Jesus goes to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21-15:21)

“Jesus left that place.

He went away

To the district

Of Tyre

And Sidon.”

 

Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.

 

Mark, chapter 7:24, has something similar but only mentions Tyre, not Sidon.  Jesus left the area (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) around the Sea of Galilee.  He went to the district of Tyre and Sidon (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος).  Tyre was a Phoenician coastal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon.  Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually originally in the Israelite territory of Asher.  The Mediterranean ports at both Sidon and Tyre. were commercial trading partners.  Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes, while Sidon was also a maritime Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre, mostly known for its fishing and trade.  Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre.  Traditionally, Isaiah, chapter 23, and the other prophets were against these two wealthy coastal towns.  It is not clear why Jesus went to this coastal region, except that the Pharisees were not there.

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Oracle against Tyre (Isa 23:1-23:1)

“The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail!

O ships of Tarshish!

Your fortress is destroyed.

When they came in

From Cyprus

They learned of it.”

Tyre was a Phoenician costal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon. Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually in the Israelite territory of Asher. The ships of Tarshish are mentioned 24 times in the biblical books, most notably when speaking about the wealth of King Solomon, in 1 Kings, chapter 10. Tarnish must have been someplace where there was a lot of metal, such as silver, probably some distance away, since speculation continues as to its exact location. The fortress or the houses of Tyre would be destroyed. Apparently these Phoenician sailors from Tyre were coming back from the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, when they learned about this destruction.

Another description of the female lover (Song 7:1-7:5)

Male lover

“How graceful are your feet in sandals.

O queenly maiden!

Your rounded thighs are like jewels.

They are the work of a master hand.

Your navel is a rounded bowl

That never lacks mixed wine.

Your belly is a heap of wheat,

Encircled with lilies.

Your two breasts are like two fawns,

Twins of a gazelle.

Your neck is like an ivory tower.

Your eyes are pools in Heshbon,

By the gate of Bath-rabbim.

Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon,

Overlooking Damascus.

Your head crowns you like Carmel.

Your flowing locks are like purple.

A king is held captive in the tresses.”

This description of the female lover is not exactly the same as in chapters 4 and 6. Here she has graceful feet in her sandals with rounded thighs like jewels. Her navel was like a round bowl with mixed wines. Her belly was like a heap of wheat with lilies. Her two breasts were like fawns or gazelles. He seemed to know a lot about her body. Her neck was like an ivory tower. Her eyes were like the pools in Heshbon that was on the east side of the Jordan River. Heshbon had been the chief city of King Sidon of the Amorites as found in Numbers, chapter 21. These pools must have been famous as it became Israelite territory. This town also became known as Bath-rabbim. Her nose was like a high tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus. I am not sure how this is a compliment. Her head was like Mount Carmel. Her locks were purple here and not like a flock of goats as earlier described. Nevertheless, the king was held captive by them anyway.