, coveting it, have erred from the faith, and brought themselves into many sorrows.” In the case of Babylon, the great city amassed so much wealth that she forgot her creator and trusted in herself. This same thing is said of Tyre, Sidon, and Tarshish. These things led to what the book of Revelation states Babylon had deceived the nations with the blood of her idolatries, prostitution, sorceries, and witchcrafts. The idea of the blood of the prophets, the saints, and all that were slain on the earth being attributed to this city, is a very rabbinic way of coupling covetousness to massive amounts of sin. This is why the Lord God Almighty commanded we should avoid the love of money because we are His people, and He is our God! This is the central theme of this chapter: mercantile wealth and the outcome turning one away from the Lord! Tyre was the southernmost part of the Phoenician cities. It wasn’t until the fifth century BC that Sidon began to replace her as the dominant city in the region. Here is a map of these cities, Tyre and Sidon.

Tyre and Sidon are ancient cities of Phoenicia and are mentioned several times in both the Tanakh and the NT. We remember that Yeshua states concerning Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10 in the context of judgments that He was making against the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Tyre and Sidon are port cities located in modern Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. Scholars believe that Sidon has existed prior to 2000 BC, with Tyre being just a little younger. The Tanakh mentions Israel’s dealings with these cities, including the Israelites’ failure to conquer Sidon in the conquest of the Promised Land (see Judges 1:31). Israel eventually worshiped the Sidonian gods on several occasions (see Judges 10:6-16, 1 Kings 11). In addition to this, Israel obtained building materials from Sidon and Tyre for the construction of the temple (see 1 Chronicles 22:4). King Hiram of Tyre provided many of the temple furnishings for Solomon (1 Kings 7:13-51). Tyrians and Sidonians are also mentioned in helping rebuild the temple in Ezra’s time (see Ezra 3:7). We also note that Jezebel was a Sidonian (1 Kings 16:31). Also remember that the Sidonian city of Zarephath was where a widow took care of Elijah and the Lord provided oil and flour for her through the famine. Later, the widow’s son became ill, and Elijah raised him from the dead (see 1 Kings 17:8-24). The Tanakh according to the prophets, there are several prophecies against Tyre and Sidon that predicted a complete overthrow. (See Isaiah 23:1-18; Jeremiah 25:1-38, 27:1-22, 47:1-7, Ezekiel 26-28, Joel 3:1-21, Amos 1:9-10, Zechariah 9:1-4). Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre from 585-572 BC. Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 322 BC, completely destroying the city. The Persian king Artaxerxes conquered Sidon. In short, God’s prophesied judgment came to pass. Later, both cities became prosperous provinces of Rome.

In the first century, Tyre and Sidon were Gentile cities north of Israel, and Yeshua visited these cities (Matthew 15:24) and Yeshua still ministered to them regardless that he was sent to the Jews. We note that crowds of people from Tyre and Sidon came to see and listen to Him. (See Mark 3:7-8) Yeshua helped a Syrophoenician woman and also commended her faith (Matthew 15:21-28). There is a lot of history surrounding these cities. Yeshua actually mentions Tyre and Sidon in Luke 10:13-14 (see also Matthew 11:20-24), comparing them to several cities in which He had performed miracles. These cities (Chorazin and Bethsaida) of Israel had been blessed with Yeshua’s presence, preaching, and power, yet they had not repented. Because of this Yeshua pronounces woes on them, stating that Tyre and Sidon, given the same opportunity, would have turned from their wickedness and been saved, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” Yeshua also said Capernaum is under God’s judgment for their rejection of the Messiah (Luke 10:15), because “whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Here Yeshua used the pagan cities of Tyre and Sidon to highlight the way God’s chosen people refused Him. Could the people whom Yeshua was talking to been wealthy people? The people of Yeshua’s day believed themselves to be righteously following God, yet they did not recognize God in their midst. This is the same that was going on in Isaiah’s day, of God who desired to dwell in their midst, yet they were so wicked His presence couldn’t remain. Yeshua shamed Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because they were supposed to be God’s representatives on earth. Yet they refused to listen and here these pagan cities would have quickly repented. Yeshua’s comments demonstrate the importance of faith and faithfulness as being related to responsibility and stewardship. This parallels what Yeshua spoke saying, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) These things tie in the concept of being “Torah Aware.” The idea is that we need to be aware of our responsibility before God. When we study Isaiah 24, we will see how all of the nations are responsible before God, regardless of whether they are under the law or not (using Paul’s analogy from Romans 2). Here in Isaiah, a survey of the chapter reveals God’s desire for His word to be known and believed! The outcome of faith should be transformational (Luke 6:46). To reject the truth, to turn from the light of God’s holy Word and the light of the World Yeshua, means that one will remain in darkness and will continue to choose darkness and the lie, because he or she to spurns the grace of God. Those who do this will receive the due penalty of their sins according to the Scriptures!

Historically, these cities (Tyre and Sidon) have the Lebanon mountains on one side, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. They colonized and developed where possible around the Mediterranean basin with the result of amassing great wealth. John Oswalt summarizes these things saying, “Chapters 13-23 seem to be saying that since the glory of the nations (chs. 13, 14) equals nothing, and since the scheming of the nations (chs. 14–18) equals nothing, and since the wisdom of the nations (chs. 19–20) equals nothing, and since the vision of this nation (chs. 21, 22) equals nothing, and since the wealth of the nations (ch. 23) equals nothing, don’t trust the nations!” This is true for us today; wealth is not the way. A loving relationship with God is the way, one that is faithful and true. Note that our trust in the Lord is foremost and is protective and secure. An alliance with the nations will fail if we do not firstly trust in God, and these are the lessons that are being learned from Isaiah and history! God alone is our refuge and strength (Tehillim / Psalms 46:1-2) History bears out that Tyre was attacked five different times during Isaiah’s lifetime on up to 332 BC when Alexander the Great attached Tyre. Looking at Isaiah 23:1-18, the oracle of Isaiah is broken into two segments, Isaiah 23:1-14 and Isaiah 23:15-18. The first is regarding the overthrow of Tyre, and the second is the restoration of Tyre. Similar to the prophecy concerning Egypt, at the end of this chapter we find Tyre owning up to the sovereignty of the God of Israel!

Isaiah begins opening the chapter saying the following according to Isaiah 23:1.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
א מַשָּׂא צֹר הֵילִילוּ | אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ כִּי-שֻׁדַּד מִבַּיִת מִבּוֹא מֵאֶרֶץ כִּתִּים נִגְלָה-לָמוֹ:

Isaiah 23:1 states, “The burden of Tyre. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; (מַשָּׂא צֹר הֵילִילוּ | אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ) for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them. (כִּי-שֻׁדַּד מִבַּיִת מִבּוֹא מֵאֶרֶץ כִּתִּים נִגְלָה-לָמוֹ)” Tarshish (תַּרְשִׁישׁ) is a geographical location that appears several times in the Hebrew Bible. Its precise location is uncertain. Known from biblical texts as both a location and a type of open-sea vessel associated with that location. Tarshish was a major trading location for Phoenician merchants. It supplied metals and had a much different culture from that of Israel and Judah. In most references in the Bible, the place name is used to imply somewhere a great distance away. Since ancient times, attempts have been made to locate Tarshish from biblical data. The major resources for this are a series of unrelated biblical texts: Bereshit / Genesis 10:4, 1 Kings 10:22, 22:48, Isaiah 2:16, 23:1, 23:14, 60:9, 66:19, Jeremiah 10:9, Ezekiel 27:12, 27:25, 38:13, Jonah 1:3, 4:2, Tehillim / Psalms 48:7 72:10 1 Chronicles 1:7, and 2 Chronicles 9:21 and 20:36-37. In Bereshit / Genesis 10:4 and its parallel text in 1 Chronicles 1:4, Tarshish is presented as a son of Javan, son of Japheth, son of Noah, and is listed among the islands of the nations. In the Table of Nations, the names represent nations, peoples, and cities. Tarshish, therefore, is designated as belonging to the Japhethite peoples who are north and west of Jerusalem, specifically among those located on the coast. Where Tarshish appears as a specific location, a limited description emerges. It was a location reached by sea, had trade relations with Tyre, was the destination hoped for by the joint venture of the kings Ahaziah of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah, and was the port to which Jonah booked passage during his flight from God (see 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, Ezekiel 27:12, 27:25, 38:13, Jonah 1:1-17 and 4:2). In the psalm devoted to the grandeur of king Solomon (Tehillim / Psalms 72:10), Tarshish is reported to have had a king who was to submit to the rule of the king in Jerusalem and pay him tribute. This reference to Tarshish stands for rulers from the ends of the earth who are expected to bow to Jerusalem’s king and is one of the sources behind the legendary Jewish and Islamic notions of Solomon as ruler of the entire world. Similarly, the recognition and veneration of God is posited as eventually extending to the ends of the earth, among the distant locations listed in Isaiah (Isaiah 66:7). Tarshish always appears as wealthy with an extensive shipping industry. (Information taken from Logos FactBook)

It is interesting looking at the Hebrew bible, Isaiah 23:1 states, מַשָּׂא צֹר הֵילִילוּ | אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ כִּי-שֻׁדַּד מִבַּיִת מִבּוֹא מֵאֶרֶץ כִּתִּים נִגְלָה-לָמוֹ where the paseq divides the sentence, separating the first three words מַשָּׂא צֹר הֵילִילוּ “Burden of Tzor, Howl.” This structure is different from the previous oracles which includes this word הֵילִילוּ commanding the city to howl because of the coming destruction. It seems that the city and the ships אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ are to howl due to כִּי-שֻׁדַּד מִבַּיִת מִבּוֹא מֵאֶרֶץ כִּתִּים נִגְלָה-לָמוֹ “for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Chittim it is revealed to them” This categorically groups the ships with the city of Tyre. The opening words מַשָּׂא צֹר are believed by many modern commentators to be an addition (redaction). The point is that Isaiah was identifying the city, this is not a generalized oracle, even though there may be some difficulties with the text. These ships are believed to be the ships of Tarshish that travel the open seas (See 1 Kings 10:22, 22:48, Tehillim / Psalms 48:7-8, Isaiah 2:16, 60:9, Ezekiel 27:25, Jonah 1:3) Basically this opening verse has Isaiah revealing to these ships of Tarshish that their home port is destroyed, there is no returning back to the great city. The reference to מֵאֶרֶץ כִּתִּים “from the land of Kittim” we note that in the DSS the Kittim are a reference to the Romans. Here this may also be a reference to the nations of Jephthah among whom the Romans are a member. John Oswalt states that the Kittim is a reference to Cyprus and the city of Kition. John Oswalt goes on saying, “In the Table of Nations, Kittim, Elishah (another name applied to Cyprus or perhaps Crete in ancient literature), and Tarshish are all said to be descendants of Javan, or Greek Ionia (Gen. 10:4). This reference is almost certainly to the Mycenean population of at least the northeastern portions of the Mediterranean Sea.” It is interesting, a Text comparison on the LXX with Isaiah 23:1 shows the following:

Here the LXX translates this as the ships of Καρχηδόνος Carthage. CARTHAGE An ancient city located in northern Africa, in present-day Tunisia. Again, this is consistent with the idea of Tarshish representing a distant location. Carthage is a Phoenician colony that grew into a commercial and naval power. Diminished in power following a series of three unsuccessful wars with Rome and was completely destroyed in 146 BC. (Info taken from Logos FactBook) The lexicons write, Καρχηδών (Karchēdōn) Carthage; Tarshish, and so equate Carthage with Tarshish to be consistent with the MSS and the LXX.

Isaiah continues to say the following according to Isaiah 23:2.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
ב דֹּמּוּ ישְׁבֵי אִי סֹחֵר צִידוֹן עֹבֵר יָם מִלְאוּךְ:

Isaiah 23:2 states, “Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished. (דֹּמּוּ ישְׁבֵי אִי סֹחֵר צִידוֹן עֹבֵר יָם מִלְאוּךְ)” Here we see mention of צִידוֹן Sidon, Isaiah is coupling these two cities together in his oracle. Note how this is possibly why Yeshua chose to couple these two cities also in his pronouncement against Chorazin and Bethsaida. (Luke 10:13-14, Matthew 11:20-24) Here Isaiah speaks of those who dwell on an island (ישְׁבֵי אִי). We note how the oracle is pulling in all of the Phoenician provinces, not just on the mainland, but also the island states belonging to these people. The destruction that is coming belongs to them all due to their covetousness for wealth. The parallel in Israel, the oracle to Jerusalem also couples Judah, the destruction is not Jerusalem’s alone, but includes the people of Judah as well. Sidon is representative of all the people (Joshua 13:4, Judges 3:3). We note from Isaiah 23:1 the people are to wail over their destruction. The mourning process includes both wailing out loud and remaining in silence, the Scriptures provide us with examples of both. (See Lamentations 2:10 and Job 2:13) Dahood mentions that there is a parallel סֹחֵר צִידוֹן, “merchant of Sidon,” and עֹבֵר יָם מִלְאוּךְ and translates the latter “passer of the sea, your merchants,” instead of the accepted translation “your messengers passed over the sea.” (i.e. סֹחֵר צִידוֹן עֹבֵר יָם מִלְאוּךְ) This is the idea of sailors traveling over the sea from the Phoenician cities basically establishing this is their trade, how they earned a living.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
ג וּבְמַיִם רַבִּים זֶרַע שִׁחֹר קְצִיר יְאוֹר תְּבוּאָתָהּ וַתְּהִי סְחַר גּוֹיִם:

Isaiah 23:3 states, “And by great waters the seed of Sihor, the harvest of the river, is her revenue; and she is a mart of nations. (וּבְמַיִם רַבִּים זֶרַע שִׁחֹר קְצִיר יְאוֹר תְּבוּאָתָהּ וַתְּהִי סְחַר גּוֹיִם)” It is interesting how Isaiah mentions שִׁחֹר Shihor connecting this oracle to Egypt. Shihor-Libnath (שִׁיחוֹר לִבְנָת, shihkor livnath) is a river on the southern boundary of the territory assigned to the tribe of Asher (Joshua 19:26). Since “Sihor” is associated with the Nile (Joshua 13:3; 1 Chronicles 13:5) or synonymous with it (Isaiah 23:3, Jeremiah 2:18), Sihor-Libnath is thought to be a different river than Sihor. So, the ships would take the זֶרַע שִׁחֹר “seed of Sihor” from Egypt as buying and selling the grain. So, this verse suggests that Tyre is a city who may function as a commercial path for the nations, in shipping and deliveries of goods. When Tyre and Sidon are destroyed, these major shipping lines are destroyed with them. The major reason for destruction according to the book of Isaiah thus far is due to trusting in man and not in God. Trusting in our own abilities and not in the power of God. These things reveal to us that it is to our God that we are to seek help and sustenance and life!

Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 23:3.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
ד בּוֹשִׁי צִידוֹן כִּי-אָמַר יָם מָעוֹז הַיָּם לֵאמֹר לֹא-חַלְתִּי וְלֹא-יָלַדְתִּי וְלֹא גִדַּלְתִּי בַּחוּרִים רוֹמַמְתִּי בְתוּלוֹת: ה כַּאֲשֶׁר-שֵׁמַע לְמִצְרָיִם יָחִילוּ כְּשֵׁמַע צֹר:

Isaiah 23:4 states, “Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, (בּוֹשִׁי צִידוֹן כִּי-אָמַר יָם מָעוֹז הַיָּם לֵאמֹר) travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins. (לֹא-חַלְתִּי וְלֹא-יָלַדְתִּי וְלֹא גִדַּלְתִּי בַּחוּרִים רוֹמַמְתִּי בְתוּלוֹת)” Isaiah 23:5 “As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. (כַּאֲשֶׁר-שֵׁמַע לְמִצְרָיִם יָחִילוּ כְּשֵׁמַע צֹר)” Here the ocean is analogized to speaking concerning Sidon knowing the deeds of this city and stating that she should be ashamed. Sidon is addressed as the mother-city of Tyre. The “strength” (or fortress) of the sea is the rock-island on which the new Tyre was built. In the phrase יָם מָעוֹז the word יָם is used as a noun and suggests that the sea is speaking. Could this be a reference to a Canaaite god? Note Rabbi Jeremiah on the Telegram channel: https://t.me/MessianicChat is presenting a study on the book of Revelation. During this week’s study, he mentioned the book of Enoch 62-63. In the book of Enoch it was mentioned the powers over the land and the sea. This is interesting since it provides an ancient understanding which may be consistent with what we are reading here in Isaiah 23:4 and the word יָם being used as a noun suggesting the sea is speaking. The following is a list of Canaanite gods that were worshiped in ancient days.

  • Anat, Virgin goddess of War and Strife, mate and sister of Ba’al Hadad
  • Asherah walker of the sea, Mother Goddess, wife of El (also known as Elat)
  • Astarte, possibly androgynous divinity associated with Venus
  • Baalat or Baalit, the wife or female counterpart of Baal (also Belili)
  • Ba’al Hadad, storm God, superseded El as head of the Pantheon
  • Baal-Hammon, god of fertility and renewer of all energies in the Phoenician colonies of the Western Mediterranean
  • Dagon, god of crop fertility, father of Hadad (usually).
  • El Elyon (i.e. God most high) and El
  • Eshmun or Baalat Asclepius, god of healing (or goddess)
  • Kathirat, goddesses of marriage and pregnancy
  • Kothar, Hasis, the skilled, god of craftsmanship
  • Lotan, serpent ally of evil,Yam
  • Melqart, king of the city, the underworld and cycle of vegetation in Tyre
  • Molech, God of Fire
  • Mot (god), God of Death
  • Qadeshtu, Holy One, Goddess of Love
  • Resheph God of Plague and healing
  • Shalim and Shachar
  • Shamayim, the God of the Heavens.
  • Shemesh (in Ugarit the goddess Shapshu), Sun god[1] (or goddess, its gender is disputed)[2]
  • Yam-nahar or Yam, also called Judge Nahar
  • Yarikh God of the moon, lover of Nikkal


  1. Johnston, Sarah Isles, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01517-7. P. 418
  2. Some authorities consider Shemesh to be a goddess, see Wyatt, Nick, There’s Such Divinity Doth Hedge a King, Ashgate (19 Jul 2005), ISBN 978-0754653301 p. 104

Note there is a god called Yam-nahar “Sea-river” and so some commentators suggest this is the designation of the sea god of the canaanites. The words יָם מָעוֹז means “strength of the sea.” A search of the Hebrew bible and text comparison to the LXX shows the following:

There is one place (Judges 6:26) which transliterates the Hebrew word as a noun Μαωζ, elsewhere we find the Greek translation using κραταιῶν (strong), ὑπερασπιστὴς (protector, champion), βοηθὸν (helper), ἰσχὺς (strength), φόβου (fear, reverence), and ἀνδρίζεσθαι (to be manly). So, the Hebrew word מָעוֹז is translated using a number of Greek words, it does mean a place of strength, which may imply that יָם מָעוֹז could be interpreted as “mighty one” in reference to the Canaanite Sea god. The point is that Sidon is the mother of Tyre, and Yam-nahar is her Father. The destruction of Tyre is by reason of her sins, presuming the sea is her strength, but in the end, the sea brings judgment and testimony against her. Isaiah then shifts his focus to Egypt saying, Isaiah 23:5 “As at the report concerning Egypt, so shall they be sorely pained at the report of Tyre. (כַּאֲשֶׁר-שֵׁמַע לְמִצְרָיִם יָחִילוּ כְּשֵׁמַע צֹר)” Egypt is the source of much commerce and so this could be analogous to one placing their hope and trust in Egypt. Note that previously the prophet had written about this in Isaiah 19:1-16. The fall of Egypt would illustrate a collapse in commerce on an international scale. We also note that through these things Egypt had an agreement with Tyre for its shipping and trading. So, the idea is that when Tyre is destroyed by Assyria, so too would the power and wealth of Egypt be destroyed. This meant that once Tyre fell so eventually would Egypt. The order of Isaiah’s oracles is backwards, with Egypt preceding Tyre, however, here we find the intimate connection between mercantile wealth and the false gods of the nations. Further evidence of how God will come against those nations and peoples who turn from His holy ways!

Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 23:6-7.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
ו עִבְרוּ תַּרְשִׁישָׁה הֵילִילוּ ישְׁבֵי אִי: ז הֲזֹאת לָכֶם עַלִּיזָה מִימֵי-קֶדֶם קַדְמָתָהּ יֹבִלוּהָ רַגְלֶיהָ מֵרָחוֹק לָגוּר:

Isaiah 23:6 states, “Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the isle. (עִבְרוּ תַּרְשִׁישָׁה הֵילִילוּ ישְׁבֵי אִי)” Isaiah 23:7 “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. (הֲזֹאת לָכֶם עַלִּיזָה מִימֵי-קֶדֶם קַדְמָתָהּ יֹבִלוּהָ רַגְלֶיהָ מֵרָחוֹק לָגוּר)” Looking at the LXX, the TgJ, and the L-Peshitta, all of these translations are consistent with the MSS on Isaiah’s words here from Isaiah 23:6-7. Tyre will howl (הֵילִילוּ) because all that she has will be for nothing. This lament will cause many to look with amazement how God has worked in this city to bring down her pride. Tyre had been involved in making colonies and cities along the seacoast, and on islands, for the purpose of trade and mercantile wealth. Tyre established trade routes and through money empowered nations. We note that these things are not eternal, they are always passing and waning as these are at the mercy of God, something all men should recognize giving credit to the Lord God in heaven for all things. Only the God of Israel endures eternal, and his counsel is the only wise counsel! All the more reason why we should seek Him and His holy ways!

Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 23:8-9.

ספר ישעיה פרק כג
ח מִי יָעַץ זֹאת עַל-צֹר הַמַּעֲטִירָה אֲשֶׁר סֹחֲרֶיה שָֹרִים כִּנְעָנֶיהָ נִכְבַּדֵּי-אָרֶץ: ט יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יְעָצָהּ לְחַלֵּל גְּאוֹן כָּל-צְבִי לְהָקֵל כָּל-נִכְבַּדֵּי-אָרֶץ:

Isaiah 23:8 states, “Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honorable of the earth? (מִי יָעַץ זֹאת עַל-צֹר הַמַּעֲטִירָה אֲשֶׁר סֹחֲרֶיה שָֹרִים כִּנְעָנֶיהָ נִכְבַּדֵּי-אָרֶץ)” Isaiah 23:9 “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. (יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יְעָצָהּ לְחַלֵּל גְּאוֹן כָּל-צְבִי לְהָקֵל כָּל-נִכְבַּדֵּי-אָרֶץ)” A text comparison of the LXX, the MSS, the TgJ, and the L-Peshitta shows us the following interpretations of these verses.

The TgJ translates saying, “8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, against her that was giving advice? whose merchants are princes, and whose rulers the nobles of the land. 9 The Lord of hosts is the counselor against her to defile the glory of all the objects of rejoicing, and make contemptible all the nobles of the land.” The L-Peshitta asks the question ܡܢܘ ܐܬܡܠܟ ܗܟܢܐ ܥܠ ܨܘܪ ܡܟܠܠܬܐ “who has persuaded this counsel upon Tyre?” The Greek text writes it is the Lord of hosts (יוי ‭‬צְבָאֹות) and the reason is that these merchants, their sources of revenue seem to be limitless as the nations continue to request more of their goods. The question is “who is responsible for the fall of this ancient city?” The answer is as the L-Peshitta writes ܡܪܝܐ ܚܝܠܬܢܐ “the strength of the Lord” who has done this! These things illustrate for us how God is the God of all the world, no nation is exempt from His authority. These things illustrate how God is calling to account those who live in pride, just as he did in ancient days to Jerusalem, Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria. The fall of Sidon and Tyre is not simply the way of history but is pointedly a work of the God in heaven! These things also illustrate how God is the ultimate orchestrator of all things. Note the parallel to the deities of the nations who have influence over human history. Their influence is in deception, making those who worship them believe they have power over the affairs of human life. Ultimately these things that are written here in Isaiah reveal to us the power and love of God, how the Lord seeks all men to repent and turn from their sins. We note that what the Lord God is doing here in the history of Israel and these nations, is to show us how foolish pride is in the life of men, and how futile it is. (Isaiah 2:11, 37:26) Tyre’s destruction illustrates what one once thought would last forever, eventually comes to an end. These things reveal the transitory nature of the glory of man, and foolishness in man believing his glory will remain forever. (See Isaiah 2:11, 2:17, 4:2, 5:15-16, 13:19, 14:12-20, 28:1-6, 60:15) What the Lord God opposes here is the sin of pride that leads to man seeking independence from God. Pride prevents men, women, and children from finding their true glory which is in God through His Messiah Yeshua just as Paul writes according to Philippians 3:7-11 and Colossians 1:21-22.

Philippians 3:7-11
3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (KJV, ܐܷܠܴܐ ܗܳܠܷܝܢ ܕ݁ܝܽܘܬ݂ܪܴܢܳܐ ܗܘܰܝ̈ ܠܻܝ ܆ ܚܽܘܣܪܴܢܳܐ ܚܶܫܒܷ݁ܬ݂ ܐܷܢܷ̈ܝܢ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܂ܐܴܦ݂ ܚܳܫܶܒ݂ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܗܶܝܢ ܟܾ݁ܠܗܶܝܢ ܚܽܘܣܪܴܢܳܐ ܆ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܪܱܒܾ݁ܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܕܻ݁ܝܕ݂ܰܥܬ݂ܷܗ ܕ݁ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܇ ܗܰܘ ܕ݁ܡܶܛܾܠܴܬ݂ܷܗ ܟܾ݁ܠܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܚܶܣܪܷܬ݂ ܂ ܘܰܐܝܟ݂ ܙܶܒ݂ܠܴܐ ܚܶܫܒܷ݁ܬ݂ ܆ ܕ݁ܠܱܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܐܻܬ݂ܱܪ ܇ ܘܶܐܫܬ݁ܟ݂ܰܚ ܒܷ݁ܗ ܆ ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܠܱܝܬ݁ ܠܻܝ ܙܰܕܻ݁ܝܩܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܕ݁ܢܰܦ݂ܫܝ ܗܳܝ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܢܳܡܽܘܣܳܐ ܇ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܗܳܝ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܗܰܝܡܳܢܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܇ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܷܝܗ ܙܰܕܻ݁ܝܩܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܗ ܐܷܫܬܱ݁ܘܕܱ݁ܥ ܠܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܘܰܠܚܰܝܠܴܐ ܕܱ݁ܩܝܳܡܬܷ݁ܗ ܇ ܘܶܐܫܬܱ݁ܘܬܱ݁ܦ݂ ܒ݁ܚܰܫܰܘܗ̄ܝ̈ ܁ ܘܶܐܬ݁ܕܱ݁ܡܶܐ ܒ݁ܡܰܘܬܷ݁ܗ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܠܡܳܐ ܐܷܫܟܱ݁ܚ ܐܷܡܰܛܷܐ ܠܱܩܝܳܡܬܴ݁ܐ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܒܷ݁ܝܬ݂ ܡܺܝ̈ܬ݂ܷܐ 7 ἀλλὰ ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη, ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν χριστὸν ζημίαν· 8 ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα, ἵνα χριστὸν κερδήσω, 9 καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει, 10 τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ κοινωνίαν παθημάτων αὐτοῦ συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ, 11 εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν.)

Note how Paul speaks to anything that he considered gain in this life is counted as loss (ܚܽܘܣܪܴܢܳܐ, ζημίαν). The reason being that pride counts the things that we have as gain, and from the sense of salvation, Paul the time previous to his meeting Yeshua, thought that his obedience to the Torah merited his salvation with God. This is what he wanted to make clear, that the merit that he has is due to his faith in Yeshua, not in the righteousness that is given by something of his own making, but something of what God has done on his behalf. Paul’s major premise was that one enters into a covenant with God through faith alone. Circumcision was not required by the Torah to enter into the covenant of God. Circumcision is a “sign” of the covenant that one is in. Same with the Shabbat. Observing the Shabbat is not the way one enters into the covenant with God. The Shabbat is a “sign” of the covenant that we enter into with God by faith. Circumcision and the Shabbat are after thoughts, just like all of the mitzvot, these things are done because we love God and because we are the people of God. Our faith is then demonstrated by these things… like James writes “faith without works is dead.”

Paul writes Colossians in the following way:

Colossians 1:21-22
1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (KJV, ܐܴܦ݂ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܕ݁ܡܶܢ ܩܕ݂ܺܝܡ ܢܽܘܟ݂ܪܴ̈ܝܶܐ ܗ̄ܘܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܂ ܘܰܒ݂ܥܶܠܕ݁ܒ݂ܴ̈ܒ݂ܶܐ ܒ݁ܪܷ̈ܥܝܳܢܰܝܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܁ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܥܒ݂ܳܕ݂ܰܝ̈ܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܆ ܫܰܝܶܢܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܗܳܫܳܐܒ݁ܦ݂ܰܓ݂ܪܴܐ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܶܣܪܷܗ ܘܰܒ݂ܡܰܘܬܷ݁ܗ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܢܩܺܝܡܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܩܕ݂ܳܡܰܘܗ̄ܝ ܩܰܕܻ݁ܝܫܺܝܢ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܡܽܘܡ ܘܰܕ݂ܠܴܐ ܪܷܫܝܳܢ ܆ 21 καὶ ὑμᾶς ποτε ὄντας ἀπηλλοτριωμένους καὶ ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς, 22 νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατήλλαξεν ἐν τῷ σώματι τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ.)

The interesting point about these scriptures, such as here in Colossians 1:21-22, Paul speaks of being alienated and enemies in our mind by wicked works. This speaks to a former time in our lives, this is the context from previously Paul writes “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13) So when we read Colossians 1:22, we are not to read into the text that we may live however we like as the law is passed away. The idea is that we are redeemed in Yeshua the Messiah, and now walking amongst a community of believers and not living in the evil deeds of our past. We note that now, we are to reflect the glory of God in our lives by remaining in faith and in His holy Word. This is the contrast to the nations, such as in the case of Tyre and Sidon, the people of these cities loved the culture, the power and affluence of their mercantile trade, and so they reflected this kind of glory, a glory that is in themselves as opposed to the glory of God. The glory of these cities is that of haughtiness and pride, and Isaiah says that for this reason Tyre will fall. Here in Isaiah and elsewhere (i.e. in the NT text) the Lord God is trying to show us the transitory nature of human glory and the foolishness of depending upon such glory. (See Isaiah 2:11, 2:17, 4:2, 5:15-16, 13:19, 14:12-20, 28:1-6, 60:15) Again the Lord God opposes this kind of pride because it seeks to make itself independent of Him. The point is that we are to seek the Lord God Almighty in Heaven and His Messiah Yeshua and give them preeminence in our lives. If we do not, then we will never truly find glory in God through His Messiah as the Scriptures say we should. (i.e. Philippians 3:7-11 and Colossians 1:21-22)

Rabbinic Commentary

The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a very important resource for our studying the book of Isaiah.

תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק כג:א-ט
א מַטַל כָס דִלוָט לְאַשקָאָה יָת צֹור אֵילִילוּ נָחְתֵי סְפִינֵי יַמָא אְרֵי אִתבְזִיזוּ מָחֹוזֵיהֹון מִלְמֵיתֵי מֵאְרַע כִיתָאֵי אְתֹו עְלֵיהֹון׃ ב אִיתְבַרוּ יָתְבֵי נֵיסָא תַגָרֵי צִידֹון דַהְוֹו עָדַן בְיַמָא מְלוּך׃ ג דַהְוָת מְסַפְקָא סְחֹורָא לְעַמְמִין סַגִיאִין דְבַחְצָד כְנֵישַת נַהרָא עְלַלתַה וַהְוָת סְחֹורָא לְעַמְמַיָא׃ ד בְהִיתוּ צִידֹונָאיֵ אְרֵי אְמַר מַערְבָאָה דְיָתֵיב בִתקֹוף יַמָא לְמֵימַר לְוֵי לָא מְרַעִית וְלָא אַעדִיתִי וְלָא רַבִיתִי עוּלֵימִין פַנֵיקִית בְתוּלָן׃ ה כְמָא דִשמַעוּ לְמַחָתָא דִלקֹו מִצרָאֵי זָעוּ כַד שְמַעוּ צֹורָאֵי׃ ו גְלֹו לִמדִינַת יַמָא אֵילִילוּ יָתְבֵי נֵיסָא׃ ז הַהָדָא לְכֹון תַקִיפְתָא צֹור מִיֹומֵי קְדַם מִלְקַדמִין הְוֹו מֵיתַן לֵיה קֻרבָנִין מֵאְרַע רַחִיקָא כַדוּ לְאִתֹותָבָא הָא גַליָא׃ ח מַן מְלַך דָא עַל צֹור דַהְוָת מַמלְכָא מַלכִין דְתַגָרַהָא רַברְבִין שִלטֹונַהָא יַקִירֵי אַרעָא׃ ט יוי צְבָאֹות מַלכַה לְאַפָסָא יְקָר כָל חְדוּתַה לַאְקָלָא כָל יַקִירֵי אַרעָא׃

Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 23:1-9
23:1 THE BURDEN OF THE CUP OF CURSING, TO GIVE TYRE TO DRINK. Howl, O ye that are embarking in ships of the sea, because their havens are spoiled, so that none can enter in. From the land of Chittim it is coming upon them. 23:2 The inhabitants of the island are destroyed, the merchants that pass over the sea they used to replenish thee. 23:3 She was the plentiful mart for many nations; the harvest of the increase of the river was her revenue, and she became the mart of the nations. 23:4 The Sidonians are confounded, because the west hath spoken, which dwells in the strength of the sea, saying, O that I had never travailed, never conceived, and never nourished up young men, never brought up virgins delicately! 23:5 When they heard of the stroke wherewith the Egyptians were smitten, the Tyrians quaked when they heard it. 23:6 They have gone to a province of the sea. Howl, O inhabitants of the island!
23:7 Is this your strong city, Tyre, of ancient days? In olden time they were bringing her gifts from a distant land; behold, now she is removed to sojourn afar off! 23:8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, against her that was giving advice? whose merchants are princes, and whose rulers the nobles of the land. 23:9 The Lord of hosts is the counsellor against her to defile the glory of all the objects of rejoicing, and make contemptible all the nobles of the land. (TgJ)

Isaiah 23:1-18 begins in similar manner as the previous chapters as an oracle against Tyre, as the TgJ translates saying, א מַטַל כָס דִלוָט לְאַשקָאָה יָת צֹור אֵילִילוּ נָחְתֵי סְפִינֵי יַמָא אְרֵי אִתבְזִיזוּ מָחֹוזֵיהֹון מִלְמֵיתֵי מֵאְרַע כִיתָאֵי אְתֹו עְלֵיהֹון׃ 23:1 THE BURDEN OF THE CUP OF CURSING, TO GIVE TYRE TO DRINK. Howl, O ye that are embarking in ships of the sea, because their havens are spoiled, so that none can enter in. From the land of Chittim it is coming upon them. (TgJ) Here the text states מַטַל כָס דִלוָט literally saying “the burden of prophecy cup of the curse” to indicate that Isaiah is speaking prophetically concerning Tyre and the outcome will not be good. The curse comes upon those who trust in themselves (Jeremiah 17:5-8) as opposed to trusting in the Lord God in heaven. It is the mercy of God that allow all men are to seek in repentance and God’s holy word. These things remind us of something Paul wrote according to Romans 3:9-18.

Romans 3:9-18
3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known: 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes (KJV, ܡܳܢܳܐ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܐܱܚܺܝܕ݂ܺܝܢܰܢ ܝܰܬܻ݁ܝܪܴܐ ܇ ܕ݁ܩܰܕܷ݁ܡܢ ܦ݁ܣܰܩܢ ܥܰܠ ܝܺܗܽܘܕ݂ܳܝܷ̈ܐ ܘܥܰܠ ܐܱܪ̈ܡܳܝܶܐ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܬ݂ܚܶܝܬ݂ ܚܛܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܐܷܢܽܘܢ ܟܾ݁ܠܗܽܘܢ ܂ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕܱ݁ܟ݂ܬ݂ܻܝܒ݂ ܆ ܕ݁ܠܱܝܬ݁ ܟܻ݁ܐܢܳܐ ܂ ܐܴܦ݂ܠܴܐ ܚܰܕ݂ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܕ݁ܡܶܣܬܱ݁ܟܱ݁ܠ ܁ ܘܠܴܐ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܥܶܐ ܠܱܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܟܾ݁ܠܗܽܘܢ ܣܛܱܘ ܐܱܟ݂ܚܕ݂ܳܐ ܂ ܘܶܐܣܬ݁ܠܻܝܘ ܂ ܘܠܱܝܬ݁ ܕ݁ܥܳܒ݂ܶܕ݂ ܛܴܒ݂ܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܐܴܦ݂ܠܴܐ ܚܰܕ݂ ܂ ܩܰܒ݂ܪܷ̈ܐ ܦ݁ܬ݂ܻܝ̈ܚܶܐ ܓܱ݁ܓ݁ܪܴ̈ܬ݂ܗܽܘܢ ܂ ܘܠܷܫܳܢܱ̈ܝܗܽܘܢ ܢܰܟܾ݁ܘܠܬ݂ܴܢܺܝܢ ܂ ܘܚܶܡܬ݂ܴܐ ܕܷ݁ܐܣܦܷ݁ܣ ܬ݁ܚܶܝܬ݂ ܣܶܦ݂ܘܳܬ݂ܗܽܘܢ̈ ܂ ܦܾ݁ܘܡܗܽܘܢ ܡܠܷܐ ܠܱܘܛܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܡܶܪܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܘܪܷ̈ܓ݂ܠܱܝܗܽܘܢ ܩܰܠܻܝ̈ܠܴܢ ܠܡܶܐܫܰܕ݂ ܕ݁ܡܳܐ ܂ ܫܚܳܩܳܐ ܘܕ݂ܽܘܘܳܢܳܐ ܒܾ݁ܐܘܪ̈ܚܳܬ݂ܗܽܘܢ ܂ ܘܽܐܘܪܚܳܐ ܕܱ݁ܫܠܴܡܳܐ ܠܴܐ ܝܺܕ݂ܰܥܘ ܂ ܘܕ݂ܶܚܠܬ݂ܷܗ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܠܱܝܬ݁ ܩܕ݂ܳܡ ܥܰܝܢܰܝ̈ܗܽܘܢ 9 Τί οὖν; προεχόμεθα; οὐ πάντως· προῃτιασάμεθα γὰρ Ἰουδαίους τε καὶ Ἕλληνας πάντας ὑφʼ ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι 10 καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς· 11 οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν· 12 πάντες ἐξέκλειναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν· οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός. 13 τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν· ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν· 14 ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει. 15 ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα· 16 σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν· 17 καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. 18 οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.)

Here in Romans 3:9 Paul writes that all people are under sin (πάντας ὑφʼ ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι). The Greek NT regularly uses the verb γράφω (graphō, “to write”) in a formulaic way, γέγραπται (verb, perfect, passive, gegraptai, “it is written”), to introduce quotations of passages from the Tanakh. Here Paul writes in Romans 3:10 καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς·”there is none righteous, not one” which is taken from Tehillim / Psalm 14:1,

Tehillim / Psalms 14:1
1 Εἰς τὸ τέλος, ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ. Εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ Οὐκ ἔστιν θεός, διέφθειραν καὶ ἐβδελύχθησαν ἐν ἐπιτηδεύμασιν, οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός. (LXX)

א לַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ לְדָ֫וִ֥ד אָ֘מַ֤ר נָבָ֣ל בְּ֭לִבֹּו אֵ֣ין אֱלֹהִ֑ים הִֽשְׁחִ֗יתוּ הִֽתְעִ֥יבוּ עֲלִילָ֗ה אֵ֣ין עֹֽשֵׂה־טֹֽוב׃

The phrase οὐκ ἔστι δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς states “There exists not a righteous person, not even one.” The LXX writes ποιῶν χρηστότητα “to do good” instead of δίκαιος (fair/just); Paul changed the way he wrote this passage in Romans 3:10 to emphasize πάντας ὑφʼ ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι “all are under sin” suggesting that the want or desire is that of δίκαιος justice and fairness. We note what Paul writes in Romans 2, that some may say “we were not given the Torah, so we are with excuse.” The point is that regardless of whether one knows the commands or not, one is guilty before God. And this relates to Justice and fairness (δίκαιος). We note that in Romans 3:11 which is taken from Tehillim / Psalm 14:2, is quoted speaking of the one who has understanding. None have understanding, and none seek after God. This follows through from what we read in the TgJ on Tyre who does not seek God nor are there any who do righteously. This was the purpose of the cup of cursing that is being brought, to show the people the depravity of their situation, that their mercantile gain will come to nothing, and in fact leads one away from the Lord to trust in self and the pride of wealth. The pride of wealth is something that has plagued mankind for all of time.

Rashi goes on saying the following concerning this verse.

Rashi on Isaiah 23,1 Parts 1-4
הילילו אניות תרשיש. שהיו מתעשרים על ידי סוחרי צור שהיו מביאים אניות תרשיש סחורה לצור, תרשיש שם הים: Wail, ye ships of Tarshish who became wealthy through the merchants of Tyre, for the ships of Tarshish would bring merchandise to Tyre. Tarshish is the name of the sea.
כי שודד מבית מבוא. כי שודד מבפנים מקום שהייתם רגילין לפונדק מלבוא עוד לתוכו ולא יהיו עוד לכם מקום בצור ללון שם: for it has been pillaged from within For it has been pillaged from within, the place you were wont to lodge, from coming anymore into his midst, and you will no longer have a place in Tyre to lodge there.
מארץ כתים. הם הרומיים: from the land of Kittim They are the Romans.
נגלה למו. השודד לאנשי צור, ד”א מארץ כתים נגלה לאנשי תרשיש שוד של צור שברחו בני צור אצל כתים ומשם נשמעה השמיעה: he appeared to them The marauder appeared to the people of Tyre. Another explanation is that from the land of Kittim, the plunder of Tyre was revealed to the people of Tarshish, for the people of Tyre fled to Kittim and from there the news was heard.

Rashi draws out this concept, of Tyre and Tarshish becoming wealthy through their mercantile trade and that they should wail. It is interesting how Rashi considers Tarshish to be the name of the sea. Note how Rashi also interprets Tyre being pillaged from within. This is a description of corruption from within. This is what monetary wealth does, it leads to corruption from within, and the looking down upon those who do not make staggering amounts of money but live from paycheck to paycheck. Rashi describes the Kittim as the Romans. This follows from the DSS usage of Kittim to describe the Romans. This is anachronistic of Rashi to consider the prophecy of Isaiah in connection to the Romans. The alternative interpretation is that the Kittim is a reference to the people of Tyre fleeing to the land of Kittim due to war. This would be a more realistic interpretation. Isaiah continues saying the following according to the TgJ, ב אִיתְבַרוּ יָתְבֵי נֵיסָא תַגָרֵי צִידֹון דַהְוֹו עָדַן בְיַמָא מְלוּך׃ 23:2 The inhabitants of the island are destroyed, the merchants that pass over the sea they used to replenish thee. (TgJ) So the basic conclusion is that even the island colonies that were created, being separated by water, the Mediterranean Sea will not be of any help to them. The sea was their hope, and so the sea itself will be of no help. Midrash Sifrei Bamidbar 58:2 states the following concerning these verses.

Midrash Sifrei Bamidbar 58:2
“and he heard the Voice”: I might think, a low voice; it is, therefore, written “the voice” — the voice explicated elsewhere (Devarim 5:19) “These things the L-rd spoke to all of your congregation … a great voice,” and (Shemot 19:16) “and there were thunders (lit., “voices”) and lightnings, etc.” One verse states “a great voice,” and another, (I Kings 19:12) “a voice, silent, thin.” How are these two verses to be reconciled? When the Holy One Blessed be He speaks (in His great voice), all are silent, as in (Isaiah 23:2) “Fall silent, you island dwellers. The merchants of Tziddon, the crossings of the sea, would fill you, etc.”, and (Vayikra 10:3) “and Aaron was silent.” These are the words of R. Yoshiyah. R. Yonathan says: One verse states “a great voice,” and another, “a voice, silent, thin.” How are these verses to be reconciled? When the Holy One Blessed be He speaks, it is with a great voice; and the angels, in a low voice, as it is written (Isaiah 62:6-7) “… they are never silent. You who ‘remind’ the L-rd (to rebuild Jerusalem) do not be silent,” and (Ibid. 7) “And do not allow Him to be silent until He re-establishes Jerusalem and makes it a glory in the land.”

The idea here is when the Lord speaks, all are to remain silent. The Midrash connects the various texts in the Torah to the voice of God speaking. Note that according to Shemot / Exodus 19:16 וַיְהִי֩ בַיֹּ֨ום הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֜י בִּֽהְיֹ֣ת הַבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְהִי֩ קֹלֹ֨ת וּבְרָקִ֜ים וְעָנָ֤ן כָּבֵד֙ עַל־הָהָ֔ר וְקֹ֥ל שֹׁפָ֖ר חָזָ֣ק מְאֹ֑ד וַיֶּחֱרַ֥ד כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃ we read of the voices and the thunder (קֹלֹ֨ת וּבְרָקִ֜ים) and the voice of the shofar (וְקֹ֥ל שֹׁפָ֖ר) the voice of God and the sound of these things struck fear (וַיֶּחֱרַ֥ד כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה) in the hearts of the people. The idea of remaining silent while the Lord speaks, the Midrash parallels the need to mourn for what was lost in relation to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In fact these things speak to what Isaiah is saying, sin brings the chastening of the Lord. The earth and all that is in it is the creation of God, and so He expects man to live with certain standards, these standards are to have a respect for life (do not murder) to have a respect for persons (do not covet, do not steel, do not commit adultery) and to honor or show respect towards others found in the command to honor your parents and to love God and do not serve or worship other gods. These things are part of the Ten Commandments. We are reminded of Hebrews 12:4-8 concerning the Midrashic descriptions on the book of Isaiah.

Hebrews 12:4-8
12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (KJV, ܠܴܐ ܥܕ݂ܰܟܻ݁ܝܠ ܡܰܛܻܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܥܕ݂ܰܡܳܐ ܠܱܕ݂ܡܳܐ ܒܱ݁ܐܓ݂ܽܘܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܠܾܘܩܒ݂ܰܠ ܚܛܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ܘܰܛܥܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢܳܝܗ̄ܝ ܠܝܽܘܠܦܴ݁ܢܳܐ ܐܱܝܢܳܐ ܕܱ݁ܐܝܟ݂ ܕ݁ܠܱܒ݂ܢܱ̈ܝܳܐ ܐܷܡܰܪ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܂ ܒܷ݁ܪܝ ܁ ܠܴܐ ܬܱ݁ܗܡܶܐ ܡܶܢ ܡܰܪܕܾ݁ܘܬ݂ܷܗ ܕ݁ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܘܠܴܐ ܬ݁ܪܱܦܷ݁ܐ ܢܰܦ݂ܫܳܟ݂ ܁ ܐܷܡܰܬ݂ܝ ܕ݁ܡܶܢܶܗ ܡܶܬ݂ܟܱ݁ܘܰܢ ܐܱܢ̄ܬ݁ ܂ ܠܡܰܢ ܕ݁ܪܴܚܶܡ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܁ ܪܴܕ݂ܶܐ ܠܷܗ ܂ ܘܰܡܢܰܓܷ݁ܕ݂ ܠܱܒ݂ܢܱ̈ܝܳܐ ܐܱܝܠܷܝܢ ܕ݁ܗܽܘ ܨܴܒ݂ܶܐ ܒ݁ܗܽܘܢ ܂ ܣܰܝܒܱ݁ܪܘ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܡܰܪܕܾ݁ܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܆ ܡܶܛܾܠ ܕܱ݁ܐܝܟ݂ ܕܱ݁ܠܘܳܬ݂ ܒ݁ܢܰܝܴ̈ܐ ܣܳܥܰܪ ܨܷܐܕ݂ܰܝܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܂ ܐܱܝܢܰܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܒ݁ܪܴܐ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܪܴܕ݂ܶܐ ܠܷܗ ܐܱܒ݂ܽܘܗ̄ܝ ܂ ܘܶܐܢ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܡܰܪܕܾ݁ܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܇ ܗܳܝ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܳܗ ܡܶܬ݂ܪܕ݂ܶܐ ܟܾ݁ܠܢܳܫ ܇ ܗܘܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܢܽܘܟ݂ܪܴ̈ܝܶܐ ܘܠܴܐ ܒ݁ܢܰܝܴ̈ܐ ܂ ܘܶܐܢ ܐܱܒ݂ܳܗܰܝ̈ܢ ܕ݁ܒ݂ܶܣܪܴܐ ܪܴܕ݂ܶܝܢ ܗ̄ܘܰܘ ܠܱܢ ܘܒ݂ܳܗܬܻ݁ܝܢ ܗܘܰܝܢ ܡܶܢܗܽܘܢ ܆ ܟ݁ܡܳܐ ܗܳܟ݂ܺܝܠ ܚܰܝܳܒ݂ܺܝܢܰܢ ܕ݁ܢܶܫܬܱ݁ܥܒܱ݁ܕ݂ ܠܱܐܒ݂ܽܘܗܶܝܢ ܕ݁ܪܾ̈ܘܚܳܬ݂ܴܐ ܘܢܺܚܶܐ 4 οὔπω μέχρις αἵματος ἀντικατέστητε πρὸς τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἀνταγωνιζόμενοι 5 καὶ ἐκλέλησθε τῆς παρακλήσεως ἥτις ὑμῖν ὡς υἱοῖς διαλέγεται· υἱέ μου, μὴ ὀλιγώρει παιδείας κυρίου, μηδὲ ἐκλύου ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ ἐλεγχόμενος. 6 ὃν γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ κύριος, παιδεύει, μαστιγοῖ δὲ πάντα υἱὸν ὃν παραδέχεται. 7 εἰς παιδείαν ὑπομένετε, ὡς υἱοῖς ὑμῖν προσφέρεται ὁ θεός· τίς γὰρ υἱὸς ὃν οὐ παιδεύει πατήρ; 8 εἰ δὲ χωρὶς ἐστὲ παιδείας ἧς μέτοχοι γεγόνασιν πάντες, ἄρα νόθοι καὶ οὐχ υἱοί ἐστε. 9 εἶτα τοὺς μὲν τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν πατέρας εἴχομεν παιδευτὰς καὶ ἐνετρεπόμεθα· οὐ πολὺ μᾶλλον ὑποταγησόμεθα τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ ζήσομεν;)

The author of the book of Hebrews writes about striving against sin. Hebrews 12:4 writes οὔπω μέχρις αἵματος ἀντικατέστητε “you to the point of blood resisted” here the author uses the word ἀντικατέστητε (verb, aroist, active, indicative, second person) to describe an ongoing action that one must strive for to resist the temptations of sin. The Peshitta writes ܠܴܐ ܥܕ݂ܰܟܻ݁ܝܠ ܡܰܛܻܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܥܕ݂ܰܡܳܐ ܠܱܕ݂ܡܳܐ ܒܱ݁ܐܓ݂ܽܘܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܠܾܘܩܒ݂ܰܠ ܚܛܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ “you have not yet attained unto blood the conflict resisting sin.” The idea is to resist at all costs the temptation of sin. The point is that the Lord brings conflict for our growth, to recognize the chastening of God and repent. These things are meant for our repentance, and if ignored, the end result will be exactly as Isaiah is writing to the nations, to Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. The answer to David’s cry in the Psalms “why do the wicked prosper?” is answered here in Hebrews 12. Our Father in heaven chastens His own, but the wicked, those who do not belong to Him are not. So, the idea of there being no chastening, this is a sign in itself the wicked and ungodly man should recognize and repent. The difficulty of this is that the very things such a person trusts in become their doom, since nothing comes along their way to force one to realize the error of his ways. This is what it means when Solomon said, יֵ֤שׁ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יָ֭שָׁר לִפְנֵי־אִ֑ישׁ וְ֝אַחֲרִיתָ֗הּ דַּרְכֵי־מָֽוֶת׃ “there is a way that appears right before a man but the end is the path of death.”

Isaiah continues saying the following according to the TgJ, ג דַהְוָת מְסַפְקָא סְחֹורָא לְעַמְמִין סַגִיאִין דְבַחְצָד כְנֵישַת נַהרָא עְלַלתַה וַהְוָת סְחֹורָא לְעַמְמַיָא׃ 23:3 She was the plentiful mart for many nations; the harvest of the increase of the river was her revenue, and she became the mart of the nations. ד בְהִיתוּ צִידֹונָאיֵ אְרֵי אְמַר מַערְבָאָה דְיָתֵיב בִתקֹוף יַמָא לְמֵימַר לְוֵי לָא מְרַעִית וְלָא אַעדִיתִי וְלָא רַבִיתִי עוּלֵימִין פַנֵיקִית בְתוּלָן׃ 23:4 The Sidonians are confounded, because the west hath spoken, which dwells in the strength of the sea, saying, O that I had never travailed, never conceived, and never nourished up young men, never brought up virgins delicately! ה כְמָא דִשמַעוּ לְמַחָתָא דִלקֹו מִצרָאֵי זָעוּ כַד שְמַעוּ צֹורָאֵי׃ 23:5 When they heard of the stroke wherewith the Egyptians were smitten, the Tyrians quaked when they heard it. (TgJ) We note how the TgJ provides a description of “human trafficking,” This is indicated according to Isaiah 23:4 that he wished that he had never nourished up young men or brought up virgins over the sea. Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. Human trafficking is a crime against humanity because of the violation of the victim’s rights through coercion and/or deception and force for the purpose of commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve only the movement of the person from one place to another. (We note how human trafficking is out of control in the world today and needs to be delt with!) The nations in the Scriptures, the Sumerians, Akkadians, Egyptians, Canaanites, etc., all saw no problems in the trafficking of girls. In fact, it was the duty of the minority high class society and royalty to enslave females and boys who belonged to the majority low class societies. The years from 1450 BC until 100 AD were the most crucial crisis points in the history of humanity, when human trafficking was at its highest levels (prior to the massive problem of human trafficking in the present day). It is also crucial to note that the Bible, the Tanakh and the New Testament, was given its canonical shaping during these periods of time. The Torah was given to Moses around 1450 BC; the Torah, the prophets, and the poetry and wisdom literature of the Bible were organized / written up until 500 BC; and the New Testament was written in the first century AD. A close reading of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts demonstrate how the Scriptures deal with human trafficking. The example of this may be found from the very beginning, according to the Torah, Bereshit / Genesis 1:26-27 (וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְעֹ֣וף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמֹ֔ו בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹתֹ֑ו זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃) begins with a statement, both the man and the woman, the male and female were בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים “created in the image of God.” When the man and woman (husband and wife) come together, they become One (Bereshit / Genesis 2:25), the parallel is to the Shema in Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4 how God is One. These Scriptures provide the greatest level of sanctity of life, the preciousness of both male and female, and demonstrates the error and evils found in the problem of human trafficking, in a culture where women were merely creatures of sexual use and abuse. In fact, according to Bereshit / Genesis 2 we are told that the woman was created as an עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדֹּֽו ezer kenegdo (see Bereshit / Genesis 2:18, וַיֹּ֨אמֶר֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹא־טֹ֛וב הֱיֹ֥ות הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְבַדֹּ֑ו אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לֹּ֥ו עֵ֖זֶר כְּנֶגְדֹּֽו׃). The word עֵ֖זֶר (help) is rather dubious translated as “suitable companion or helper” in the English translations since this provides some credence to the mental illness and woke ideologies we see today. In the Hebrew Bible, there are many instances where the word עֵ֖זֶר refers to God himself. For example, the Psalmist cries out, “God alone is my ezer.” (see Tehillim / Psalms 30:10, 54:4, 70:5, 72:12, 121:1-2, etc.) The position of both men and women in the creation, it becomes clear, the preciousness of life. This is in contrast to the very low image of the woman in ancient Near Eastern religions. The latter leads to slavery and misuse of women. The biblical text, in contrast, leads to emancipation and strength. This is the biblical answer to human trafficking in the Bible.

The Midrash Tanchuma Buber, Vaera 15:1 has the following to say concerning these verses.

Midrash Tanchuma Buber, Vaera 15:1
R. Eleazar ben Pedat says: Just as the Holy One brought upon the Egyptians, he is going to bring upon this nation (i.e., Rome).84Tanh. (Buber), Exod. 3:6; Tanh., Exod. 2:13; 3:4; Exod. R. 9:13; PRK 7:11; PR 17:8. It is so stated (in Is. 23:5): AS AT THE REPORT CONCERNING EGYPT, THEY SHALL TREMBLE AT THE REPORT OF TYRE. R. Eleazar said: Every TYRE which is spelled {with} [without] the vowel letter is speaking about this evil nation (i.e., Rome). Just as Egypt was afflicted with blood, also shall it be with this evil nation. (Thus according to Is. 34:9) ITS85The pronoun refers to Edom, which was later understood to be Rome. STREAMS SHALL BE TURNED TO PITCH…. R. Tanhuma said: These are the Tiber86Lat.: Tiberis. and the Ticino,87Lat.: Ticinus. which are situated on the edge of Rome.88Actually the Ticino is considerably to the north and flows from Switzerland into the Po. It is also written (in Is. 34:10): NIGHT AND DAY IT SHALL NOT BE QUENCHED. And why? Because they kept Israel from the Torah, in which they labored day and night, the fire which I bring upon them shall never be quenched. Rather (according to ibid., cont.:) ITS SMOKE SHALL RISE UP FOREVER, because they burned my house and the smoke rose up from it. They also say (in Is. 66:6): A SOUND OF TUMULT FROM THE CITY. The Holy One said to them (ibid., cont.): A NOISE FROM THE TEMPLE. Then he says: Remember what you did to the temple; (i.e., in ibid., cont.) THE THUNDER OF THE LORD IS REPAYING RETRIBUTION TO HIS ENEMIES, in the world to come, when he redeems Israel. Thus it is stated (in Is. 35:4): WITH THE RECOMPENSE OF THE LORD GOD HE WILL COME AND SAVE YOU.

The Midrash speaks of the Egyptians, Rome, and Tyre, and speaks of how Rome kept Israel from studying the Torah. The affliction, and the evils that were perpetrated against the people, the Midrash speaks of the Lord repaying retribution to our enemies in the world to come, referring to Isaiah 66:6.

ספר ישעיה פרק סו
ו קוֹל שָׁאוֹן מֵעִיר קוֹל מֵהֵיכָל קוֹל יְהֹוָה מְשַׁלֵּם גְּמוּל לְאֹיְבָיו:

Isaiah 66:6
66:6 “A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the LORD who is rendering recompense to His enemies. (NASB)

Traditional Judaism believes that death is not the end of human existence. Note also that Judaism is primarily focused on life in the here and now rather than on the afterlife. Because of this, the primary teachings in Judaism does not focus upon the afterlife. Note however that in Midrash Tehillim on the first 20 chapters of the Psalms, there are many discussions on the afterlife, hell, and God saving Israel, which does speak somewhat extensively upon the afterlife. Notice that these Midrashim are consistent with what we have been reading here in Isaiah, that trusting in the Lord and cleaving to Him are essential for having a place in the Olam Haba (World to come). Some scholars claim that belief in the afterlife is a teaching that developed late in Jewish history. The Torah does emphasize immediate, concrete, physical rewards and punishments rather than abstract future ones. Take for example, Vayikra / Leviticus 26:3-9 and Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:13-15. However, there is clear evidence in the Torah of belief in existence after death. The Torah indicates in several places that the righteous will be reunited with their loved ones after death, while the wicked will be excluded from this reunion. The Torah speaks of several noteworthy people being “gathered to their people.” See, for example: Bereshit / Genesis 25:8 (Abraham), 25:17 (Ishmael), 35:29 (Isaac), 49:33 (Jacob), Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:50 (Moses and Aaron), and 2 Kings 22:20 (King Josiah). This gathering is described as a separate event from the physical death of the body or the burial. We note how the Torah speaks of certain sins that lead to the sinner being “cut off from his people,” for example, Bereshit / Genesis 17:14 and Shemot / Exodus 31:14. This punishment is referred to as kareit, literally, “cutting off” and Judaism teaches that this means this soul loses its portion in the World to Come. We note that later on in the Tanakh, the scriptures speak more clearly on the life after death and the Olam Haba (i.e. Daniel 12:2, Nehemiah 9:5). In addition to this, Judaism also teaches the belief in the resurrection of the dead. This was a belief that distinguished the Pharisees from the Sadducees. The Sadducees rejected the concept, because it is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah. The Pharisees found the concept implied in certain verses (i.e. Bereshit / Genesis 22). Belief in resurrection of the dead is one of Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith. The second blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, which is recited three times daily, contains several references to resurrection. Judaism teaches that one is to prepare his or herself for the Olam Ha-Ba through Torah study and good deeds. Some people look at these teachings and deduce that Judaism teaches that one must “earn his way into Heaven” by performing the mitzvot. This is a gross mischaracterization of what is being taught, simply by reading the Torah, and reading the rabbinic literature. It is important to remember that unlike some religions, Judaism is not focused on the question of how to get into heaven. Judaism is focused on life and how to live it. Non-Jews frequently ask me, “do you really think you’re going to go to Hell if you don’t do such-and-such?” The major issue that is not taught is that we perform the mitzvot because it is our privilege and our sacred obligation to do so. We perform them out of a sense of our love for God and our duty before Him. The mitzvot are not kept out of a desire to get something in return. In fact, one of the first bits of ethical advice are given according to the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 1:3:

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 1:3
אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אִישׁ סוֹכוֹ קִבֵּל מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּהְיוּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, אֶלָּא הֱווּ כַעֲבָדִים הַמְשַׁמְּשִׁין אֶת הָרַב שֶׁלֹּא עַל מְנָת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס, וִיהִי מוֹרָא שָׁמַיִם עֲלֵיכֶם:
Antigonus a man of Socho received [the oral tradition] from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: do not be like servants who serve the master in the expectation of receiving a reward, but be like servants who serve the master without the expectation of receiving a reward, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.

A simple reading of the Scriptures demonstrates the truth of these things. Note that when I say “simple” I am not saying “superficial” reading. We need to be involved in the reading and studying of the scriptures at the level of the original languages. Just casually browsing through the scriptures, picking spots to read then jumping elsewhere, etc, this sort of bible reading and/or study is a superficial method that does not produce any depth. This sort of approach to the Scriptures, produces all sorts of false ideas and misconceptions about the truth.

Isaiah goes on saying the following according to the TgJ, ו גְלֹו לִמדִינַת יַמָא אֵילִילוּ יָתְבֵי נֵיסָא׃ 23:6 They have gone to a province of the sea. Howl, O inhabitants of the island! ז הַהָדָא לְכֹון תַקִיפְתָא צֹור מִיֹומֵי קְדַם מִלְקַדמִין הְוֹו מֵיתַן לֵיה קֻרבָנִין מֵאְרַע רַחִיקָא כַדוּ לְאִתֹותָבָא הָא גַליָא׃ 23:7 Is this your strong city, Tyre, of ancient days? In olden time they were bringing her gifts from a distant land; behold, now she is removed to sojourn afar off! ח מַן מְלַך דָא עַל צֹור דַהְוָת מַמלְכָא מַלכִין דְתַגָרַהָא רַברְבִין שִלטֹונַהָא יַקִירֵי אַרעָא׃ 23:8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, against her that was giving advice? whose merchants are princes, and whose rulers the nobles of the land. ט יוי צְבָאֹות מַלכַה לְאַפָסָא יְקָר כָל חְדוּתַה לַאְקָלָא כָל יַקִירֵי אַרעָא׃ 23:9 The Lord of hosts is the counsellor against her to defile the glory of all the objects of rejoicing, and make contemptible all the nobles of the land. (TgJ) According to the TgJ, the mercantile wealth, these items that brought Tyre great wealth, these things were Tyre’s glory, the objects of rejoicing. The Lord says that he will defile this type of glory, since it is earthly bound and not heavenly! Midrash Rabbah writes the following concerning these verses.

Midrash Vayikra Rabbah 17:5
דָּבָר אַחֵר, כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, שִׁבְעָה עֲמָמִין הֵן, וְאַתָּה אוֹמֵר אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, רַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי רָמְזוּ מַה חָם סֵרְסוֹ וּכְנַעַן לָקָה, אַף כָּאן יִשְׂרָאֵל חוֹטְאִין וְהָאָרֶץ הִיא מִתְקַלֶּלֶת. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן יַעֲקֹב וְרַבָּנָן, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיָה כְּנַעַן אֲבִיהֶם שֶׁל כֻּלָּם, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (בראשית י, טו): וּכְנַעַן יָלַד אֶת צִידֹן בְּכֹרוֹ וְאֶת חֵת. וְרַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיוּ כֻּלָּם תַּגָּרִין, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (ישעיה כג, ח): אֲשֶׁר סֹחֲרֶיהָ שָׂרִים כִּנְעָנֶיהָ נִכְבַּדֵּי אָרֶץ, אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן דּוֹסָא אֱלִיעֶזֶר הוּא כְּנַעַן וְעַל יְדֵי שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק יָצָא מִכְּלַל אָרוּר וּבָא לִכְלַל בָּרוּךְ, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (בראשית ט, כה): וַיֹּאמֶר אָרוּר כְּנָעַן, וּכְתִיב (בראשית כד, לא): בּוֹא בְּרוּךְ ה’, רַבִּי יַעֲקֹב בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי נָתָן דְּבֵית גוּבְרִין עָבֵיד לְהוֹ נְטִילַת רְשׁוּת, וּמָה אֱלִיעֶזֶר יָצָא מִכְּלַל אָרוּר לִכְלַל בָּרוּךְ עַל יְדֵי שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק, אַחֵינוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין כָּבוֹד עִם גְּדוֹלֵיהֶם עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה, לְפִיכָךְ משֶׁה מַזְהִיר אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל: כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן.
Another Matter: “When You shall enter into the land of Cana’an [the land of Israel]…” (ויקרא יד, לד) There are seven Nations [in Cana’an] and you [only] mention the land of Cana’an. Our sages said it alluded to that what H’am (the father of Cana’an) Castrated him (Noach) and Cana’an was stricken – also here Yisrael sins and the land is caused to be cursed. Rabbi Eliezer Son of Yaakov and Rabanan / our sages [differ in opinions] Rabbi Eliezer says [it is called such] “since Cana’an was the father of all of them [the 6 other nations, who were in Cana’an / Israel when Yehoshua went to conquer them.] This what it says [regarding it] (Bereshit 10:15) “And Cana’an gave birth to Tzidon, his first born and Het. And our sages say [it is called such] for they are all merchants – like it says in (Yeshaya 23,8) “That their merchants are princes like the Naneah / movers – the honored of the land. Rabbi Yossi Son of Dosa said – Eliezer is Cana’an – and since he served that righteous one [Avraham Avinu / our forefather] he went out from the category of being cursed to and came into the category of being blessed. – Thus is what is written (Bereshit 9:25) “And he [Noach] said Cursed is Cana’an” [the son of Noach’s son H’am] and it is written Come blessed one of Hash-m”…

According to the Midrash, Israel’s sins led to the land being cursed. The argument in the Midrash goes back and forth where the rabbis discuss that the land was cursed because Ham was stricken, and Ham was the father of Canaan who fathered the seven nations in the land of Canaan. The parallel to Isaiah is found in the idea that Canaan was a land of merchants. The Midrash continues saying that Abraham Avinu went from being cursed to being blessed. The idea of mentioning Abraham and being blessed draws on what Isaiah is speaking of, to trust in God, to see Him and His holy and righteous ways for our lives. Abraham listened to the call of God in his life and walked in his faith believing God. Yeshua did this too, and this is the example that we are to live by with the warning as we see in the book of Isaiah, unrepentant sin will lead to destruction! Faith and a life lived by faith will lead to eternal life!